Navigating state and local government workforce shortages

July 21st, 2023
The HireVue Team

Navigating state and local government workforce shortages

Depending on how you look at it, the post-pandemic world feels a lot different—or maybe you feel like it’s “back to normal.” But what everyone can agree on, is that for 2 years, the world was chaotic for everyone. 

For hiring teams, that time-period was hard—with countless hiring freezes and lay-offs and burnout among many including those in education. 

Did you know US teachers are 40% more likely to experience anxiety than even those in healthcare? According to Devlin Peck, in the US “K-12 teachers are the #1 most burnt-out profession?” That’s right—44% of K-12 teachers say they are “often or always feeling burnout.”

But the labor market is seeing some stability. This year, private sector jobs have exceeded 2.5% (or 3.2 million jobs). But for state, local, and education (SLED) agencies, jobs haven’t recovered. According to Forbes, “State governments are missing 200,000 jobs – a decline of 3.8% relative to February 2020 — while local governments are down by 305,000 jobs or 2.1%.” 

Did you know:

  • 14.4 million Americans serve in local government
  • Education, mostly elementary and secondary, is down 174,000 jobs (2.2%)
  • Jobs in key industries including transportation and hospitals are down 131,000 (2.0%)

SLED is not only facing dire labor shortages but the impact of unfilled jobs. Forbes cites, “Public sector employers, especially towns, cities and counties, are struggling with filling open positions. This means that people, businesses and communities are getting fewer critical services and have to wait longer for those services.”

The stakes are high for those working in a SLED agency–from providing critical health resources to educating children to ensuring infrastructure is safe. And while the public sector has long been plagued by slow, manual hiring processes, auditing your hiring practices can show where you may need some help.

Below are a couple tips to combat SLED labor shortages. 

The #1 tip? Start automating.

Did you know it takes an average of 119 days to hire in the public sector? We can’t emphasize this enough: that is too long.

In today’s market, even private sector teams don’t have the luxury of time—and when the public sector is constantly trying to compete with private sector offers, they need all the time they can get. 

Say goodbye to manual scheduling, phone screens, rescheduling, email tag, and missed interviews. HireVue solutions empower teams to navigate today’s landscape (and tomorrow’s challenges). 

Automation and conversational AI quicken your process and release you of time-consuming manual scheduling—and takes your hiring to the digital age. And in fact, HireVue has been used across a variety of SLED hiring teams across the country:

  • For almost a decade, over 30 K-12 schools and universities in over 10 different states have leveraged  HireVue solutions.
  • Atlanta Public Schools hired 53 officers in 5 months, grew retention to 90%, and saved $200K in reduced travel and recruiting costs.
  • Several Texas school districts eliminated 100% of interview question variability.

Let candidates schedule (and reschedule) their own interviews and complete their on-demand interviews on their own time—which may be at night after a long shift or even on the weekend. Flexibility goes a long way in showing you value your candidates as people. 

Incorporate structured video interviewing. 

HireVue exists to make hiring faster for hiring teams and fairer for candidates. One of the best ways to do that is through structured interviewing. 

HireVue now offers Builder for Live which combines our structured interview generator with our live interview platform—which expands the consistency and fairness beyond the recruiters to the hiring teams and live interviews. With HireVue, hiring teams can structure their on-demand and live interviews to quickly and easily conduct structured, consistent interviews with a clearly defined rating scale.

The best part? You don’t have to ask Google or ChatGPT for interview questions. Hiring teams have access to well-designed, pre-written, and science-backed interview questions that evaluate for job-relevant skills and assess for competencies (not resumes).

When Atlanta Public Schools needed a way to identify top teachers and principles in a large, urban school system with limited staff and resources, they turned to HireVue video interviewing. 

“We knew we’d need about 20 principals, we just didn’t know where and when. Using HireVue’s OnDemand interview technology, we sourced and screened potential candidates. Last year, ALL of our assistant principals and principals came through this pool. Now HireVue is fully integrated with our teacher selection model. We cannot hire a candidate without going through the HireVue interview.”

–Skye Duckett, Deputy Chief Human Resources Officer

Within a year, HireVue became the standard practice in all 80 schools for teaching and administrative positions. As a result, the school system saved $200,000 in just one year by reducing travel and recruiting costs and was 100% fully staffed on the first day of school.

Support your decisions with data.

For hiring to be effective, it needs to be fast and smart. Supporting your decisions with data is the only way to ensure you’re not only establishing a baseline for assessment but ensuring all your candidates are evaluated consistently. 

Because public sector hiring has been rooted in old methods, the candidate pools are often restricted in both size and diversity—because current systems cannot fairly and effectively screen large volumes of applicants. 

Structuring your interviews and incorporating assessments is a great way to support your decisions with AI-driven insights for a more inclusive process with better and fairer outcomes.

SLED jobs encompass a wide range of industries, and HireVue now offers an assessment for every job at every level. Hiring managers can effectively staff at airports or frontline positions—supporting their decisions with data to make smarter hires. With Assessments, candidates are invited to complete your assessment within minutes of applying—so you’re quickening your time-to-hire, too. 

Game-based, psychometric tests are fun, quick to complete, and useful tools for pre-employment and internal mobility decisions. Easily assess skills in a quick and engaging experience that helps teams easily prioritize candidates based on their personality and work style, how they work with people, and how they work with information.

HireVue now also offers the Virtual Job Tryout® assessment which helps combat high turnover. Quickly create a realistic job preview personalized to your organization and give candidates a feel for what it’s like to work there, who they might be working with, and the challenges and opportunities associated with the job. Candidates are empowered to showcase themselves in a job relevant way. Easily personalize the realistic job preview with our template builder to fit your organization’s brand and specific role. Automated Candidate Output reports allow recruiters to easily identify the top candidates to move forward in the process with an engaging yet quick candidate experience.

So how does the technology flow work? As an example, let’s look at a candidate searching for a teacher position.

  • Mobile-friendly solutions meet candidates on their phone for a convenient and positive candidate experience.
  • The candidate is able to complete an on-demand interview and assessment on her phone, and a stack-ranked scoring is sent to the school’s hiring team. The Virtual Job Tryout provides a realistic job preview, giving her an idea of classroom and daily responsibility expectations. 
  • The candidate is then invited to schedule an interview with the hiring manager. She schedules it on her phone, which then automatically updates on the hiring manager’s calendar. 
  • After the interview, the hiring manager can share the recording with key stakeholders in the school’s decision-making process. 

Back your decisions with data and ensure all your candidates are evaluated the same—making your hiring fairer and faster for everyone.

Hiring is hard, and the challenges can feel two-fold for public sector teams. But let HireVue eliminate the stress of long, manual hiring, so you can start filling roles and get back to serving the public. Request a demo today or check out our blog on What HireVue can do for public sector hiring.