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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Capitalizing on Recruitment Potential: FSWEP 2.0

By Patrick Obendoerfer

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This blog is based on the paper FSWEP 2.0: Recruiting a Motivated Public Service, by Russell B. Ferguson, Patrick Obendoerfer and Anisa Vangjeli, was awarded the grand prize in the IPAC 2015 Blueprint 2020 National Paper Competition.

3 things to know about capitalizing on the Federal Student Work Experience Program’s (FSWEP) recruitment potential:

1. The FSWEP draws applications from a pool of 50,000 post-secondary students annually. In the application process, students are asked to select a maximum of 24 interests, which determine if their names are drawn for an interview. Given this, students are incentivized to compromise the process by choosing as many interests as possible to increase their chances. 

2. Public Service Motivation (PSM) refers to internal drivers that are disproportionately high in public servants, like the goal of contributing to society, and exist in addition to external drivers like salary. There is a positive correlation between PSM levels and rates of job attraction, retention, and engagement.   

3. Through an altered application and assessment process that is designed to align PSM satisfying jobs to qualified and interested post-secondary students, the federal government can drastically increase the chances that students will continue with the civil service through FSWEP.

Three myths about innovative recruitment:

Myth #1: New programs must be created, which may be time consuming and expensive.

FSWEP already exposes 50 000 post-secondary students to the job application process. Through relatively inexpensive changes to the process, the federal government can capitalize on the program’s recruitment potential.

Myth #2: Public and private sector employees have identical motivational drivers.

Public sector employees tend to have stronger internal drivers, such as the need to affect societal change, whereas private sector employees are more motivated by external drivers like money.

Myth #3: Recruitment strategies in a competitive job market need to focus on salary.

By aligning qualified and interested students with jobs that satisfy individuals with high levels of PSM, a recruitment strategy through FSWEP can be centred on internal motivators.

Patrick Obendoerfer is a graduate student at the Carleton School of Public Policy and Administration, where he specializes in Public Management. 

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