Recruiter Training for the Federal Aviation Administration
In 2009, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expressed a need to train a cadre of employees as part-time recruiters. MarCom Group began filling that need in 2009 through a contract with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM/CTS) and continues today under an agreement with FAA.
Using the ADDIE model of instructional design (analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate), we performed front-end analysis and diagnostics to (1) identify the FAA recruitment performance problems that were producing insufficient recruitment results for mission mission-critical occupations and staff diversity, and (2) determine the optimal training/learning intervention solution to resolve the problems.
In discussions with FAA management and HR officials, our Federal HR subject matter experts (SMEs) became thoroughly familiar with FAA's recruitment goals, mission-critical occupations, previous recruitment activities, and plans for utilizing the cadre of training recruiters to meet the customer service needs identified by hiring officials.
We then designed a responsive, innovative training and learning program that would ensure requirements traceability and effectively control the solution development effort. The solution was to provide a training course for FAA volunteer, part-time recruiters that featured a variety of optimal training delivery tools and aids, to answer the specific mission critical and diversity recruitment challenges faced by FAA, and to provide feedback on their effectiveness.
Based on that solution design, we developed a training/learning plan using cost-efficient, schedule-responsive processes and industry best practices. The plan called for two-day, instructor-led, classroom training sessions that were cost-efficient, enabled traceability to the FAA requirements, and were based upon industry-best recruitment practices and training techniques for adult learners derived from both the public and private sectors. The training/learning plan embodied "learning by doing" and other accepted knowledge- and skill-development techniques. The learning objectives emphasized that recruiters should go beyond simply attending job fairs, to focus on (1) developing entrepreneurial skills, (2) creating their own individual recruitment plans, and (3) recruiting actively on an ongoing basis. The training design enabled recruiters to follow-up with the MarCom Group instructors for further assistance and guidance as they implemented the learned principles in actual recruitment activities.
The classroom-based training program emphasized:
- Using national and niche online job boards—such as CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, and VetJobs.com—in addition to OPM's USAJOBS system and FAA's own Web site to advertise available positions,
- Establishing and nurturing ongoing relationships with potential sources of desired applicants-such as university department faculty and career center staff, professional societies, and military transition centers-and
- Using social media—such as Facebook and Twitter—to access recruitment information, keep in touch with potential applicants, and provide special instruction on how to best direct interested persons to the FAA Web site for additional recruitment information.
The instructional program featured presentations by FAA hiring managers coordinated by the instructors, videos, live feeds from the Internet, active instructor-trainee dialog, and role-playing exercises. Topics included:
- Current and Future FAA Hiring Needs,
- Federal Hiring Requirements,
- Federal Hiring Flexibilities,
- FAA Hiring Incentives,
- Effective Recruitment Strategies,
- Recruiting Disabled Persons,
- Recruiting Veterans,
- Recruitment Branding and Marketing Techniques,
- Recruiting Different Generations, and
- Techniques for Building Relationships with Recruitment Sources.
To implement the developed training/learning solution, we scheduled and conducted several two-day training sessions facilitated by three senior-level MarCom Group instructors at FAA facilities in Washington, DC during 2010 and 2011.
At this stage, MarCom Group has performed the first two levels of the Kirkpatrick four-level training evaluation methodology (Reaction, Learning, Transfer, Results). To evaluate and validate the effectiveness of the delivered training/learning solution, at the end of each training session the instructors asked the trainees to tell what key ideas they had learned that would help them perform their roles as recruiters and what they would do differently as a result of the training. The instructors tabulated the answers and shared them with the group and the FAA management. The instructors also administered a three-page evaluation form asking each trainee to rate on a five-point scale the usefulness of each topic, the effectiveness of the instructors, and the effectiveness of the instructional techniques. The evaluation form also asked each trainee for suggestions to improve the topics, instructional techniques, and overall effectiveness of the training course. MarCom Group collected, tabulated, and analyzed the completed evaluations and shared the results with the FAA Corporate Recruitment and Marketing staff.
The overwhelmingly positive evaluations by trainees and FAA management, anecdotal reports from FAA managers about changed recruitment behaviors, and FAA's continuation of the project, indicate that the project was successful in the eyes of the client. To date, the training has been delivered four times to approximately 150 recruiters, and FAA has ordered three additional iterations of the course to be delivered when scheduling permits.