Once jobs have been created, the recruitment starts, i.e. finding people to fill those jobs.
Public administration in the United States has come a long way from the time of Andrew Jackson, when, in the popular view, government jobs could be performed by any individuals (or at least any men) with normal intelligence. Under Jackson and his successors, frequent rotation on office was encouraged; no particular prior training or experience was necessary for most jobs. Merit systems were designed for the most part to keep out the grossly incompetent, not to attract the highly qualified.
Gradually, the pattern changed. The government began attracting especially competent applicants. Openings were more highly publicized, recruiting visits were made to college and university campuses, and wages were made more nearly competitive with those in the private sector. Active efforts were made to attract individuals who, in earlier times, would have been excluded from public employment because of their ethnic or racial backgrounds or because they were women.
Examining and selecting
Once applications have been received, the next step in the personnel process is examination. The term examination does not refer only to a pencil-and-paper test.
Some judgments are made on the basis of an unassembled examination. That is, the application form itself may require sufficient information to permit the assignment of a score based on reported experience and education and on references.
Another possibility, especially important for jobs requiring particular skills, is performance examination. Some jobs call for an oral examination, particularly those for which communication skills are especially important.
One examination of special importance is the Professional and Administrative Career Examination (PACE). PACE is intended to select candidates for federal government careers rather than for particular jobs.
The personnel agency (e.g. Civil Service Commission) considers the list with the names of the individuals with the highest examination scores from which it chooses the new employee. Considerable discretion is allowed in making the final choice.
Following selection, the new employee is likely to serve a probationary period, often six months, during which removal is relatively easy. Personnel managers encourage supervisors to see this as an extension of the testing procedure, but few employees are, in fact, dismissed during this period.
The evaluation of employee performance is a further personnel function. Recently, the trend has been to formalize rating schemes and to regularize feedback to employees. Where possible, objective measures of the work completed are employed. In jobs where this is not possible, supervisors are encouraged to judge performance as accurately as possible using impressionistic techniques.
By supplying a continuing record of performance, such evaluation can protect employees from capricious actions of a subjective supervisor.
Continuing education in the public service
Government is deeply involved with the further education and training of the employees. This involvement may range from relatively simple, in-house training sessions – even on-the-job training – to the financing of undergraduate or graduate education.
Many universities, in cooperation with government agencies, have developed special programs for public employees, and the courses typically lasting for a week, may be conducted either at a university campus or at an agency site.
The Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia, established in 1968, operated by the Civil Service Commission, provides managerial training for high-level federal executives. The commission also has regional training centers located throughout the country.
Public personnel are also often given leaves for a semester or a year by their agency to pursue a degree at the doctoral level (the Doctor of Public Administration) or to fulfill a master’s program.
Английский язык для студентов, изучающих государственное управление. Л.М.Лещёва и др. Учебное пособие / На англ. яз.; Под ред. д.филол.н., профессора Л.М. Лещёвой. Часть I. – Мн.: Академия управления при Президенте Республики Беларусь, 2006. – , 203 с.