Centralized hiring process to drive diversity, speed in recruitment efforts

  • Published
  • By Marisa Alia-Novobilski
  • Air Force Materiel Command

The Air Force Materiel Command has refined an existing centralized selection and hiring process to ensure it hires the right people to fill critical, entry-level developmental positions across the enterprise, faster and more efficiently.

“We should always seek the most qualified person when hiring. However, unconscious biases may exclude highly qualified people from competing. Centralized hiring for entry-level positions is one way AFMC plans to reduce unconscious bias and ensure our hiring process promotes diversity.  It will also allow us to hire into critical positions faster,” said Bill Snodgrass, AFMC director of Manpower, Personnel and Services.

The Centralized Selection and Hiring Process will leverage Centralized Selection Cells (CSCs) within each AFMC Center to manage recruitment efforts for developmental positions where organizations have the authority to appoint qualified candidates directly into critical, hard-to-fill positions. Developmental positions are designed to train or develop employees in preparation for further career advancement.

AFMC Center CSCs will identify vacancies, post job opportunity announcements, review resumes, conduct interviews, make selections, and more. The CSCs will also track hiring metrics, to include timelines, turnover rates, and new hire demographics, which will be reported to the AFMC headquarters team on a routine basis.

“We want to reduce any chances of favoritism or bias in the hiring process by placing the responsibility for recruitment in the hands of trained human resources specialists and functional experts that understand the demands of the position. The CSCs will work closely with supervisors to identify vacancies and the recruitment criteria; however, the supervisors will not be involved with candidate selection or hiring,” said Tammy Lyons, chief, AFMC Personnel Support Division.

AFMC began piloting the CSC concept in August 2018 in the contracting and logistics career fields. In order to continue building a diverse and inclusive workforce, the CSC process will expand to include recruitment for all career fields across the command.

Approximately 2,000 developmental positions will be filled annually through the expanded concept, dependent on local vacancies. These positions will include those covered by non-competitive hiring authorities; non-government service (GS) positions such as Federal Wage System and Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS); and positions within a broadband pay scale, such as AcqDemo and the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Broadband-1. Exceptions to the positions covered must be approved by the AFMC headquarters personnel team.

To assist in the implementation of the expanded process, AFMC has developed a Centralized Selection Process Guide outlining roles, responsibilities and positions covered by the policy. The guidance also provides tools to assist the centralized selection teams in the development of hiring and interview panels, sample reference and interview questions, scoring matrices and tips for providing candidates feedback. Each AFMC center will develop their own implementation instructions based on the specific needs of the organization.

“We want to make sure our human resources teams understand the process and have the tools they need to implement it consistently across the command,” said Lyons. “Our headquarters personnel team is available to assist throughout the process.”

The Centralized Selection and Hiring Process is one of a number of ongoing initiatives within AFMC to better address diversity and inclusion while improving hiring timelines across the command. The goal is to enable greater diversity in entry-level and developmental positions, ensuring a more diverse workforce for the command as it moves into the future. 

“AFMC continues to lead the Air Force in this area. Building a more diverse and inclusive workforce is key to our efforts to evolve into the AFMC our Air and Space Forces need for the future,” said Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, Jr., AFMC commander.