Purpose is the new stock option

City of San Francisco taps into modern technology to reimagine public service hiring

San Francisco – November 17, 2020 – Levi’s jeans, three Michelin-star restaurants, the iPhone, and the first U.S. city to mandate composting. San Francisco (SF) has always been a trend-setting city. Arguably the world’s largest tech hub with the likes of Twitter, Uber and Salesforce, hiring is extremely competitive. It’s common practice for companies to compete for top talent with promises of stock options, high pay, or other grand perks. But there’s a hidden player out to set a new hiring trend: its own city government. Overshadowed by the tech giants in recent years, the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) has bold plans to blaze a new path and reimagine hiring for public service jobs, where purpose reigns as the supreme currency.

Hiring for public service jobs in San Francisco against its tech neighbors is a fierce talent war. Coupled with the fact that approximately 30% of its workforce is expected to retire in the next decade, CCSF came to the conclusion that it needed a dramatic change to connect the next generation to public service jobs and not only tech startups. While many assume pay and perks are the top priorities when choosing a job, research suggests the opposite. Gallup reports Millennials want purpose, not just a paycheck. CCSF plans to leverage this competitive advantage to reimagine its hiring practices building off the current  “Choose Purpose” campaign  and set a new standard for public service hiring, paving the way for other governments to follow.

To first address the problem, CCSF evaluated their existing limitations, including inefficient processes and outdated technology. A majority of government technology was actually developed & implemented in the early 2000s. In the last 15 years, technology has evolved and focused more squarely on  the overall user experience, meaning government technology has a big opportunity to catch up to the private sector and equalize the playing field. CCSF wanted to procure a user-centered and data-driven solution to redesign the government hiring process and enhance the experiences   of its candidates, hiring managers as well as  HR professionals. The City kicked off an official Hiring Modernization project to find the right technology partner to help achieve these goals.

David Huebner, a former Googler, was tapped as part of the team leading the project. Huebner made his own transition from the tech world to public service focusing on helping more mission-driven organizations redesign their services. After a formal RFP and vendor evaluation process, the panel of HR and tech experts selected by Huebner and the CCSF team awarded the contract to SmartRecruiters as their Talent Acquisition Suite to modernize the City’s hiring practices and achieve Hiring Success. Deloitte will also assist with implementation for the project. Some of the key goals include driving a better candidate experience, increasing their Hiring Velocity to fill jobs, and utilizing CRM to communicate to their talent pools and track channel effectiveness to ensure the City is getting the diverse pipeline it needs to deliver services successfully to its constituents. 

Huebner and Anne Marie Monroe, leader of the Hiring Modernization Project, have concrete ideas to leverage technology to drive a better candidate experience and elevate the “Choose Purpose” campaign. Examples include standardizing every job post to contain an impact statement which outlines the problems the eventual hire will get to solve and the direct impacts they will make on the community. They’ve adopted the term “dragon statements” which they attribute to Jennifer Pahlka, founder and former Executive Director of Code for America, essentially describing the dragon you’re going to get to slay in the job. Examples are the complexities that come with building a transit system for the riders you’d transport working for SFMTA or designing a healthcare system for the patients you’d help at the SF Department of Public Health.

CCSF will also utilize SmartRecruiters CRM to send targeted campaigns to their talent pools to get the word out about the ‘purpose jobs’ and better explain the application process. Civil service hiring involves more steps than the private sector and has deterred candidates from applying in the past. SmartRecruiters easy 1-step apply will help remove this barrier and will dramatically improve the candidate experience and in turn allow  CCSF to hire candidates faster.

The Talent Acquisition Suite will also enable better recruiter productivity and allow CCSF to measure the campaign effectiveness. The strategy transforms from “post and pray” to targeted and strategic so they know the right levers to pull for jobs and fill candidate pipelines. 

The CCSF and SmartRecruiters partnership is on a mission to transform and uplevel public service hiring and be the model for governments across the country. “Choosing a job with the City and County of San Francisco means choosing a job that has a direct impact on our neighborhoods. Our goal is to find each and every person that is called to serve their community and recruit them to our team,”  said Carol Isen, Acting Director Human Resources Director.  “Our partnership with SmartRecruiters will help us transform and modernize public service recruitment and hiring so we do not lose an opportunity to connect the next generation of diverse and talented individuals with jobs that make a difference.” 

“SmartRecruiters couldn’t be more excited to partner with the City and County of San Francisco to modernize their hiring. We’ve been helping companies reinvent their hiring practices and transform entire industries to make recruiting easy. It’s especially meaningful when we can help connect people to jobs that serve the public good,” says Jerome Ternynck, Founder and CEO at SmartRecruiters. 

About SmartRecruiters

As a global leader in enterprise recruitment software, SmartRecruiters offers a cloud-based global Talent Acquisition Suite that allows teams to attract, select, and hire the best talent. 4,000 companies worldwide rely on SmartRecruiters to achieve hiring success—including brands like Bosch, LinkedIn, Skechers, and Visa—using recruitment marketing, CRM, AI, ATS, and a marketplace of 600+ connected vendors all within one scalable platform.

True to its mission of connecting people to jobs at scale, SmartRecruiters was recognized by Forbes as one of the Best Employers in 2020. For more information, visit www.smartrecruiters.com or follow @SmartRecruiters on Twitter or LinkedIn.


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