Home Commentary and Analysis Perseverance Is Key to Overcome the Latest Government Hiring Freeze
Perseverance Is Key to Overcome the Latest Government Hiring Freeze

Perseverance Is Key to Overcome the Latest Government Hiring Freeze


Note: The opinions and comments stated in the following article, and views expressed by any contributor to In Homeland Security, do not represent the views of American Military University, American Public University System, its management or employees.

By James Lint
Faculty Member, School of Business, American Military University
Senior Editor for
 In Cyber Defense and Contributor, In Homeland Security

Now that the Trump administration’s 90-day federal hiring freeze has expired, some agencies have begun to hire new employees once again. Although there have been hiring freezes in previous administrations, hiring freezes sometimes occur when a new president is elected. However, this hiring freeze was not as punitive as the hiring freeze in 2013, which caused long-term hiring restrictions, such as some agencies having two vacancies for each approved hiring action.

After nearly 40 years of military, contracting and federal government employment, I understand difficult problems and look for solutions. Since I was a senior manager in the federal government for many years, my job largely centered on problem solving. It also made me realize that perseverance is a key quality in federal job applicants.

Federal Government Hiring Freeze Had Some Exceptions

Experienced federal professionals know that every rule and regulation has exceptions, and there were exceptions to this hiring freeze policy. Paragraph 3 of the January 2017 Memorandum: Federal Civilian Hiring Freeze Guidance from the White House cited hiring exceptions for jobs in intelligence, cyber, security and safety.

Many people did get hired despite the freeze. While some potential federal employees were deterred by headlines stating, “Federal Government Hiring Freeze Stops All Hiring,” others persevered and dug deeper. They read the actual federal memorandum from the White House, explored the exceptions for job opportunities and applied for those jobs.

Hiring Problems Are Viewed Differently by Federal Government Employers

This past February, I wrote an article about the hiring freeze. I discussed a federal manager’s view of a hiring freeze, the exceptions and job opportunities.

Perseverance is important in federal job hunting. Applicants who apply for only one position make me laugh. Job hunting is about making a strong effort, even if means sending out a hundred applications to hiring managers. That is perseverance.

The federal government has exacting standards and a lengthy hiring process, because government work can be difficult and might require a security clearance. We want federal employees who can persevere through long projects without becoming discouraged. Most national government projects take long periods of time and focus, so perseverance is a valuable quality in a federal employee.

Hiring Freezes Are Stressful for Federal Agency Managers

Hiring freezes are traumatic for hiring managers. However, employees and job applicants do not see the situation that way.

Hiring managers must accomplish a mission with a specific number of employees. Federal managers often require employees to do extra work to cover recent retirees, employees transferred to other positions and workers who leave the federal work force. It is challenging to ensure that there are enough people to do the work.

Hiring managers want to fill their vacant positions as soon as possible, so they can more easily accomplish their agency’s mission. In actuality, hiring managers are the biggest cheerleaders for ending a hiring freeze and enabling operations to quickly return to normal.

It’s Time to Move Forward and Apply for Federal Government Jobs

Now that the hiring freeze is over, it is time to look to the future and apply for a government jobs. While there will always be challenges and problems in federal hiring, these situations can be solved through perseverance. It is a trait needed not only in federal job hunting and employment, but also in life.