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Acquiring the Right Talent for the Cyber Age: The Need for a Candidate Development Plan

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Quickly and efficiently pushing quality candidates through the federal hiring process is a good first step, but those efforts will be wasted if agencies don’t invest in comprehensive candidate …

Quickly and efficiently pushing quality candidates through the federal hiring process is a good first step, but those efforts will be wasted if agencies don’t invest in comprehensive candidate development plans. Agencies need value propositions that speak to the next generation of IT leaders, because the governments that are successful in acquiring the top cyber talent will position themselves as the political and economic leaders of the Cyber Age.

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  • 1. Acquiring the Right Talent for the Cyber AgeThe Need for a Candidate Development PlanbyJeff Akinakin_ jeffrey@bah.comRoseann Rybaryba_roseann@bah.comEric Vazquezvazquez_eric@bah.com
  • 2. Table of ContentsThe Cyber Human Capital Challenge for Government ............................................................. 1Creating a Candidate Development Plan............................................................................... 1 Program—Knowing What to Look For ................................................................................ 1 Message—Knowing What to Say ...................................................................................... 2 Channels—Knowing Where to Look .................................................................................. 3The Booz Allen Approach—Cyber People Ready .................................................................... 4 Cyber People Competency Evaluation ............................................................................... 4 Cyber People Planning ..................................................................................................... 4 Cyber People Development .............................................................................................. 5Conclusion......................................................................................................................... 5About the Authors .............................................................................................................. 6About Booz Allen ................................................................................................................ 7Principal Offices ...................................................................................................Back Cover
  • 3. Acquiring the Right Talent for the Cyber AgeThe Need for a Candidate Development PlanThe Cyber Human Capital Challenge “…public service should be a career of choicefor Government for the most talented Americans. Yet theThe Cyber Age is here. The Internet has transformed complexity and inefficiency of today’s Federalthe way individuals, businesses, and governmentsinteract. Networks, computers, software, and mobile hiring process deters many highly qualifieddevices are allowing information exchange that was individuals from seeking and obtaining jobs innever possible before, and this new communications the Federal Government.”infrastructure holds incredible promise for all — President Obama1aspects of society. Digital health, smart energy grids,e-commerce, and Gov 2.0 are all visions of the Cyberrevolution, and in order to maximize the benefits of Federal recruiting and hiring processes are broken, butthis incredible technology transformation, organizations acquiring cyber talent isn’t simply a process problem.need people with new sets of digital competencies, Agencies can improve position descriptions and useand new ways of thinking about security. This is competency models to better screen applicants, yetparticularly true in the federal government, where that still won’t get to the root of the challenge. Toboth cybersecurity and cyber enablement will have an bring the right cyber professionals into the federalenormous impact on national security and economic government, every agency needs a comprehensivestability. For the United States to maintain its position candidate development plan.as a global leader, federal agencies will need to A candidate development plan starts with a clearlybuild workforces equipped with a range of emerging defined value proposition. What can your agency offercyber skills. prospective candidates? What types of opportunitiesRight now, the demand for that cyber talent is far are cyber professionals seeking? Are you aligningexceeding supply. In 2009, Booz Allen collaborated your career opportunities to the values of the talentwith the Partnership for Public Service (PPS) on a pool? The federal government has much to offer futureresearch report titled, “Cyber In-Security: Strengthening cyber leaders, but agencies must develop compellingthe Federal Cybersecurity Workforce.” The study messages delivered through channels that reach therevealed that federal IT leaders and HR managers best candidates. A good candidate development planneed an influx of cyber talent to meet agency consists of three essential components:missions, but are unhappy with the quantity and • Program—Knowing what to look forquality of current applicants. Recruiting efforts areplagued by a lack of consistency in job descriptions, • Message—Knowing what to saypoor incentive structures, an overly complex hiring • Channels—Knowing where to lookprocess, and confusion surrounding necessary skillrequirements. These challenges are preventing thefederal government from competing with the private Creating a Candidate Development Plansector for top technology professionals, and the talent Program—Knowing what to look forgap poses a serious threat to America’s position as a Identifying the right talent starts with an organizationalglobal power. assessment that defines the skills needed to meet1 Presidential Memorandum -- Improving the Federal Recruitment and Hiring Process, May 11, 2010, www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-memorandum-improv- ing-federal-recruitment-and-hiring-process 1
  • 4. mission requirements. The Cyber Age demands some defense and response capabilities, federal agencies new technical competencies, as well as an evolution should strive to build diverse workforces representing of existing talent. For example, computer forensics a variety of cultures. Americans who have experience experts and network analysts are still extremely or extensive training in foreign cultures often have important, but their skills may need to be expanded incredible knowledge and insight into the methods or modified when deployed in the cyber context. The of cyber terrorists who originate from those regions. cybersecurity landscape is dynamic and has changed Tapping into the diversity of the United States holds rapidly over the past 10 years. Organizations used to extraordinary value for analysis and threat removal. worry about a virus taking down their network; now invasive monitoring is a more pressing concern. The Message—Knowing what to say fear of network failure has been replaced by the fear Most of the cyber talent in today’s workforce is coming of information theft, and agencies need personnel from the “Net Generation,”3 or the 18- to 29-year-olds that have the knowledge and skills required to combat who have grown up around technology their entire lives. these emerging threats. These young professionals view work slightly differently than previous generations. “Net-Geners” aren’t The need for secure, trusted systems will play a large interested in slowly working through the bureaucracy role in shaping demand for cyber talent over the next of large organizations. They tend to sample various decade. The US Department of Labor predicts that occupations and move on quickly when they don’t see network systems analysts, data communications clear-cut opportunities for professional development. analysts, applications software engineers, and systems In a recent survey conducted by the Gallup software engineers will experience significant increases Organization for the Council on Excellence in in job growth to meet cyber demands2. Federal agency Government, 52 percent of Net-Geners said the IT leaders will need to understand how these skills single most important factor in considering a job in support their mission and create workforces with the government would be opportunities for growth and right mix of complimentary technical talents. advancement.4 That’s a powerful piece of data that Identifying the right cyber people goes beyond federal agencies can use to their advantage when technology skills. Recruiting efforts must take into attracting top talent. account other key attributes like leadership and Young cyber professionals want to know how they diversity. Some of the biggest achievements and will be developed over time. They want to see a plan conflicts of the 21st century are going to have a cyber for improving their skill sets and exposing them to component, and federal agencies need technology experiences that enable upward advancement. Cyber leaders that are capable of strategic, big picture professionals want to see career paths; government thinking. Identifying and evaluating leadership potential organizations must create them and communicate their is an essential component of the cyber recruiting benefits to potential hires. process because the next generation of technology leaders will be on the front lines, protecting our Training is an important part of any career path, and national security and economic stability. the public sector is in a unique position to offer high quality training programs to cyber professionals. In Cyber threats are often faceless, but they are not the private sector, most entry-level training activities without culture. To fully understand a threat, it helps are directly attached to near-term financial ROI to know where it came from. Governments and expectations. The government’s expansive mission organizations from all over the world use a multitude and responsibility set requires investment in cultivating of techniques to disrupt and monitor high-value talent over time to effectively marry cutting-edge information networks. To establish the best cyber 2–4 Federal Chief Information Officers Council, NetGeneration: Preparing for Change in the Federal Information Technology Workforce, www.cio.gov/Documents/NetGen%2Epdf, April 20102
  • 5. technology skills with a progressively informed view The vast majority of talent in all disciplines is passive—of the historical threat patterns. Access to long-term, they arent aggressively looking for new employment.consistent training opportunities involving the latest Because of this, it’s important for federal agencies tocyber technologies is something that the government brand themselves and create organizational awarenesscan deliver that many other organizations cant, and amongst passive audiences. Web sites are a greatit’s a crucial differentiator for federal IT leaders to place to start. The Web is typically the first interactionemphasize when approaching cyber candidates. candidates have with an organization, and this is particularly true of younger recruits. Effective sitesExposure to cutting-edge technologies and top have a clean visual look, strategic messaging, and thetechnology training wasn’t always something that social media tools that tech-savvy people have come tothe federal government could offer, but that’s rapidly expect from Web interaction.changing. The Obama Administration’s emphasis onopen government is making federal IT a new center Cyber professionals are like most people, exceptof IT innovation. The push for increased transparency, that they tend to understand technology on a deeperaccountability, and collaboration is exposing federal level and incorporate it regularly into their daily lives.IT professionals to the latest innovations involving Cyber specialists often enjoy activities like gaming,cloud computing, and it’s also becoming a place and they are typically early adopters of social mediawhere young technologists feel like they can affect tools for connecting with friends and coworkers. Onlinepositive change. According to recent research from communities and collaboration platforms are extremelynGenera Insight5 and the Council for Excellence in important resources for reaching cyber talent, andGovernment,6 one of the most important factors that platforms like Second Life, Facebook, Twitter, andyoung workers consider when job hunting is the desire LinkedIn have proven to be effective communicationsto make a difference. This is particularly true when platforms. It’s important for federal agencies tocitizens are asked to serve by people whose opinions establish brand awareness and identity within thesethey respect—whether it be parents, teachers, peers, online talent pools, and online engagement showsor elected officials. Federal IT is experiencing a positive that your organization values technology andperception shift, and it’s something that federal implements it to improve communications,agencies can incorporate into their communications to collaboration, and efficiency.attract top cyber professionals. Offline communities, like universities and professional organizations, are still important recruiting resources.Channels—Knowing where to look Targeted industry events can be fruitful if professionalsOnce an agency has identified the necessary cyber attend because the content is timely and relevant, butskills it needs, and determined its value proposition, to achieve broad talent acquisition goals, agenciesit’s time to find the talent. Some universities have must operate as their own recruiting mechanisms.developed cyber programs that produce candidates The power of referrals, particularly within the cyberwith a great foundation for a future in federal IT. The community, cannot be overstated. People want to hearchallenge is that every technology organization knows about career opportunities from people they trust,about these programs and the competition is fierce. and employees’ networks of colleagues are extremelyTo meet the cyber needs of the federal government, valuable talent pools to mine. Creating tangibleIT leaders and HR managers need to get creative. To incentives for current employees to bring external cyberlocate cyber talent, agencies need information on the talent into the agency is an effective first step.activities cyber professionals enjoy, and the forms ofmedia they pay attention to.5 Erickson, Tamara and Denis Hancock, Engaging and Assessing Net Gen Talent: 6 The Council for Excellence in Government, The Appeal of Public Service: Who…What…and Approaches for Recruiting and Hiring the Right Net Gens (nGenera Corporation, 2008), How?, May 2008, 4. 8-9ut 3
  • 6. The Booz Allen Approach— Booz Allen’s skills assessment expertise stems Cyber People Ready from much of the work performed internally by its own cyber consultants. Based on our analysis and To help federal agencies acquire the cyber client experiences, we identified 23 critical cyber talent they need to meet mission requirements, roles—ranging from intelligence analysts to network Booz Allen Hamilton has developed a modular operations planning and software engineering—to approach that details the steps involved in executing accommodate the broad, yet deep-level, requirements a strategic candidate development plan. of sophisticated missions and initiatives. We have Cyber People Competency Evaluation leveraged this knowledge and employed it within our client environments, so they can meet new cyber Assessing the Skills Needed for Mission Alignment challenges—faster and with greater effectiveness. Booz Allen’s approach to strategic skills assessment is a critical first step in building cyber people readiness. Cyber People Planning Our human capital experts help organizations define the skills and capabilities that are required to meet Forecasting Demand and Building a Blueprint the mission, including successful job performance Our approach to workforce planning provides across roles and functional areas of expertise, as well organizations with the information needed to make as behaviors that exemplify the progressive levels of proactive decisions around building a talented proficiency associated with these skills. Defining and workforce that possesses the critical skills developing these skills provides a solid foundation necessary to deliver on mission requirements at upon which targeted recruitment, selection, and the organizational level. Booz Allen’s workforce employee development initiatives are designed to help planning specialists have substantial experience in hiring managers and HR professionals build talent and organizational transformation, human capital, business capacity within their organizations. analysis, and strategic planning. Since the cyber Exhibit 1 | Candidate Development Plan Pre-Engagement Decision Process Selection Onboarding Application Management Applicant Applicant Offer and Marketing Job Analysis Review Selection Background Candidate Candidate and Branding and Review Employee Pro le and Vacancy Check Campaign Development Status Update and Outreach Development Development Hiring Manager Outreach Additional Steps Recommended for OPM Hiring Process Model Candidate Development Plan Source: Booz Allen Hamilton4
  • 7. mission—and the agencies, policies, protocols, process. Many of these tactics need to be in placeand processes associated with it—is incredibly before the candidate engagement even starts—namelydynamic, organizations need the ability to model profile development, message development, andtheir future workforce in an equally dynamic way. the creation of a targeted marketing plan. Exhibit 1Booz Allen’s planning service helps clients reconcile illustrates how agencies can design, develop, andthe strategic direction of their workforce capabilities implement a Candidate Development Plan aroundand the changes needed to perform their ever- the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hiringevolving missions. model to dramatically improve the performance of the cyber talent acquisition process.Cyber People Development ConclusionDeveloping Recruits to Fill Mission Gaps President Obama recently issued a memorandumThis service allows hiring managers and HR entitled, “Improving the Federal Recruitment andprofessionals to find and leverage the right recruiting Hiring Process” to address the “complexity andchannels to establish a robust talent pipeline inefficiency” in today’s system. The administration’sand fill the talent void within their organizations. recommendations are focused on quickly and efficientlyBooz Allen can evaluate the balance of skills required pushing quality candidates through the federal hiringto fulfill an agency’s cyber mission requirements, process. This is extremely important for attractingand determine the best channels for cultivating the cyber professionals because without that processcandidate flow required to meet those demands—today efficiency, other recruiting investments will beand in the future. Through market research, we help wasted as quality personnel are turned off by theclients identify the best marketing/branding venues, overall experience.social networking sites, professional associations,universities, and scholarship programs for tapping By the same token, process efficiency upgrades willinto talent needs. We can also design and implement be wasted if agencies don’t invest in comprehensivecandidate screening processes to ensure hiring candidate development plans. Moving personneldecisions are legally defensible and yield the highest efficiently through a system that delivers the wrongquality candidates, given the agency’s culture and messages to the wrong candidates won’t improveoccupational demands. talent acquisition. Agencies need value propositions that speak to the next generation of IT leaders,Implementing a Candidate Development Plan because the governments that are successfulWithin the Traditional Hiring Process in acquiring the top cyber talent will positionCandidate development plans are designed to support themselves as the political and economic leaderstraditional hiring procedures at key points in the of the Cyber Age. 5
  • 8. About the Authors Jeff Akin is a leader in the firms Strategy & Organization Eric Vazquez is the Strategic Recruiting Capability Lead business, and works with federal government agencies for the firm’s Human Capital Management team, and and Fortune 500 organizations to redefine their HR has 11 years of experience in many areas of strategic strategies, align people with business models, recruitment. Recent clients include the DHS, the MCRC, accelerate their paths to differentiated performance and the Naval Sea Systems Command, where he led the post-M&A/organizational restructuring, develop multi- development and deployment of groundbreaking federal year workforce models, and design and execute recruiting innovations that are being adopted across the strategic candidate attraction/capture plans. As a US Navy. Eric is a seasoned presenter, and has served recognized cyber workforce development thought as Conference Chair at the Strategic Recruiting for leader, Jeff has briefed many government agencies Government Conference. in the US DoD, DHS, and Intelligence Community. Roseann Ryba leads the firm’s Strategy & Organization team in Central Maryland, primarily serving the Intelligence Community (IC). She is a skilled coach and facilitator, who has led strategic planning and team effectiveness workshops for public and private sector clients. Roseann earned a master’s degree in Human Resource Development from the American University, and is on the Board of Directors for Leadership Anne Arundel, a volunteer organization dedicated to developing leaders in the community. Contact Information: Jeff Akin Roseann Ryba Eric Vazquez Principal Principal Senior Associate akin_ jeffrey@bah.com ryba_roseann@bah.com vazquez_eric@bah.com 703/984-3753 410/684-7819 703/984-01496
  • 9. About Booz AllenBooz Allen Hamilton has been at the forefront a consultant’s problem-solving orientation with deepof strategy and technology consulting for nearly technical knowledge and strong execution, Booz Allena century. Today, the firm is a major provider of helps clients achieve success in their most criticalprofessional services primarily to US government missions—as evidenced by the firm’s many clientagencies in the defense, security, and civil sectors, relationships that span decades. Booz Allenas well as to corporations, institutions, and not- helps shape thinking and prepare for futurefor-profit organizations. Booz Allen offers clients developments in areas of national importance,deep functional knowledge spanning strategy and including cybersecurity, homeland security,organization, technology, operations, and analytics— healthcare, and information technology.which it combines with specialized expertise in Booz Allen is headquartered in McLean, Virginia,clients’ mission and domain areas to help solve their employs more than 23,000 people, and has annualtoughest problems. revenues of approximately $5 billion. Fortune hasThe firm’s management consulting heritage is named Booz Allen one of its “100 Best Companies tothe basis for its unique collaborative culture and Work For” for six consecutive years. Working Motheroperating model, enabling Booz Allen to anticipate has ranked the firm among its “100 Best Companiesneeds and opportunities, rapidly deploy talent and for Working Mothers” annually since 1999. Moreresources, and deliver enduring results. By combining information is available at www.boozallen.comTo learn more about the firm and to download digital versions of this article and other Booz Allen Hamiltonpublications, visit www.boozallen.com. 7
  • 10. Principal OfficesALABAMA MARYLAND SOUTH CAROLINAHuntsville Aberdeen Charleston Annapolis JunctionCALIFORNIA TEXAS Lexington ParkLos Angeles Houston LinthicumSan Diego San Antonio RockvilleSan Francisco NEBRASKA VIRGINIACOLORADO Omaha AlexandriaColorado Springs ArlingtonDenver NEW JERSEY ChantillyFLORIDA Eatontown CharlottesvillePensacola Falls ChurchSarasota NEW YORK HerndonTampa Rome McLeanGEORGIA OHIO NorfolkAtlanta Dayton StaffordHAWAII PENNSYLVANIA WASHINGTON, DCHonolulu PhiladelphiaKANSASLeavenworthThe most complete, recent list of offices and their addresses and telephone numbers can be found onwww.boozallen.com by clicking the “Offices” link under “About Booz Allen.”www.boozallen.com ©2010 Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. BA10-230 Candidate Development Viewpoint

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