Recruiting Top Technical Talent to Government

I have a salary line with $45,000, a backlog of analytical work going back to the Great Depression, and a dated position advertisement that begins by shouting “PERSONNEL SYSTEM EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY.” Sound familiar? If so, you may be a government manager like me, trying to compete with the top consulting firms, start-ups, tech giants, and universitiess to hire new technical staff.

Despite the competition, I have been fortunate in Somerville to recruit amazing talent with advanced degrees from MIT, Brandeis, Harvard, and Michigan, to name a few. We currently have two analysts with PhDs, and a broad skill-set among staff members. In my experience, recruiting is the most important part of running a city. It’s the only way to avoid micromanaging policies and programs.


For fun, I recently sampled a few dozen advertisements on sites like to see how they compare with recruiting websites from the private sector.

The University to Government Pipeline


Testing Their Skills


Thinking Fast and Slow.

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