e-Texas e-Texassmaller smarter faster governmentDecember, 2000
Carole Keeton Rylander
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Recommendations of the Texas Comptroller

Chapter 4: Human Resource Management

Improve State Agencies’ Employee Recruitment and Hiring Procedures


State agencies face serious challenges in recruiting and hiring employees. The hiring process often takes so long that candidates have accepted other positions by the time a state agency can make an offer. Moreover current recruitment procedures, often fail to always draw large candidate pools. Potential applicants also cannot review all state openings nor apply for jobs online. Texas should make its recruitment and hiring processes faster and more user-friendly.


Texas government faces serious problems maintaining a qualified work force in today’s labor market. The average age of state employees is 41, and as large numbers of employees retire over the next 20 years, they will take with them decades of accumulated knowledge and experience.[1] The state’s fiscal 1999 turnover rate was 17.6 percent, meaning that agencies are likely to experience an ongoing search for qualified employees.[2] And with a state unemployment rate of only 4 percent, employers are paying more for qualified workers than ever before.[3] In fiscal 1999, Texas agencies posted openings for nearly 31,000 available positions across the state.[4]

Most with job vacancies use a paper-intensive process to fill positions. Chapter 656 of the Government Code requires agencies to post all available jobs with the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC’s) Governor’s Job Bank (GJB).[5] Postings usually are sent to GJB by fax, e-mail or mail, or to TWC employees based at local workforce boards, where they are then entered into TWC’s mainframe computer system. GJB job postings then can be accessed on the Internet through TWC’s Web site. As an alternative to the GJB requirement, agencies may directly post their openings on TWC’s Hire Texas Web page, a broader Web site featuring public as well as private-sector jobs.

State agencies have expressed concern about delays in the hiring process caused by requirements that positions remain posted for a set period of time. State law, however, is relatively flexible in this area. Notices of a job vacancy must be posted for ten working days unless TWC is notified that the opening was filled more quickly. TWC does not, monitor the length of time agencies post jobs with the GJB. Agencies may keep vacancies posted for at least 10 days as a matter of course, simply to avoid the need to notify TWC. In today’s marketplace, faster hiring may be essential to avoid losing qualified candidates.


In addition to mandatory postings with TWC, agencies often advertise jobs in newspapers. Newspaper advertising has the advantage of reaching many more potential job candidates, but it also has shortcomings. With each agency relying heavily on individual newspaper ads to fill individual openings, the state incurs considerable costs for newspaper advertising. A recent e-Texas analysis of state agency job postings found that agencies spent $117,000 on advertising in two weeks alone.[6] If this is representative, Texas may spend more than $3 million annually to advertise jobs in newspapers around the state.

Individual ad purchases by agencies prevent the state from taking advantage of group or bulk discounts. Paying for ads one at a time can be inordinately expensive. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Texas agencies typically pay the regular price of $122 per column inch, instead of the discounted $77 per column inch paid by the newspaper’s larger clients.[7] A 37 percent savings, therefore, may be possible with at least one newspaper if agencies simply consolidate their advertising budgets. If the state could reduce its $3 million expenditures by just 15 percent through negotiated rates, it could save $450,000 annually.

Few human resources experts would disagree that newspaper advertisements rarely excite prospective applicants. And the benefit of the ad disappears once the specific posting has been filled. To supplement newspaper advertisements, other ways to publicize job openings should be explored so that a greater variety of prospective candidates can be reached.

The US Army, for example, ran advertisements using the jingle “Be All You Can Be” until market research indicated that to attract the next generation of potential personnel, a better approach would be to stress the opportunity to “work with people you like.” Newer Army advertisements show glimpses of a variety of occupations that can be filled, and offer the potential to draw nurses, mechanics, electricians, and administrators as well as prospective combat soldiers to recruitment offices.

Texas could benefit from advertisements that have similar broad-based appeal. One advertisement focusing on state benefits and the opportunity to “leave the world a better place” or “leave a legacy of service,” for example, might interest prospective social workers and aides, lawyers, public administrators, and policy analysts who are needed in a variety of agencies.

At present, Texas state agencies have limited funding for recruitment. Agencies can rarely afford to conduct significant market research that would allow them to launch sophisticated recruitment strategies. Many agencies attempt to visit colleges or attend job fairs, but few data are available on which efforts yield the most significant results, making it difficult to assess whether various recruitment efforts can be justified by results.

Hiring Process

Once applicants find prospective jobs that interest them, the application process should be as streamlined as much as possible. TWC offers a free service, “Hire Texas,” to match both public- and private-sector jobs to any interested applicants’ qualifications. Hire Texas is linked to America’s Job Bank, a free computerized network that links state employment service offices to provide job seekers with a large pool of active job opportunities nationwide.

Neither the Governor’s Job Bank nor Hire Texas, however, possess all of the characteristics of a state-of-the-art labor exchange program. The Governor’s Job Bank only allows applicants to sort job information by location, salary, and broad classifications. Hire Texas allows job seekers to search for positions using keywords such as “auditing” or “accounting.” Once a possible job posting is identified, job seekers often must navigate from one agency’s Internet homepage to another for information on specific jobs. Hire Texas has job-matching capabilities—that is, the system will match job openings to specific applicant skills and interests—but, since the system is mainframe-based, matching does not occur in real time but typically is performed overnight.

Neither system allows state job applicants to complete applications online and transmit them electronically. Applicants must printout applications, complete them and then either mail or personally deliver them, one application for each position in which they are interested. Many job applicants experience long waits from the time they apply for a position until a selection is made. State officials say it is common for an agency to make an offer to a candidate and learn that the candidate had been interested in accepting the position but felt compelled to accept another job rather than wait for an uncertain outcome.[8]

TWC and e-Texas staff members met with the State Agency Coordinating Committee to identify solutions to address common concerns. Exhibit 1 describes the characteristics officials believe are necessary to improve the current job posting and hiring process.

Exhibit 1

Characteristics of an Improved Posting and Recruitment Process

  • The system should ensure that all job candidates have access to job position information available through improved technology. Computers should be made available to the public at TWC’s 28 workforce field offices to ensure access to job information.

  • The system should use existing technical infrastructures and specialty job bulletin boards when the cost is equal to or less than the cost of building a separate infrastructure. The state should not spend time and money developing new technologies if less expensive technologies already exist in the marketplace.

  • The system should offer the opportunity for real-time communication between potential applicants and employers.

  • The system should provide access to as large a pool of viable, appropriately-matched candidates as possible.

  • The system should be able to match available candidates immediately to available jobs based on qualifications.

  • The applicant should be able to fill out just one application for a variety of agency jobs.

  • Any agency should be able to post any of its job openings electronically.

  • All postings should be accessible through a single source to fulfill the legal requirement that state agencies post all positions with the Governor’s Job Bank.

  • The system should allow applicants to complete state applications or résumés online and mail them electronically to the hiring agencies.

  • A résumé, once entered into a job-seeker database, should reside in the system for a specified period of time unless removed because a job seeker found a position. In this way, multiple employers could view the résumé, and applicants could use it to apply for multiple jobs.

  • An electronic system should be able to generate management information such as the number of viewers per posting; the number of visits to a state job posting site; the number of actual applicants per posting; the number of hires per posting; trend information on filled versus unfilled positions; time from posting to placement; and the frequency and volume of postings by type.

  • State agencies should be able to obtain reduced rates by consolidating newspaper advertising.

  • Marketing strategies should be developed and used to draw prospective job candidates to a state job site.

  • Agencies should be able to electronically post a position to a state job board as well as other private bulletin boards with limited keystrokes from one web location.

Department of Information Resource

The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) has established a state Web portal, TexasOnline, that could offer information on state postings. DIR also holds a state software license, through PeopleSoft, for a human resources management system that a number of large agencies are presently installing. A planned upgrade to this software application will include a Web-based service called e-recruit that promises to link state postings to various job bulletin boards. Because DIR plays a role with the new portal and existing software, they are well positioned to consider the feasibility of these opportunities along with other commercial software like job bulletin boards.


A. State law should be amended to direct the Department of Information Resources (DIR) to work with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and state agencies to create improved ways of posting state agency positions, reaching more job candidates, and receiving résumés or applications online.

Exhibit 1, shown above, lists improvements that the state’s human resources directors would like to see in the current process. While it is unlikely that $1 million would be adequate to put all these improvements in place, the list could provide the basis for a request for proposals for private vendors if the participants determine it would be appropriate to issue one. The solution developed may involve improvements to the portal, the purchase of private jobs, bulletin board services, a consolidated advertisement effort and/or the development of an online job application that could be mailed to hiring agencies. The specific use of the funds cannot be determined until DIR works with agencies to develop more specific options.

B. State law should be amended to repeal the provision in the Government Code requiring agencies to notify TWC if they fill job postings in less than 10 days.

This requirement may have created the unintended perception that postings must remain open a full 10 days. In today’s market, where qualified candidates may be offered private positions within a few days of applying for a job, state agencies cannot always afford to leave positions open a full 10 days. Reporting to TWC each time positions are filled in fewer than 10 days, moreover, is unnecessarily burdensome to agencies. TWC does not monitor agency compliance with this requirement, nor does it have any means of doing so.

Fiscal Impact

Appropriating $1 million to the Department of Information Resources (DIR) for the 2002-03 biennium should provide adequate resources to implement these recommendations, when supplemented by the resources DIR has already invested in developing a state portal.

Savings/(Cost) to the General Revenue Fund


[1] Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, “Count of all state employees as of 5/17/00, by Age Group,” Austin, Texas, May 17, 2000. (Computer printout.)

[2] State Auditor’s Office, “An Annual Report on Full-Time Classified State Employee Turnover for Fiscal Year 1999,” Austin, Texas, March 2000 (http://www.sao.state.tx.us/reports/2000/00-707.html). (Internet document.)

[3] Texas Workforce Commission, “The Texas Labor Market Review,” Austin, Texas, July 2000 (www.twc.state.tx.us/lmi/publications/tlmr/tlmr0006.html). (Internet document.)

[4] Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Fiscal Management, USPS HRIS Report, “Number of New Hires, 9/1/98-8/31/99,” Austin, Texas, June 22, 2000. (Computer printout.)

[5] V.T.C.A., Government Code §656.001.

[6] Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Newz Group Clipz Management Report, by Geo Tel Corporation (Austin, Texas, August 25, 2000). (Consultant report.)

[7] Interview with Janis Hall, salesperson, Austin American-Statesman, Austin, Texas, September, 21, 2000.

[8] Interview with Morris Winn, manager, Human Resources Division, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Austin, Texas, August 25, 2000.

e-Texas is an initiative of Carole Keeton Rylander, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Post Office Box 13528, Capitol Station
Austin, Texas

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