We the Partnership

How one federal agency has developed a new pipeline for entry-level talent

By Kiki Marlam | December 21, 2020

Are you an entry-level job seeker with a passion for public service and an interest in finance? The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation hires roughly 200 entry-level bank examiners each year, staffing nearly 80 offices nationwide. To hire new entry-level talent, the FDIC uses two key recruiting initiatives: the Pathways Programs and agency hiring events. Over the past six years, about 40% of entry-level examiners were former FDIC interns. And often at each hiring event, more than 40 attendees receive job offers from the agency.

Pathways internship programs

Pathways Programs are a government-wide initiative designed to help agencies recruit and hire qualified students and recent graduates. The program aims to provide applicants clear paths to federal internships and full-time positions, and offers training, mentoring and career-development opportunities.

The FDIC offers two Pathways internship programs:

  • The Financial Management Scholars Program is a 12-week paid summer internship for college students earning degrees in finance and business-related majors. The interns participate in a week-long orientation at an FDIC center in Virginia and are then placed at one of the agency’s  field offices. The program also pairs interns with full-time employees who serve as mentors and provide additional training. At the end of the internship, the students return to Virginia to present their work and complete a skills assessment test. The agency will then extend full-time offers to interns based on their performance.
  • The Financial Institution Intern Program is a year-round internship that places college students at nearby field offices to work in part-time or full-time positions. Interns often work for up to 1 ½  years and may be offered a permanent position once they graduate. Between 2014 and 2018, the program hired 46% of its interns as full-time examiners.

Innovative entry-level talent hiring events

Every year, the FDIC hosts several events to identify and hire entry-level examiners. After posting open positions on USAJOBS, the HR team identifies qualified applicants and screens them through a writing assessment. The agency then invites the strongest candidates to participate in a hiring event at FDIC headquarters.

At the event, candidates meet with hiring managers, learn more about the position, attend agency overview sessions, complete assessments in math and financial analysis, and give an oral presentation. The hiring staff compares notes and assessments scores for each candidate and shares them with agency executives who review the candidates’ performance and extend job offers.

Amid the pandemic, the FDIC has continued to bring entry-level bank examiners on board by moving many of its hiring events online.

For more information on how agencies can fill their critical talent needs, read A Time for Talent: Improving Federal Recruiting and Hiring. To learn more about working in the government and starting a federal career, visit gogovernment.org.

Kiki Marlam is a former intern on the Partnership’s Communications team.