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Workforce Development Toolkit - Talent pipeline and acquisition


Online Recruitment System - NEOGOV

As part of the enterprise wide system for Washington State agencies, WSDOT uses the Online Recruiting System (ORLS) a web-based tool powered by NEOGOV. This system provides support in job posting, online job applications, applicant tracking and screening, requisition management, and reporting. As a hiring manager when the recruitment closes, you and your panel members will be given access to review eligible candidates within the system. Take a look at the agency's general recruitment process on the right and hiring manager's check list to help you get started in your hiring process.

Assessing applications

The assigned Recruiter will use the required qualifications directly from the formal position description to conduct an initial screening of the applicant pool. Once the qualified applicants are referred in NEOGOV, the application materials are then available for you to review. Consult with your Recruiter to discuss a timeline for candidate application referrals.


Interviews are your opportunity to ask qualified candidates pertinent questions regarding their skills and to sell the job. If you do not intend to interview all referred candidates, please provide a copy of your screening criteria before selecting candidates to interview. Your screening criteria should be based on the qualifications and skills you are seeking.

In addition to developing your screening criteria, you will want to start thinking about who you want to participate on your interview panel. A structured interview must be conducted to allow no less than three (3) individuals to participate in assessing the candidates.

Interview preparation


Plan for your interviews. Select panel members, consisting of at least 3 individuals. Hiring managers are to consider the diversity makeup of their interview panel, ensuring a wide array of perspectives, disciplines and backgrounds are represented. Interview panels should consist of a combination of subject matter experts, supervisors within the reporting structure, statewide peers or counterparts, customers, and/or other stakeholders that interface with the position to be filled.


Develop your interview questions. The assigned Recruiter will assist the hiring manager in developing relevant, legally defensible interview questions based on job analysis, as captured in the formal position description. Any and all interview questions will be reviewed prior to use by either the assigned Recruiter or local HR Consultant to ensure full compliance with state and federal laws.


Reserve interview date(s) and select your virtual platform. Virtual interviews via Microsoft Teams is the best option currently available. When sending out the invites for your virtual interviews, it is encouraged to send a copy of the position description and release of information authorization to the candidate prior to the interview. It is encouraged to schedule a pre-meeting with the interview panel to review the interview questions and rating tool.


Complete required training prior to interview. All panelists, yourself included, must:

If needed, contact your HR Consultant or assigned recruiter for accommodation requests. Some examples of accommodation request could be providing readers or sign language interpreters.

Conduct the interview


The same person(s)/panel should interview each candidate with the same questions. Make notes about each candidate's responses. Collect notes from each person/panelist for the recruitment file.


After the interview has completed, provide the candidate an opportunity to ask questions. Be sure you have built in time for this when creating your interview schedule.


Advise candidates of next steps which may include professional reference checks. Candidates must provide written consent by completing an Authorization to Release Information form prior to any reference check activities.


Good candidates usually have several positions from which to choose, so it is important to make your job attractive and move quickly. Let the applicant know the timeframe for making the hiring decision and any change or delays.

Post interview

Professional reference checks

WSDOT defines a professional reference as an individual with professional relation to the candidate who can attest to their work performance, technical skills, and job-related competencies.

  1. A minimum three (3) references should be conducted for each candidate. This includes internal and external candidates. Ideally, these will include at least two (2) current and/or former supervisors.
  2. Candidates must provide written consent by completing an Authorization to Release Information form prior to any reference check activities.
  3. Any and all reference checks should be conducted after a structured interview has taken place, where candidate(s) have had an opportunity to introduce themselves and provide relevant context to their professional background and work history.

Personnel file review

It is a practice amongst the Enterprise to pursue a personnel file review for a current or former Washington State employee. Please contact your assigned Recruiter for assistance if needed. This will include a review of performance evaluations and any corrective or disciplinary actions from the last three years.

Background checks

In accordance with the RCW 49.94.010 and Executive Order 16-05, an employer (WSDOT) may not seek to obtained nor make considerations based on criminal background information until after the applicant(s) has been determined as otherwise qualified for the position.

  1. If there is a formal policy or legal statute that requires a criminal background check for a specific position or classification, please have the candidate complete the extended release form for background checks, and email to your assigned Recruiter.
  2. With the exception of any specific positions or classifications where necessity is indicated by formal policy or legal statute, criminal background checks are not required nor permitted to be used for consideration in recruitment or selection processes at WSDOT.

Salary setting

The Equal Pay & Opportunity Act (EPOA), effective July 28, 2019, states that despite existing equal pay laws, there continues to be a gap in wages and advancement opportunities among workers in Washington RCW 49.58.005. The law has several elements that require employers to provide equal compensation to “similarly employed” workers along with equal opportunities for career advancement. Washington State legislature finds that the long-held business practice of inquiring about salary history has contributed to persistent earning inequalities.

Determine salary. The EPOA law states you must set salary based on:

  • Candidate Qualifications – Education, training, experience and/or other bona fide factors, e.g. seniority system, merit system.
  • Current Market – Assess the going rate for the same or similar positions within local markets or other business sectors.
  • Internal Equity – What are other similarly employed staff being paid? It is perfectly okay to evaluate what your existing staff are currently earning to determine a fair offer.
  • Location – Regional differences in compensation levels, such as those between Seattle and Yakima, are justifiable factors to consider in determining a fair offer.

Important note: An employee’s previous wage or salary may not be used in your salary setting decision.

Once you have determined a salary offer, verify with either your Recruiter or local HR that the salary offer complies with CBA rules of promotion.

Final Steps

Email all selection materials to HR/Recruiter for review and approval. Selection materials include interview notes, ratings documents, and reference checks.

Request approval in writing from Appointing Authority to make an offer. You may also want to discuss parameters for potential salary negotiation.

Make your offer. Make your offer with compensation. Be prepared to negotiate salary and discuss start dates, schedule and equipment pickup.

Contact interview candidates that were not selected to inform them of your decision after an offer has been accepted.

Compensation incentives

You will need written approval from your appointing authority and the Director of Human Resources and Safety prior to offering any compensation incentives.


Accelerated Leave: Per WAC 357-58-175, a department may authorize a lump-sum accrual of vacation leave or accelerate the vacation leave accrual rate to support the recruitment and/or retention of a candidate or incumbent for a WMS position.


Relocation Assistance: The agency may pay the moving costs of qualified or transferred employees subject to the requirements and restrictions of RCW 43.03 and State Administrative and Accounting Manual (SAAM) 60.10 when it determines it is necessary to do so to successfully recruit and retain qualified employees. This may include lump sum payment, relocation expenses, Per Diem, Travel, and Miscellaneous Expense Reimbursement.

Please refer to the resources provided for additional information.

Other Talent Pipeline

Retiree rehire

The WAC 415-108-710 leads the example for the rules and procedures for rehiring retired state employees. State law limits the number of hours during a calendar year that a retiree from a Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) plan can work in a state government or state higher education position before the suspension of the employee's pension payments for the remainder of the year.

Retirees are solely responsible for tracking the hours they work. This includes determining the effect on their pension payments if they work beyond their post-retirement employment limit.


This is an opportunity to provide qualified candidates, with meaningful and educational work experience, to supplement and enhance their academic programs. In return, the agency derives the full benefit of the students' capabilities to assist in normal work activities and/or with special projects and events. Internship experience also offers a glimpse of what the agency has to offer and develops a pipeline for talent. For more information regarding obtaining an intern or about the internship program please contact your local HR Consultant.

Work Study

The State Work Study program is for qualifying students to obtain on the job experience to support their education program. Work-study builds students' skills, increases their earnings, and reduces reliance on student loans. The state contributes to the wages of work-study employees, so participating employers benefit from educated, motivated workers at a lower cost. The program contributes to economic growth by creating jobs and adding experienced, high-skilled college students to the state's workforce. If you are interested in hiring a work-study student, work with your local HR consultant.


People volunteer for a variety of reasons: some seek college credit, others want to gain valuable career experience. To learn more refer to Chapter 22 of the WSDOT HR Desk Manual.

Supported Employment

Supported Employment is a creative and cost-effective approach to meeting business needs, including people with individuals with disabilities in the workforce. Supported Employment positions are customized to meet employers' specific entry-level needs and to take advantage of the skills of the job candidate. To learn more refer to the following link:

Foreign visas

Upon appointing authority approval, there are opportunities to hire individuals outside the United States. You will need to work with your HR representative. To learn more take a look at the fact sheets about H1B and OPT visas.