Skip to main content

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

Your assigned Recruiter will review resumes against the criteria on the job announcement and position description, review qualified applicants for eligibility, and then refer candidates to OHC in Neogov. The resumes are then available for you to review. Consult with your Recruiter to discuss a timeline for candidate resume referrals.

Phone screening

Telephone screenings can be a timesaving step in the recruitment process. While phone conversations cannot replace in-person interviews, they can be used to narrow your candidate pool and/or learn more about a candidate from out of town, and are generally used to determine if the applicant is still interested based on the "conditions of employment"; the salary, shift, etc. It is the recruiter's responsibility to keep all notes from a telephone screening for three years.


  • Before starting your telephone screens, establish a system for evaluating your results. Consistency with evaluations will assist you in identifying candidates that should move towards the next step in the interviewing process.
  • During the phone screen, allow time for candidates to ask you questions about the position. Be prepared to provide any information needed regarding the next steps in the interviewing process. Also, let candidates know when you will be getting back to them about the results of the telephone screen.
  • Make sure to follow up with candidates you have spoken with to let them know the status of the recruitment.


Interviews are your opportunity to ask qualified candidates pertinent questions regarding their skills and to sell the job. You are not required to interview every candidate. Evaluate all the applications based on the qualifications and skills you are seeking, and interview those who appear most qualified. As a hiring manager or interview panelist, you are responsible for following federal and state employment laws on unfair pre-employment inquiries.

Interview preparation


Review the Fair Pre-employment Guidelines in preparation for developing your interview questions. Once established, utilize the same questions for all candidates interviewed. You will need to submit the interview questions to the Recruiter or to HR for review prior to interviewing.


As a resource you can learn about the essentials of interviewing and hiring by logging on to WSDOT Learn and taking a look at the following interactive courses: Screening Applicants for Interviewing, Conducting an Effective Interview and Behavioral Interview Techniques.


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 and/or ensuring that interviews, tests, and other components of the application process are held in accessible locations.


Review the candidate's resume and any additional material before the interview. Highlight any areas of the resume that may need clarification such as breaks in employment.


Behavioral based interviews are the agency's current method for interviewing. Behavioral interviews use the premise that past performance is the best predictor of future performance. Additionally, the questions in a behavioral interview are designed to reveal the extent to which the candidate possesses core characteristics/competencies (e.g., an orientation towards customer service) espoused by an employer. Effective use of this technique will increase the likelihood that the candidate selected will possess both the skill set and values essential to the success of your team.


It is encouraged to send a copy of the position description and release of authorization to the candidate prior to the interview.


Provide each member of the interviewing panel/team with a copy of the resumes and interview questions.

Interview panel


When selecting panel members, ensure a diverse interview panel. This reduces the risk of biases in ratings and allows for a diverse range of interviewers. Additionally this adheres to the agency's commitment to diversity and inclusion.


In support of our agency's commitment to diversity and inclusion, all panel members participating in the interview are expected to take the WA-State Interview Panel training in The WA State Learning Center (TLC).

When participating on a panel there could be some sub-conscious ways that bias can creep into the interview process. Being aware of these throughout the process will help keep yourself and your fellow panel members from making inconsistent assessments.

  • Similarity: Seeing qualities possessed by the interviewer in the candidate, possibly leading to overlooking other characteristics
  • First impression: Judging or drawing conclusions about a candidate by the first impression the interviewer
  • Halo: Allowing one characteristic to influence the overall rating of the candidate
  • Leniency/severity: Exhibiting extreme leniency or harshness in evaluating candidates
  • Restriction of range: Unwilling to use the extreme ends of the scale, which results in all candidates being rated in the middle range
  • Stereotyping: Judging based on broad generalizations instead of specific information about the candidate

Learn more about unconscious bias in this video.


Panel members can also take The Implicit Association Test to understand their implicit bias. The test measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. The IAT may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about. To take the test and learn more please refer to the following link:


Read more about overcoming your own unconscious biases by signing into WSDOT Learn and searching for the keyword bias. It will bring up several resources for you to review and participate in.


It is encourage to schedule a pre-meeting with the interview panel to review the scoring tool, review questions, watch the bias video and outline/plan the interview process details for the day.

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.


Advise candidates that you will conduct a reference check on final candidates and verify their consent with a signed form. Collect references from candidates as needed. Previous and current supervisors can best attest to the candidate's experience and performance.


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.

Consent to contact references

The candidate should provide you with a minimum of three professional references, including name, phone number, email address and a description of the working relationship with the candidate. Prior to conducting any reference or review of a personnel file, you will need to obtain a release of authorization form. During interviews, remind candidates that you may be checking their references if they are a top candidate. If a candidate requests no contact with their current supervisor, you may still proceed with checking their other references. However, you will need to let them know if they become the top candidate, you will have to check this reference. You may also extend an offer contingent upon references. Note: You must document each reference check with legible, thorough notes of the reference's comments. Your notes from reference checks are part of the recruitment record and will be in accordance with Washington State retention schedule.

Reference checks

Reference checks are encouraged prior to hiring an applicant. You may check references for multiple candidates if you need additional information in order to rank finalists. If a candidate currently works at, or has prior working history, with a Washington State agency, complete a personnel file review. Most hiring managers conduct their own reference checks, while HR staff may complete the reference checks for managers. A template Reference Checks is to the right.

Compensation incentives


Moving/relocation expense: 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. The department will follow the Internal Revenue Service regulations regarding taxability of moving and traveling expenses and relocation allowances and report accordingly. The Employees Moving Guide published by the Department of Enterprise Services Master Contracts and Consulting program is the official state guide and the department will adhere to this in determining reimbursement. For details, please refer to the Office of Financial Management Moving Expense policy and the Department of Enterprise Employee Moving Guide. Note: You will need approval from your appointing authority and/or Regional Administrator prior to offering any 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.


Lump Sum: Lump sum relocation assistance may be used by the department to successfully recruit or retain a qualified candidate who will have to make a domiciliary move (relocate their official residence) in order to accept the position. For details and approval process, refer to chapter 24, Relocation of the HR Desk Manual.

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. For more information regarding post-retirement employment, visit the DRS website.

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.