While the federal workforce became more diverse in terms of gender, race and ethnicity from the end of the Obama administration to the end of the Trump administration, agencies can still do more to recruit and retain people from underrepresented communities. Affinity groups are one resource that agencies can use to meet this imperative.

Certain challenges – such as national emergencies, large-scale attrition, new mission requirements and the need for new talent – require federal agencies to rapidly grow their workforce. With support from the Democracy Fund, the Partnership for Public Service identified the most effective and widely applicable strategies for surge hiring.

Amid the response to COVID-19, federal agencies are moving quickly to fill the jobs needed to address new and emerging challenges. In Spring 2020, the Partnership hosted two recruiting and hiring sessions to support agencies as they sought to rapidly fill mission critical roles. This guide captures strategies and insights shared by experts at those sessions—many of which are relevant to hiring amid the pandemic and in normal operations.