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Not only does government bureaucracy often make hiring a cumbersome, slow-moving process, but poor performers enjoy more protection from losing their jobs than their counterparts outside of government. With over thirty years’ experience as a federal government employee, insider Stewart Liff offers a solution to the government talent shortage–enabling government managers to cut through the red tape and take advantage of the best government employees out there. The Complete Guide to Hiring and Firing Government Employees also teaches readers the equally important skills of efficiently documenting and dealing with those who don’t make the cut to ensure your team starts and stays strong. You’ll discover: how to take an anticipatory approach to recruiting; how to decide who to target, and where and how to advertise for open positions; how to screen and interview candidates; how to counsel a poor-performing employee; how to use progressive discipline; how to document a case and write a charge; how to develop internal political support; and much more. Bringing the best new people on board and weeding out the worst are both the most important and the most difficult tasks faced by any employer. For federal managers, the challenge is even greater. Filled with tried-and-true strategies, this step-by-step guide will equip you to continuously uphold, strengthen, and even grow an entire department of high achievers.


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“Liff’s new book tosses aside the typical esoteric discourse on civil service reform and hunkers down into the weeds of current law to help managers figure out how to hire the best workers and get rid of the worst now — not in some utopian, imaginary world of the future.” –Government Executive “Unlike other government reference books, the author shares his government experience and expertise with human resources and management and sheds light on its many nuances. He also provides a roadmap and reference tool to the potential pitfalls that experienced and inexperienced federal managers face daily….Not another door stop or dust gatherer. 4 out 4 of stars if used earnestly by federal mangers and supervisors.” –Oh My Gov! –This text refers to the hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

It’s always hard to find a good employee, especially if you’re burdened with a lot of red tape and bureaucracy. What’s even worse is knowing that if the employee doesn’t work out, it could be difficult to effectively discipline—or in the worst cases, ultimately get rid of—your least effective employees.

Written by a proven authority on government careers who has himself worked for the government for decades, The Complete Guide to Hiring and Firing Government Employees arms you with tried-and-true, realistic strategies that will enable you to find and hire the best talent available, as well as efficiently document and deal with those who don’t make the cut.

Over the course of your career, you will probably hire dozens if not hundreds of people—and make no mistake about it; the quality of the people you hire will go a long way toward determining how successful you are as a manager. If you don’t properly strategize in the first place how to regularly bring in the best possible groups of new employees—instead of just making quick, individual judgment calls and hoping for the best—you run the risk of spending your valuable time dealing with performance problems and employee relations issues, rather than performing your own day-to-day job. Even then, all the time and effort you may spend trying to smooth out a less-than-adequate employee’s work may come to no avail.

With all the constraints posed by the government’s laws, rules, regulations, and procedures, neither hiring top-notch government employees nor removing consistently poor performers is an easy task. But you will need to be able to do both in order to succeed.

The Complete Guide to Hiring and Firing Government Employees provides you with a complete roadmap for recruiting and retaining highly qualified applicants in a logical, integrated, and systematic fashion. The book offers a series of philosophies, strategies, and recruitment tactics, based on a deep understanding of the government’s HRM systems. You’ll be able to customize an approach to fit your own specific needs and become familiar with the entire hiring process, ranging from the time before vacancies even exist, to the moment you begin your recruiting, through rating and ranking candidates, and up to the final selection and its aftermath.

You’ll learn concrete strategies for counseling and working with employees who need improvement, providing progressive discipline when necessary. The book then goes on to demonstrate how—in a worst-case scenario—you may go about firing an employee in a fair, logical, and defensible manner. Author Stewart Liff reveals valuable tips on how to document your actions, write charges, put together an evidence file, decide whether and when to settle a case, and if not, how to prevail before a third party.

Filled with commonsense tips and well-informed, hard-won guidance, this essential guide demystifies all the twists and turns you may come across in your journey to build a first-class government workforce—and prevents you from having to deal with more than your share of poor employees down the road.

STEWART LIFF began his career with the federal government in 1974. He is a winner of the President’s Council on Management Improvement Award and the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service. His books include Managing Government Employees and Managing Your Government Career. He lives in Saugus, California.

Learn more about him at

–This text refers to the hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

Government bureaucracy can often make hiring great employees a cumbersome, slow-moving process. But with the right advice from a seasoned mentor who’s been there, seen it all, and managed to assemble high-performing, productive groups of people, you’ll be able to surround yourself with great work teams on a consistent basis throughout your career.

By the same token, during the course of your career as a government manager, chances are you will find that some of your employees are simply not working out. They may be hold-overs from the past who have never been good employees and have never been dealt with; they may be good employees whose performance has suffered due to personal problems or other reasons; or they may be recent hires who turned out to be poor selections despite your best efforts. Like it or not, it’s your responsibility to document and deal with those who don’t make the cut, as well as bring on board the best talent available in the first place.

Based on author Stewart Liff’s extensive experience as a government human resources management expert, as well as his many years as a government line manager and senior executive, The Complete Guide to Hiring and Firing Government Employees shows you how to cut through the red tape and:

• take an anticipatory approach to recruiting

• decide who to target and where and how to advertise for open positions

• screen and interview candidates

• counsel a poor-performing employee

• use progressive discipline

• document a case

• write a charge

• develop internal political support

• prepare for and win a third party hearing

• and continuously maintain an entire department of exceptional performers.

Filled with smart, no-nonsense strategies you can adapt in any hiring and firing situation, this book is a powerful resource that will enable you to maintain an efficient, productive work team at all times.

Praise for Managing Government Employees by Stewart Liff

“[Liff’s] 32-year career, which includes service at both the management and executive levels in the Department of Defense, General Service Administration, Federal Energy Administration, and Veterans Health Administration, make Managing Government Employees an extraordinarily credible endeavor. …a ‘must-read’ for those contemplating entering management…. his comments and insights are useful to all managers, particularly first-line managers, everywhere.” — Graziadio Business Report

“Stewart Liff provides many great tactics, case studies and stories that debunk common perceptions that government managers have of the government’s personnel system…. This book should be required reading for all supervisors in government.” —

–This text refers to the hardcover edition.

About the Author

Stewart Liff began his career with the federal government in 1974. He is a winner of the President’s Council on Management Improvement Award and the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service. His books include Managing Government Employees (9780814408872) and Managing Your Government Career (9780814410998). –This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B00386MRDQ
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ AMACOM; 1st edition (23 December 2009)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English


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