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Intel community reveals hidden talents

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Rachelle Morris
  • Seventh Air Force Public Affairs

“How do you feel about your current job and the possibility of doing a new one?”

This is one of the first questions on the 694th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group’s electronic talent survey administered to every single member of their team.

Available answers are as follows:

- *Shrugs* I’m new here.

- Feelings? Meh. Move me to where the unit needs me.

- I love my job. Don’t you dare move me!

- I like my job, but I need a challenge!

- My current job is fine. I can stay where I am for now.

- I like my job, but I wouldn’t mind doing something else.

- I hate my job, and I want to move now!

The group, and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, recognizes every Airman has an Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC,) but have made it their duty to uncover any other untapped potentials and squash unethical hiring biases. With an in-house talent management program tracking a myriad of available career broadening positions, while also armed with plethora of survey data, the unit is doing just that.

Both the group and squadron-levels have full-time talent managers who manage the program. These managers collect unit members’ survey data and creat profiles, making them readily available to team members and hiring authorities.

“The survey assesses their hard and soft skills and shows their strengths and weaknesses in certain areas,” said Master Sgt. James Hinton, 694th ISRG talent manager advisor. “It gives more insight into a person, instead of just looking at things like a SURF [Single Unit Retrieval Format.]”

The management team also oversees available job listings within their units and ensures they are communicated down and viewable by everyone.

“It gives everyone an opportunity to see all the jobs and there is no question of someone getting one because of a buddy system,” said Tech. Sgt. Debra Yung, 6th Intelligence Squadron command support staff, who was hired for her position through the system. “You can look at each job description and figure out if you are a fit.”

The Air Force’s Airmen Leadership Qualities (ALQs) associated with the job are included with the listings. The ALQ’s include Job Proficiency, Initiative, Adaptability, Inclusion and Teamwork, Emotional Intelligence, Communication, Stewardship, Accountability, Decision Making and Innovation.

Each ALQ is matched with a series of questions given to applicants to prepare for an in-person panel. The panels are chaired by three to four leadership members related to the available position who are selected by the talent managers.

“We have a list of questions based on the ten ALQ’s and we weigh them,” said Tech. Sgt. Justin Simpson, 303rd Intelligence Squadron talent manager. “The applicant receives the questions beforehand and are asked them during the panel. Each panel member grades them, and the authority member makes the final decision based on the grades.”

While only one Airman may get the job, all are given continuous feedback.

“The member can ask questions at any time during the process, like if they are still being considered or if any other people have applied,” Hinton said. “After they do their panel interview, there is a designated time frame to ensure they get feedback on how well they did, where they are lacking and how they get there in the future. They may not get hired, but will be told they will be considered for a different job.”

For Simpson’s talent management program at the 303rd IS, they have stretched continuous feedback beyond the hiring process.

“We have a continuous 365 feedback for all SNCOs and officers as well,” Simpson said. “At any time, anyone in the squadron can fill out a form anonymously online and write how that person is doing.”

News of the 694th ISRG’s success with their talent management program is spreading.

“Our program has even extended to other units,” said Hinton. “We have hired for a Seventh Air Force security position and we are currently helping them find an executive assistant.”

For the 694th ISRG’s DE&I Council, the program has grown past their initial intent.

“It was about getting the right person for the right position and making sure it was a good fit,” said Yung.

Now it is had become so much.

“We are baking DE&I into our normal processes,” said Simpson.