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White House orders reforms to speed hiring

May. 11, 2010 - 06:00AM   |  
By TOM SPOTH   |   Comments
The White House-initiated reforms include more of an emphasis placed on resumes early in the hiring process, shorter job announcements, more recruiting trips to colleges and universities, and more contact with applicants during the hiring process.
The White House-initiated reforms include more of an emphasis placed on resumes early in the hiring process, shorter job announcements, more recruiting trips to colleges and universities, and more contact with applicants during the hiring process. (Agence France-Presse)

The White House on Tuesday directed agencies take new steps to streamline the government's hiring process.

The steps outlined in a presidential memo to all agencies and accompanying guidance by the Office of Personnel Management include:

Relying on resumes and not knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) essays to assess candidates in the initial stages of the hiring process.

Using shorter job announcements written in plain English.

Allowing hiring managers to choose from a larger group of qualified candidates, instead of the current three.

Notifying applicants of their status at four points in the hiring process.

Making more recruiting trips to colleges and universities.

Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry said at Tuesday's announcement that the steps should help reduce the average hiring time from the 140 days to 80 days. The reforms should also result in higher-quality hires because agencies theoretically would lose few attractive candidates who decide to take jobs elsewhere where the hiring system is faster, Berry said.

"This is the biggest step forward for fixing federal hiring in over three decades," Berry said at an event announcing the reforms. "For far too long our human resources systems have been a hindrance. We have great workers in spite of the hiring process, not because of it."

OPM asked agencies to submit hiring and recruitment plans to OPM by Aug. 1, and to meet Obama's requirements by Nov. 1.

Many federal officials attending the announcement event applauded the move.

"We have shackled ourselves with constraints that keep us from hiring the best and the brightest," said John Porcari, deputy secretary of Transportation. "You … have given us the hunting license to compete."

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said his department has been serving as a "guinea pig" for the reforms during the past year and has reduced its hiring time from 139 days to 77 days while improving the quality of job applicants.

Berry said OPM will start working with agencies' human resources workers immediately to assist with implementation.

OPM also intends to design a governmentwide plan for recruiting and hiring, review the Federal Career Intern Program, and work on ways for agencies to share information on job applicants and hiring practices. Berry said OPM and agencies will also look into using private-sector hiring tools, geared toward a resume-based system, that the government previously has not been equipped to use.

Related reading

http://blogs.federaltimes.com/federal-times-blog/2010/05/11/who-knew-hiring-reform-could-be-so-exciting/" target="_blank">FedLine blog

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