The Office of Personnel Management wants agencies to get a more comprehensive picture of the federal hiring process and areas that can serve as roadblocks or levers for success in reducing agency hiring times.

“After collaborating with agencies and getting feedback from stakeholders, OPM is updating the time-to-hire guidance. The new guidance will give agencies a clearer picture on hiring practices so they can better accomplish their mission and provide service to the American people,” said OPM Director Dale Cabaniss in a statement.

The agency released new guidance Feb. 24 for agencies to report their time to hire, which includes both an expansion of the hiring methods that are measured and more specific attention to the time between when a job offer is extended and the person starts work.

The changes are designed to account for new hiring authorities and initiatives that agencies have been using recently to reduce hiring times and ensure access to the most qualified candidates.

“We at OPM realized just how many innovative strategies agencies were using to efficiently staff up top talent,” John York, senior advisor for policy at OPM, told Federal Times.

“Now when we measure the time it takes to hire, we are measuring every vacancy filled, not just the vacancies that were posted on USAJobs.”

The new reporting requirements will also give agencies a better idea of how long it takes for employees to actually start work at the agency.

“We’ll begin to report both when an employee is extended a job offer and when they start work, and we used to report only the latter,” said York.

OPM has set an ideal 80-day benchmark for agencies to aim for, starting from when they determine they need a new employee and ending when the employee starts work at an agency.

Agencies have struggled on average to meet those times, with times peaking in 2016 and 2017 at 105.8 days before lowering to 98.3 days on average in 2018.

“There are many flexibilities that we provide agencies that, if they take advantage of them, they’ll be in a much better position to get down to 80 days,” said York.

Agencies will be expected to report their time to hire data for fiscal 2019 in March of this year.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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