Spending a lot of time in the car today on a last minute road trip, I started thinking about the federal hiring process and the problems we seem to have with getting the right people hired for the right jobs in a reasonable amount of time. Additionally, we have a challenge of making it easier for people to apply and be considered for federal jobs.
This year, Sens.George Voinovich, R-Ohio, and Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii introduced the 2009 Federal Hiring Process Improvement Act, which “would eliminate the knowledge, skills and abilities essays on federal job applications and emphasize résumés and cover letters. It also requires agencies to eliminate jargon from job postings, develop workforce plans and measure the success of hiring reforms. In addition, it asks the Office of Personnel Management to create a database of applicants who want to be considered for positions at multiple agencies.” (GovExec article March 31, 2009) Let’s hope this gets us moving in the right direction quickly.
Inspired by Gov2.0 and my own frustrations with hiring, I came up with some ideas that would simplify the process for both federal managers as well as for people who want to work for the government. Note – these are truly simple ideas that don’t get into addressing the complexities and rules associated with federal hiring but even in that context, we should be able to make this work. Simple is better, so much better.
Please add to these ideas and lets see if we can pass them on to the task force working on this problem.
1. Jobs (vacancies) should be tagged with key words to clearly identify key attributes: Examples:
a. field of the job (IT, Program Management, Acquisition, etc)
b. skills or specialized experience desired/required
c. years of experience
2. Individuals searching for jobs could search on these keywords/tags and attach their resume directly to positions they are interested in.
3. Individuals would also post their resume with tags.
4. Individuals could post their resume and the system could automatically match through the tags associated with the resume and the job vacancies .
5. Federal hiring managers would have access to the system and could search resumes using the tag keywords they were interested in and also view the resumes that were posted to their specific vacancies (either by the individuals interested in the position or by the system).
6. Eliminate KSAs, multiple choice questions, etc. from the application process. Resumes are enough. If the hiring manager has access to the resumes posted in the system, we could quickly and easily determine candidates for interviews (like the private sector).
6. The system should have a “share” function so agencies can easily share their job openings on Facebook or Twitter.
7. By using tags, a word cloud function could provide an easy way to see the most popular jobs by occupation, location, etc.
8. OPM could also create a community platform (similar to GovLoop) for federal employees to allow us to create profiles and form communities based on occupation, location, agency, personal interests etc. This would give employees across agencies and across the world a way to establish relationships, share information, ask questions of each other to help solve work-related problems, perhaps form mentoring arrangements, etc.