, , ,

Possible Government Shutdown will Slow Down Federal Hiring

I remember the furloughs of 1995 and 1996. I just wrote and published the Federal Resume Guidebook — and the federal resume was controversial – then the furloughs! It was bad then for other reasons than today’s furlough situation. The government was switching from the SF-171 application to the federal resume at that time, and the entire federal job application process was in turmoil and confusion. The furloughs caused months of backlogs of applications, interviews and hiring. The human resources specialists were overworked, supervisors did not hire the individuals they needed in a timely way, and the entire year of 1996 was in total disarray between the new application format – the federal resume, the furloughs and everything was paper-based. That was in 1996. Federal Hiring was way worse than today!

Today the federal hiring process is automated, more efficient and faster. That’s the good news. But now with the ongoing Continuing Resolution and since 800,000 federal employees are probably receiving their furlough notice instructions today, this will include human resources specialists and hiring managers. A government shutdown will affect federal hiring and federal job search for thousands of jobseekers, even with our efficient staffing automation. Here’s what’s already happening with today’s hiring due to a potential furlough and the Continuing Resolution that continues today.

CURRENT APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED FOR USAJOB ANNOUNCEMENTS ARE NOW AND WILL BE FURTHER STALLED: For thousands of active federal jobseekers who currently have applications submitted on USAJOBS, their applications will be further stalled for weeks and months if the human resources specialists are furloughed.

BIG PROBLEMS FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AFFECTED BY BRAC: Thousands of federal employees are seeking new positions due to their agency BRAC programs. The furlough will cause major job search and relocation problems for federal employees and managers who are continuing to manage changing organizational missions, relocate, and maintain a daily working morale through difficult organization and program mergers and relocations. The employees affected by BRAC may be furloughed, and this will affect their agency relocation plans, as well as job search efforts.

CURRENT POSITIONS THAT ARE POSTED ON USAJOBS WILL BE CANCELLED: Many current vacancy announcements will be cancelled, due to the time of the deadline of the position closing, the lack of time to review the applications and manage the hiring process. If the HR Specialists are furloughed, they cannot handle the new applications efficiently or at all. The positions will eventually be re-posted, but it will be a couple of months from now, in order to catch up with hiring activities that are in progress at the time of the furlough. Many jobseekers who have applications in process will check their application status and find that the position is cancelled. This is happening now.

CURRENT FEDERAL JOBSEEKERS ARE WAITING FOR WHAT’S NEXT: Thousands of current federal jobseekers are waiting for responses to their active applications. The HR specialists have already notified jobseekers that they are Best Qualified or Referred to a Supervisor, but that’s it. Activities have stalled due to lack of budget. The positions may be cancelled. This is very discouraging for jobseekers who are waiting for responses and who need a job to pay for their mortgages and their bills.

FEWER JOBS POSTED ON USAJOBS: Currently the number of active positions posted on www.usajobs.gov is very light. Many agencies have frozen all job postings or hiring, due to the lack of budget and uncertainty of the budget for next year for hiring new employees. Today there are 1117 jobs available in Washington, DC open to All US Citizens. There are 2238 positions open to Status jobseekers. The “Status” applicants are current federal employees, veterans and persons who can take advantage of special hiring programs (some spouses, individuals with disabilities). These positions could get cancelled if there is a furlough.

SLOW RECOVERY OF FEDERAL HIRING: When the FY12 Budget is finally passed the vacancy announcements will be posted, and the hiring will go back to normal. But the process will be slower, due to the time needed to catch up on the thousands of jobs that the government typically hires. With Federal Hiring Reform of 2011, the HR specialists were really speeding up with the hiring process. But now if furlough happens, they will be backed up with applications, announcements and processes.

LESS INDIVIDUALS HIRED IN 2011: The government hired approximately 309,000 new positions in 2009, the latest full-year statistic according to Office of Personnel Management. So, for 2011, if the government was on track to hire about 300,000, they may have trouble doing this with the available funds until the end of the Fiscal Year, Sept. 2011.

LOSS OF JOB SEARCH MORALE: With the job market being uncertain already, unemployment at just under 9%, Americans need permanent, temporary or term government jobs to return to normalcy in America. The federal hiring process is already complex, long, especially with possible security clearances. This slow budget process, threat of furlough is dramatically affecting the morale of jobseekers who aren’t seeing timely responses to their applications.

A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN AND FURLOUGH WILL HAVE A NEGATIVE EFFECTIVE ON THE JOB RECOVERY IN AMERICA. A government shutdown and furloughs of government workers, which includes hiring managers and human resources specialists, will hurt the job market and the unemployment rates of America. This will NOT be a positive step toward recovery and jobs for Americans. The government needs to stay in business and get back to business with a working budget today!

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Carol Davison

Kathryn, thank you for your thoughts. Actually because of the recession HR was already swamped with 300 applicaitons for every job-many of whom are absolutely unqualfied, and HR now screens resumes before requesting ksas which requires more work from the staffers without producing results. The recession was not the time to make applicaiton a two step process.

Kathryn Troutman

Yes, I have heard that the job of the HR specialist, reading all of those resumes, is very difficult. AND that mostly they are not qualified. That’s really bad. I am wondering how many agencies will be using the two-step process of Resume + Questionnaire, then … if Best Qualified … the request for written KSAs. What do you think?