USAJobs.gov is the federal government’s official job board where all federal government employment opportunities are posted. For the past four or so years, this site has been the go-to for jobseekers looking to become feds. However, the user experience has been pretty lacking. Many jobseekers become frustrated with the user interface and then even more frustrated with all the requirements and hoops one is required to jump through in order to get a government job.
Then on January 25, 2010, all that changed…we hope. USAJobs got a major facelift intended on making finding and applying to government jobs more simple and enjoyable. The most striking change on the site is the homepage. Below are a before and after of the site. You can see that the old homepage (top image) was very cluttered and full of links and images. For folks used to using job boards, this looks pretty standard…especially when you see the after screen shot (bottom image).
The new homepage looks a lot more like Google.com than Monster.com. Users still have the option to search careers by agency, pay grade, or location, but the new, cleaner homepage directs jobseekers to the place where most start their search anyway…the basic keyword search. The average job seekers starts his job search on USAjobs (or any job board for that matter) simply by entering in a keyword and a city. So why keep confuse job seekers at this point if this simple search is what they want to do first anyway.
Web 2.0 Additions
Other than the cosmetic changes to the site, USAJobs now incorporates several powerful social media tools that bring government recruiting into the 21st century. The first big social media tool is the new “Share Job” option found a the job details page of every posting. This tool lets job seekers share a job they are interested in on various social media platforms like Twitter, WordPress, Facebook and AIM. But USAJobs has taken this idea of sharing and really expanded it. Users can share a job via more than 220 social sites.
The next big step is the addition of an RSS feed. This is possibly the most important Web 2.0 addition to the new USAJobs site. Until now, federal agencies had no way to aggregate job opportunities to external recruiting sites (job boards like CareerBuilder, Dice, etc.). Because of this if a federal recruiter wanted to expand the candidate base for an open requisition, he or she was required to manually cut and paste the job description to the desired advertising vehicle. Because of that, most federal job openings were only seen by the 2 million monthly visitiors that use USAJobs…no where else. Having RSS capabilities is going to seriously help expand the talent pool open to the government. This is again important due to the aging federal workforce. In order for the government to backfill jobs left open by retirement, it will have to attract a new generation of job seekers. This RSS will allow agencies to automatically feed their jobs to job aggregation boards, LinkedIn, Facebook and others just to name a few.
Another powerful feature of the RSS feed on USAJobs is how much a user is able to filter it. Users can get a feed of all jobs in say Des Moines, Iowa or only contracts management jobs or say jobs within a certain pay scale across three agencies he is interested in working for.
So, that’s the new USAJobs site. Keep in mind there is still a lot of work that needs to be done on the recruitment process within the federal government. At least now job seekers have a better tool to use when looking for careers in the government. When the job search process becomes easier, employers will see a better calibre of candidates.
Source : http://socialmediarecruitment.com
We had a slightly different take:
OPINION: USAJobs Revamp Misses the Point
Andrew – I actually agree with you on the points you make in your post linked above in your comment. We were excited to see the USAJobs finally put in a share option and give agencies the option to RSS their jobs.
Michael, Thank you for your positive comments about the new site. The team worked really hard to make the site better. It’s been good to see the reaction. We do have a number of other enhancements that we will be rolling out through the remainder of the year which we hope will be as well received.
Andrew, I agree that there is more work to be done to make the application process better. There is work going on toward that end as well. But, as I am sure you would agree, that is no small task. So, stay tuned.
There also have been a number of enhancements added to help improve the application experience. Over a year ago, we added the ability to upload supplemental documents and just attach them to the application, most agencies have adopted this feature. We recently added the ability to upload a word doc resume to use in applications as opposed to only using the built resume, and we are starting to see them be accepted. Also, the OMB mandate for application status reporting (which took effect on 12/15). This should help to address a common complaint we see at USAJOBS “I applied to this job, and I haven’t heard anything about my application”.
Nice summary, Michael. I’ll post a link to this blog post over in a corresponding forum discussion:
“What Do You Think of the New USAJOBS?”
Lots of interesting feedback for OPM…including your terrific analysis above.
Good take on RSS. I actually had missed that point but it is extremely important – I’d love to see the job data on data.gov and RSS is a key first step.
Just did a search on USAJOBS.gov site for an announcement number which is 11-BPD-116AS and the announcement could not be found. Went over and tried the exact same search on the iPhone app and it found the job announcement. Weird…
Another possible big step for Social Networking is “Executable English”.
It’s Social Media that Computes over Data and Explains the Results.
You can Google “Executable English” to find this, or go directly to http://www.reengineeringllc.com .
Shared use is free, and there are no advertisements.
Imagine government and other web sites answering an open ended collection of English questions over SQL databaases, and also explaining the answers in English. Imagine government folks and citizens socially networking, Wikipedia-style, to continually expand the range of questions that can be answered.
That is because you have the iPhone app set to display jobs that are for both the general public and those with government status (check your settings page). The website defaults to only jobs open to the general public. If you click on the “ALL jobs” button on the website, this job will be displayed.
We try to point people in that direction with the message that comes up when a search results in zero jobs returned. Here is the message the USAJOBS website will display:
“Looking for a “Status” job? Try clicking the “All Jobs” button to the right”
Thanks! I’ll go back and try that.
My biggest heartburn with USAJobs is the way some agencies are using misguided search engine optimistation strategies to game the system. Enter a search for 0560 budget alanlyst positions at the 14-15 level and you will pull up page after page of Navy Field office listings for positions with a range of GS-5 to 15. Are they seriously using the same position description for both ends of this range? I understand they may want to bring people in at a 5 and grow them during their careers but is it even worth my time as a 12 to apply for one of these? Agencies need to provide more focused information so applicants do not need to read through dozens of positions that really do not fit. Using search engine optimization techniques may increase the number of people who view an open position but is it really worth it if they are not a good match?
As a former HR recruiter I recommend NOT doing what Peter is discussing. Does the taxpayer really want me to access all 100 applications for each grade in the annoucnement? What a waste of my time! Let the applicants decide what level of pay they are worth. It’s more effectie and efficient.
Additionally the No KSA needed with application just makes what used to be a one step process, now a two step one, or more work for the recruiting office. Because of travel I’ve missed two contacts from recruting offices and had to request an extention for them to review my KSAs. Again, let the applicant demonstrate their qualificaiton because we work for the American taxpayer, not the applicants. No business would operate like that.
Oh-I misspoke. Peter is right. We should not used career ladder type applications. Positions yes. Applicaitons no.
In regard to the article Andrew mentioned, the governement, and especially HR, has a responsilbity to produce results for the taxpayer, and not the employee or applicant. it is our responsibility to provide for example the most highly qualified OR nurse to the VA. Making job applications so generic that one applicaitons would fit any agency or position is counter to that responsibility. Writing them more specifically would make potential applicants realize that they are not qualified for a particular position, and they would not apply, saving HR productionless work for HR and the hiring manager. In my case some jobs want leadership managers, others want competency gap fillers. I am only qualified/interested in some.
As for writing KSAs most people only do so once and then store them in Microsoft Word. There are only 10 or so questions that are asked anyway: oral and written communiaitons, technical competnecy, leadership skills, etc. I alter and cut and paste them as appropriate to the announcmen.