October 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm #143181
The much-anticipated rebuild of USAJOBS is happening today. Word on the street is that the new site will be live at 12 Noon ET. Once the new version is up and available, we’ll likely post a screen shot below and offer a quick critique. In the meantime, I wanted to have a place here in the GovLoop forums to talk about it…so:
What do you think of the new USAJOBS 3.0?
UPDATE: Did you see the tutorials that help you with aspects of the site?
Thoughts on the presentation of it via screenshots in PDF? Cool to have video?
– USAJOBS Agency Collaboration Group: A space for two-way collaboration between USAJOBS and its Agency customers. Please note: This group is not intended for job seekers/applicants.
– USAJOBS Integration Services Group: This group was created as a collaboration Area for USAJOBS Integration Services Providers.
– Jobs.GovLoop.com: We extract the top 10 gems from USAJOBS each week.
– Rock Your Resume: Find a job and want to apply? Get your resume reviewed by an expert.
October 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm #143394
Some initial observations:
-Core look & feel is mostly the same although text and boxes feels smaller on home page. I’d make the search boxes bigger if possible
-On job opening pages – I like the tabs at top that jump down for various overview, duties, etc.
-On job openings page – I like that as you scroll down on the right the “dock” stay sup there with key info on saving job and applying
-Like the filtering of jobs – not sure if that was on right hand column before but I like it on left
-I’m interesting in geographic data – I heard there was going to be more geographic data about where jobs are but don’t see it yet- I think that’d be awesome and would love to see it (this job is actually in suburb of Tampa or in McPherson square DC versus L’enfant)
-I like specific pages like student jobs – has a lot more information and basic stuff that needed (you are probably a gs-7 if a recent undergrad) – http://www.usajobs.gov/StudentJobs
-Lot of complaints around USAJOBS is around back-end processes so it’s good that lots of changes there.
-Intrigued by “More like this” button – I really like this concept
Some other ideas:
-Would be awesome to have live chat or help. Worst part of USAJOBS I think for most people is that it’s a black hole so any kind of human touch would be great. I see it already on USAJOBS FB page and people love interacting w/ a human
-Looking forward to seeing more updated to USAJOBS data feed – I think a lot of innovation can be fueled with a data.gov approach and allow folks to mash up the feed with other info and get more people interested in fed jobs. Perhaps an Apps for USAJOBS contest. Or ask people what they want to make site better (use ideascale or uservoice like recent dialogue on improving govt websites )
October 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm #143392
Looks better. It made me create a new password when I logged in – not sure why I had to do that. I also have to redo my searches and make my resume searchable again – that’s kind of an ugh moment.
On the plus side, it definitely seems faster and the job search function works better – there are more options and it’s a better, reader-friendly layout with more white space.
October 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm #143390
New more powerful search engine required us to have folks redo their saved searches as they were geared tecnically to the old search engine – passwords had to be reset because we could not port over the encryption sceme used by the last site.
October 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm #143388
That’s what I noticed…the speed. Definitely a faster user experience.
October 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm #143386
I think what’s important right now is some kind of messaging on the landing page that explains and celebrates the new build. It’s not completely clear that anything has changed…so I’d love to see something from OPM that links to a page with more information on new features.
Even if it’s not obvious to the end user, I think it’s worth “bragging” about the energy OPM has spent as an organization to making this a better experience for Federal job seekers…and government’s biggest problem overall is marketing…so here’s an opportunity to tell taxpayers how they’re money has been spent quite thoughtfully…especially in a time when so many Americans are out of work.
October 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm #143384
October 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm #143382
Haha it’s like the dumb objective part at the top of a resume. I always wanted to write in on that part “objective: to waste your time”
October 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm #143380
I miss the names of all the agencies. Maybe I missed it somewhere? I looked on the Resource page but I still could not find it. Sometimes I have a brain freeze and I loved the feature where I could scroll and I thought “a-ha,” that’s the name of the agency. I liked the idea of activating my profile but there should be a way to block out some agencies from viewing my profile. Similar to other ATS’s So, I’m not sure I will want to activate it. I also thought it was interesting about the standard occupation classification codes. I thought I was in X and I found out I was in Z. I probably missed some great opportunities…..There are lots of hidden jobs out there. I like the larger font….very nice.
October 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm #143378
I was wondering that, as well. Thanks for clearing that up, John!
October 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm #143376
I received a few error messages when trying to perform searches. I’d expect as much from a site on its launch day, though. Overall, I like the new design, and the advanced search is much better than before. Also, the search results are arranged much more nicely. Overall, I think OPM did a great job.
October 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm #143374
Now that it’s too late for you, Paul, account holders can simply use the password they’ve been using. It doesn’t actually have to be different than what you were using prior to the deployment of 3.0. I have too many passwords to remember without adding another to it!
October 11, 2011 at 6:17 pm #143372
I’m glad to see the site is accessible and compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. I used both the CSE HTML Validator and WebAIM’s Wave tool to check validation. I was also able to tab through the Web pages with ease, meaning a user who doesn’t use a mouse can still progress through the site.
Headings and sections are clear and allow ease of scanning the pages. Links are easily distinguished by both color and underlines. Fonts and colors look good, with the exception of quoted content, which is too light. This is magnified by the fact that the presidential quote is located on the “Individuals with Disabilities” page. The quoted text needs to be a little darker to have sufficient contrast for readability.
Obviously, much thought was put into the legibility and accessibility of the site. The search utility is clear and easy to understand. Great first impression!
October 11, 2011 at 7:24 pm #143370
Waiting until agencies have had the opportunity to reload all of their vacancies. Hoping that will populate all of the search parameters like geography and job series.
October 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm #143368
I can’t enter my education. This is an issue.
October 11, 2011 at 7:41 pm #143366
look REALLY closely at your resume profile..mine looks like a bomb went off. rebuilding 90% of it right now..
October 11, 2011 at 7:43 pm #143364
No, it looks like they removed the “browse jobs” feature on the old site. That’s how i did all my searches, now you have to use the “advance search” to do it. FAIL..
October 11, 2011 at 7:44 pm #143362
It won’t let me update parts of my resume, saying required data isn’t entered when it is..
October 11, 2011 at 7:48 pm #143360
I sent a help request via email.
They sent me cut and pasted directions.
This is going well.
October 11, 2011 at 7:54 pm #143358
I had the same issue, it’s locking up some fields.
October 11, 2011 at 7:57 pm #143356
Love the chat idea, there are always questions and this would be a huge step towards positive engagement with job seekers!
Dig the idea of a data feed and/or API for this so agencies could build apps, etc for recruitment, etc.
October 11, 2011 at 8:07 pm #143354
Except my old password didn’t have all the requirements that the new one needed. It had to have an uppercase letter, a lowercase letter, a symbol, a number, etc. So yep I had to create a new one – one that I had to make up, because I hate having symbols in my passwords! Ugh. And then there were the security questions. Don’t even get me started on security questions. What’s your favorite movie? Who has one favorite movie?
October 11, 2011 at 8:11 pm #143352
Hmmm I would not want them to build a data feed and/or API as there are already some really good ones out there…….Hiring and Careers Tab by Smart Recruiters. What I would like to see is integration of the Linkedin button….e.g. apply here I would like to use that button and than my full resume with all the information.
October 11, 2011 at 8:13 pm #143350
Good to know on “smart recruiters” but still think there should be an “in-sourced” government version and releasing the feed/api capabilities would enable the ability to make the “linkedin” type button.
October 11, 2011 at 8:16 pm #143348
I just checked again and my education history was populated..maybe they aren’t actually done migrating…
October 11, 2011 at 8:30 pm #143346
Site is throwing all kinds of errors now: I’m trying to set up searches (which is a new pain to add to my list..not as simple as it was before..lacks basic functionality the old site had.) getting different results between the advance search and basic search when searching the same terms, etc. (interesting)
October 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm #143344
For those of you using the site successfully, are you using IE? I have tried Chrome, Opera and Firefox and am shooting craps.
October 11, 2011 at 11:46 pm #143342
I had a fairly quick look at the new USAJobs.gov and mostly like it. It now seems to operate like a “real” job board. For example, I had a look at a posting and it appears the web page address (URL) for that posting is one that an agency can email to a client or otherwise advertise. The old site required the candidate to go to USAJobs.gov and then search for the job even when the employer was advertising a specific job. That process was, in short, bizarre.
Like all new sites I am sure that there are functions about this one which are temporary bridges to the final version. I hope, for example, that candidates who enter an agency name into the What field on the home page will be taken to the jobs posted by that agency. I entered “Internal Revenue Service” to see what one of our clients has running and was pretty surprised to be told by the site that there is no such agency. I then went to the advanced search page, selected Department of Treasury, and then selected Internal Revenue Service as the department. That may make sense to someone who understands the federal agency hierarchy but isn’t a huge part of the goal of the new USAJobs.gov site to make it easy for candidates who aren’t federal government insiders?
As a taxpayer, I’m excited about the new site as it should help the federal government recruit better candidates faster. But as the owner of college job board CollegeRecruiter.com, I know from first hand experience that the technology behind job boards is surprisingly complex and the interests between employer and candidate difficult to balance. OPM has its work cut out for it but I do believe they are up to the challenge.
October 12, 2011 at 10:31 am #143340
I look forward to seeing the “rebuilt” model.
October 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm #143338
So, in an attempt to provide feedback on issues I experienced yesterday, I provided them to OPM:
-Profile resumes did not survive the transfer. (Multiple fields have incorrect or corrupt data.)
-Searches did not survive transfer. (The initial notification of the change said users would lose nothing, well we lost our past searches. Sure, the search tool is more robust now and should be rebuilt, but there was NO WAY to transfer what we had?)
-Basic search function throwing application failure notice.
-Advance search produces different results off from same attributes. (I was getting different results every time I ran the same search.)
-Basic and advance search functions (when working) threw different results on same result attributes. (If you search the same term in keywords in advance as basic, I was getting different results.)
-Resume form not accepting data under “education tab”
I also noted, some basic functions from the old site are gone and asked where and/or why they were removed and received no answer. (This comes back to @Andrew‘s comment on it would be great to have a “what’s new” when you hit the home page.)
Anyway, I got this response this morning:
“Thank you for contacting USAJOBS.
USAJOBS 3.0 is here and you’re not the only one excited about it! The official launch was scheduled for noon today, but before 10:30 am EDT, we had already received 2.9M hits to the site. Due to this extraordinarily high volume, you may have experienced unexpected errors. These issues have now been resolved.
We apologize for the inconvenience. Please revisit our site at your earliest convenience and retry the actions you were attempting. If you continue to have issues, please respond to this email and the USAJOBS customer support team will assist you as soon as possible.
USAJOBS Customer Support”
Sadly, not a single one of my reported issues has been resolved or even acknowledged by the USAJOBS team. Hopefully OPM will provide more attention to user issues and input then form letters claiming they resolved everything before actually doing so. Government trips on its self like this all the time, I was really going for a different experience this time around just to slam against the same old wall. Hopefully this position changes quickly..OPM engaged people for assistance and input, now they are ignoring it (apparently)..sadly, I’m getting a “Qwikster” vibe from this experience already.
October 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm #143336
I do like all the focused search capability of the site, but as an end-user and tax payer, the fact that it appears it was not ready for prime time production when released is a bit upsetting. Having to “learn” the new search capabilities with no guidance or any documentation as to what is new and why I should care is a massive let down.
October 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm #143334
The full list of agencies is now being featured as a USAJOBS Spotlight. You can use this link to access it directly.
October 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm #143332
That’s cool, but the “browse jobs” feature on the old site allowed you to drill down to the sub-agencies like the new advance search does, but in a single, user friendly location. It’s still a bummer, but I’m getting over it as I find the other tools. 😉
October 12, 2011 at 4:35 pm #143330
Thomas Elliott PopeParticipant
I have tried several searches for my local and they no longer are pulling any locations close to me? Everything is coming up Washington DC area? Any input on this?
October 12, 2011 at 4:43 pm #143328
Have you seen the tutorials designed to help you with navigation?
October 12, 2011 at 4:48 pm #143326
Very helpful, just wish it was more upfront, like you mentioned previously.
They handed us back a website that looks 99% the same, but has so much more under the hood. Without calling attention to a lot of this they are going to have more frustrated users than not. Change is good, though poorly managed change can be a disaster. (i.e., Qwikster.)
October 12, 2011 at 6:26 pm #143324
Response from USAJOBS team on FB page – sounds like things are super popular and working out rest of bugs
Whew…it’s been a wild ride! Sorry it’s taken me a day to saddle back up, but here I am. Here’s what’s going on. We’ve been pretty busy since our launch; yesterday we had 40 million hits by 2.3 million visitors! Agencies are continuing to post jobs, so your search results should be more populated as time goes on. For more information on our new features, and how to make best use of our expanded search options, please check out the updated Tutorials (http://go.usa.gov/98O). Keep providing us your feedback via the Contact Us page (http://go.usa.gov/98C), and we’ll respond as soon as we can. I’m also going through and responding to your posts to this page, so you should get a reply soon. Thanks to everyone for checking out our new digs!
October 12, 2011 at 6:42 pm #143322
I’m trying really hard to like what they are doing and hope that things do smooth out, but (of course there was going to be a “but” in this sentence) I wish they would spend their time actually addressing items submitted through their “contact us” instead of posting to FB and Twitter about how awesome they are. (they are awesome, but social success comes through your end users saying this, not yourself.) Their official answer to my list of issues, I posted above, and they didn’t even address a single direct question I asked them through their official channel. I get they have a lot going on and are getting a lot of help requests (there is plenty still not configured right, working properly etc with the site.), however it seems they have fallen prey to the number one problem in government: not sticking with their official channels to keep people informed. (Social media has created a bit of a scattered approach to obtaining information, which communications plans and discipline will eventually fix, but until that time a lot of organizations suffer from information overload and no “official” voice.)
What I mean, is they tell people to submit using official channels, etc. But, then they turn around and spend hours updating their Facebook and twitter more so than actually engaging the end users that have followed their procedures/instructions and are seeking assistance. (As I mentioned in another posting this week, Facebook/twitter/LinkedIn/etc should DRIVE traffic to your primary site. If you don’t do this you get what is happening right now: People congregate on the pointer website instead of using the thing you built to handle your traffic, questions, etc.) Sure, tech savvy people are going to check OPM’s Facebook for additional insight…but a majority of their end users are going to the primary website and are currently going without answer to their many questions, etc.
It’s good news that site traffic is way up and the search functionality is outstanding (when it works), but the point to my otherwise “pointed” responses is the fact, that just as much as we should be pushing for this type of innovation in government, that is not a reason to ignore the issues that come up during implementation. (which everyone is going to suffer from in some form.) However, if we don’t discuss in open, frank discussion the good with the bad we cannot make ourselves better…and the point is to get better, right?
I think the follow on discussion here should be: “What did we learn?” and see if we can start a “government” best practice list for rolling out a new website, etc. What worked, what didn’t, etc. If we stop learning and engaging, we’re doomed to repeat the cycle instead of innovating forward.
October 12, 2011 at 6:45 pm #143320
Love that idea – gov’t best practice for rolling out a new website
What would you think the steps are?
Soft-launch (to work out initial kinks) internal
Soft-launch to small constituents
October 12, 2011 at 7:12 pm #143318
-Small external (tiger team) Launch
-Feedback Loop (active engagement)
It’s a good time to think about creating small groups for government tiger testing of concepts and websites. A standing group could go a long way to help field things and provide input from across gov.
October 12, 2011 at 7:38 pm #143316
Although the USAJOBS site looks basically the same, the USA Staffing application that feeds into it has taken on a completely new look.
October 12, 2011 at 8:06 pm #143314
Tia N ButlerParticipant
The USAJOBS team thanks you for your feedback via GovLoop and the Contact Us email you submitted. We are working each of the issues you identified and will respond (in detail) to your initial Contact Us email as soon as they are resolved.
A USAJOBS team member
October 12, 2011 at 8:11 pm #143312
But Mr. Govloop there are best practices for rolling out websites. Now, I don’t work for either agency at all but there is howto.gov and it’s run by GSA. There is also Web Manager’s University too. There are a whole lists of tools and templates and free classes….there is just so much. I think a lot of people thought okay I will use this holiday to spend the time and do x and when they found out they couldn’t because of the make-over there was a sense of frustration. Not only that but once it was up and running there some issues. I think we have more than enough best practices. I will however say this if someone asks you to be a CAT tester/Usability please take it seriously because it makes all of the difference in the world! It takes a village to make a great website!
October 12, 2011 at 8:36 pm #143310
Fair point. Also I think nature of any big switch to a high-traffic site – work out kinks for couple days.
Seems like a big piece is actually the load on servers. I think that’s a huge key and often a huge thing to do well – I know a lot of sites have been hurt by crushing loads of people – famous one was toysrus.com was done for awhile right after a big super bowl ad
October 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm #143308
Got a screenshot, Andy?
October 12, 2011 at 9:39 pm #143306
I appreciate the note, however am still really concerned that the team decided to send the form email to everyone who submitted tickets yesterday instead of actually looking to see if the issues were valid. Obviously, some could be due to high volume, though data migration issues, etc are less likely to be due to volume against the server. Thanks for your reply, though if you click over to my future comment you’ll note my concern that I’m getting the answer here and not from customer support. Not all your end users are going to be in a social network or community and are awaiting response to emails to their questions.
Maybe a “first day” FAQ or something would help people know what you are working to fix etc. So people know you are working on it.
October 12, 2011 at 9:46 pm #143304
Wow, really dig howto.gov, but i had NO IDEA it was there! Part of gov’s issue is getting the word out and keeping the word out on resources. Is this site supported by the Federal CIO Council or a supporting body? Having top level support and buy in from a governance structure like the CIO council would only help to instill its use every day.
However, after looking through it: A “how to” on actual website deployment seems to be lacking on best practices, etc.
My main point was that EVERY deployment should have an after action and what went well and what didn’t work out so well type of run down. This helps us all learn. If there was a place that people could provide this information interactively, then we’d be in business! (something similar to https://www.llis.dhs.gov/would be awesome!) It then becomes a living, breathing, implementation guide.
I also think that we could learn a great deal from the video game industry (stay with me people), in terms of beta testing websites. Everyone has a field they are interested in, in this case CHCO/HR etc would be chomping at the bit to play in a beta. Gaming companies drop demo’s and/or open beta’s of their games so players can comment on what they like, bugs they found, things they hated, etc. (And they comment to no end.) Smart companies take this data and polish their finished product. They even do stress testing. (Battlefield 3 did an open call to “crash their servers” this weekend to see what kind of load their multi-player servers could handle.) I bet if organizations said, “hey, we got this new site we want you to tell us what you think.” People would line up and offer their 2 cents all day long.
This is social engagement and it costs us nothing..
October 12, 2011 at 9:47 pm #143302
I’d love to see what the backend CHCO folks see. I’ve heard this is where most of the improvements are.
October 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm #143300
Besides……s l o w……s l o w………
Oh I did find one big thing. MC decided to extend the hiring freeze.
October 12, 2011 at 10:35 pm #143298
Is it me, or is everyone named Chris into gaming? <G> My son loves beta testing and giving feedback. Great idea!
October 12, 2011 at 10:37 pm #143296
Let’s put it this way..the video game industry is apparently recession proof..maybe..just maybe there is something to be learned from how they do business..MAYBE..
October 13, 2011 at 2:55 am #143294
I haven’t spent too much time on the site yet but one thing but I wasn’t too happy about is that they seemed to have removed the option to search for openings within multiple grades. When I selected one grade there wasn’t an option to select additional. Kind of disappointed to lose that feature.
October 13, 2011 at 10:53 am #143292
BEST NEWS FOR USAJOBS 3.0! When you finally reset your password with your three secret questions and get to your account and the Resume Builder, you will see that you can now write 5,000 characters instead of 3,000 characters for each Work Experience Job Block. I think this will be the bst news for the job applicant!
The compromise of 5,000 characters will help the DONHR CHART applicants who have been accustomed to more than 7,000 characters per Job Block in Work Experience. DONHR CHART is now gone too!
The new Advanced Search page could be interesting with many more ways to break down the job search. But I bet that I will stick with my favorite search method: Geographic Region and Salary and Scroll Through (after selecting US Citizen vs. Status). This is my “amazon” style of shopping for jobs. Just look at everything quickly within a region and salary range.
The improved Hiring Authorities selection in the Profile is designed for HR “mining”. This is good for people who are among hiring programs! I hope that the hiring managers use the new “mining” features. This could help the Schedule A applicants alot!
I want to see how USAJOBS and applicationmanager.gov are integrated – with only One user name and password for both systems – this will be a good improvement if it is done! This was a much needed improvement that they say was going to be achieved with USAJOBS 3.0. We’ll see how it goes when you hit APPLY NOW in a new announcement.
I hope everyone will write about the new features they see in USAJOBS 3.0 when they come across the new and better or not better features. I’ll write again! . Kathryn Troutman, Author, Federal Resume Guidebook, 5th Ed.
October 13, 2011 at 11:05 am #143290
One of my staff members tried to download the USAJOBS app on her iPad, but it came up a black screen. I hope today this is fixed. I would like to see this on the iPad and my smartphone.
Objective line will be good for the Mining of resumes. For instance if a manager DOES want to help their agency comply with th Executive Order to hire more people with disabilities, they can MINE for a Schedule A applicant with a certain type of degree or years of experience. If the objective is there, the manager / or HR specialist can actually see what the person is looking for. The objective should be specific, however. And it would be better if the objective had titles of federal positions and targeted grade levels. Such as:
Program Analyst / Administrative Officer, GS 9/11, Seattle, Washington; 5 years experience
IT Specialist, Networking, Customer Services, GS 12/13, Washington DC, PMP
I think you should use the Objective to your benefit. We do NOT know how this will be used yet, but I do believe that the MINING will occur by HR and/or managers.
As long as you are adding everything back into your profile, preferences (since it was all eliminated), might as well, create a few good, clear federal job objectives.
Also TITLE your resumes carefully in the 5 resume selections. Title the resume to match the objective, in case the Mining/ search feature picks up on Title.
That’s it for now. I hope the entire system is better for applicants. We’ll see. Kathryn
October 13, 2011 at 11:19 am #143288
I hope that the new USAJOBS tool is far more powerful than doing simple/fuzzy word searches off from a free form field to do it’s searches. (As you imply) In fact, based on the breakdown of its advance search tool on the applicant side, I would hope that CHCO/HR organizations could search applicants by GS, schedule, series, location, salary range, education, etc based upon fixed data fields and/or any combination of attributes that are fixed field data entry points in the new system.
Honestly, free form data entry fields and searches are what make the current recruiting environment so unpredictable in the status quo. Commercial tools focus on key word searches and phrase searches of an entire document instead of focusing on fixed data points that can be collected during the application process. (Certainly plenty of systems do this now as well, though for actual qualifications/education/etc most tools overly focus on an over defined set of fuzzy word searches that ultimately screen out many well qualified applicants from ever being seen by human recruiters.)
October 13, 2011 at 11:22 am #143286
I’m not sure how I would post a screenshot in here, but basically the new USAStaffing screen now matches the Application Manager screen.
Here’s the link to the sign on page: USA Staffing Log in Screen: https://usastaffing.opm.gov/USAStaffing/UserAccess/Login.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fusastaffing%2fdefault.aspx
October 13, 2011 at 11:25 am #143284
You can grab a screen shot (control+printscreen) and paste it into PowerPoint (control+v), crop the photo appropriately then right click the picture and “save as picture”.
Then just jump on here and hit the “image” button.
easy peasy lemon squeezy
October 13, 2011 at 11:58 am #143282
I went on USAjobs yesterday and I thought, “humm, it must not be finished.” I just logged on today and realized “wow, this is the finished product?” I like the old site better.
Ralph H. Johnson VAMC
October 13, 2011 at 12:24 pm #143280
Thomas M BoyceParticipant
My first impression is that this change was NOT an improvement – would prefer that I have column headings that clearly allow me to sort by posting date, salary etc., even after I use the pull down, it is not clear what order it sorted in. The advanced search makes me do more work than I would prefer, would be nice to set up some basic search preferences (geography, salary, grade, etc.) and have it apply to all my searches.
iPad app did not work for first two days – would not let me login. I can now login, but no results are returned to the iPad interface – although the iPad does show the searches I had to reset after logging in on the PC.
I really do not like the fact that the application manager does not launch in a new window, and there is no easy way to navigate back to USAJobs after opening application manager.
It would really appear as if no usability testing was performed.
October 13, 2011 at 1:47 pm #143278
So far, I give the new site low marks. To me, its much more cumbersome and I don’t find it intuitive. I did the tutorials and looked at FAQs. Not helpful, in my view. When I tried to search a specific agency it was not even listed. When I tried to search jobs open just to Federal employees and checked the block to do so, the setting switched to jobs that are open to all. Not good.
October 13, 2011 at 3:20 pm #143276
October 13, 2011 at 3:28 pm #143274
So..I get that the filters are better..but the search results have not been all that useful and a lot of people seem to be saying the same thing in that reguard. Something does not seem right with the results and results change (from basic to advance searching) even when searching same key words.
There seems to be some disagreement on the how useful the tool is now: to CHCO/HR people searching for candidates it seems to be 1000 times better, but a lot of end users are very frustrated with the tool on the applicant end. (myself included.) Lots of features are nice, but the results are hit or miss at best and we can’t even reproduce search patterns we used to be able to do.
…still looking for the silver lining..
October 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm #143272
I like the changes, but the search functionality is a bit buggy. I have received several errors when making searches. Also, my profile works, but the Questionaire system is not linking up with my profile – it’s using someone elses with our shared last name! I have alerted them of the issues.
October 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm #143270
Seems like a few kinks to work out. Ran same key word search twice and got different results. Not sure the transfer of documents is working well with agency specific systems yet – but large possibility that is because of something with the agency specific system at this point.
October 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm #143268
I still think they should partner with LinkedIn. If everybody is already using LI then leverage that. Certainly they can develop a back-office solution for privacy purposes so that additional required info is stored on a separate government server. The principle should be to minimize cost to the taxpayer for building and maintaining a resume database, while at the same time making it easy for candidates to apply. The bigger the pool the better the talent that walks into government doors.
Also it seems like now would be the time to eliminate extra “unique” Q&A databases like Avue. Just SIMPLIFY it.
October 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm #143266
October 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm #143264
Sad..but I do believe this is a more accurate picture of the ground truth as it stands today. Lots to be learned from this deployment.
October 13, 2011 at 4:59 pm #143262
OPM should have tested this system more before it was launched, in my view.
October 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm #143260
I’m not happy that they changed the RSS for each search. We drive Facebook and Twitter Posts, and emails, off of the RSS feed for EPA jobs. They changed the whole structure of their feeds, so it broke. Now we need to reset using the new RSS URLs.
October 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm #143258
Agree. I think they thought that by sending out to registered users that change was coming and what to expect that that would suffice. It doesn’t, however.
October 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm #143256
Andy: I just sent the URL for this discussion to the person at OPM who needs to see it.
October 13, 2011 at 6:01 pm #143254
Hey Jeffrey – Thank you! We’re sorting out the actionable feedback and sending a briefing to OPM. Would like to do same for other government challenges as well.
October 13, 2011 at 6:07 pm #143252
The FCW article posted earlier has comments from end-user issues, etc: http://fcw.com/articles/2011/10/12/usajobs-3.0-reboot-getting-fail-reviews-from-users.aspx
FedLine has a string of end-user comments/issues as well: http://blogs.federaltimes.com/federal-times-blog/2011/10/12/usajobs-3-0-whats-the-verdict/
Then obviously their twitter and Facebook have been piling up comments/input.
Hope this helps for consolidation.
October 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm #143250
October 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm #143248
Your article. There are a handful of “rave review and success” articles out there, but FCW and Huffpo are the only places running stories that address the issues being identified by people using the site, etc. (Granted, its a tad slanted due to AVUE position on things, but I would say their findings are accurate based on what people here and else where have stated.)
October 13, 2011 at 9:20 pm #143246
K. E. WindleParticipant
There is some improved functionality — when it works. I have been underwhelmed by the “upgrades.” I was prepared to make good use some of the improvements,however, each time I tried to use the catagory, agency or other improved functions I lost the entire search. Is this the Beta version?
October 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm #143244
What about those turning 60 years old in having an opportunity to be hired? I am 60 and hired but I do not get respect at work because I am the older than most employees. I feel out of place. So, where do I go from here? There are no jobs out there. I get paid to surf the internet. Great with two masters degrees.
October 14, 2011 at 2:06 pm #143242
@Chris, I agree with you. I have many issues with the site as revised. It seems OPM fixed something unbroken. There is too much “white” space, in my view.
October 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm #143240
I’m glad I’m not the only one that is not in love with “too much white space” there are a lot of blogs that do this now and it makes my eyes hurt trying to keep topics/etc separate. The old view had the alternating grey background which helped. Interesting enough, they kept it under “application status” but not in the primary search views. (odd..)
October 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm #143238
Based on comments of Facebook, usajobs.gov is having 3X more traffic than biggest day they had in 2010.
So major problem is handling extra traffic.
Seems like they just need a CDN to handle the bursts in traffic – like an Akamai, Rackspace, Cotendo. Right? I think a bunch of folks in govt use those right?
October 14, 2011 at 2:24 pm #143236
It would appear load balancing is their primary issue. However, they should have attempted to stress test the system and/or had scalable options to adjust for higher traffic. (I mean they actually marketed the system, advertised, etc what did they expect? That and I’m sure the irony is now word is out it doesn’t work quite right, everyone is hitting the site to see what works and what doesn’t)
That aside, I think you’re right. A good third party provider to help with bursts/surge in traffic is something to look into and is becoming more common place. I believe DoD actually uses Amazon a lot for their hosting, cloud, etc work and have heard/seen a lot of good things come out of that relationship. (e.g., when Google crashed out a few weeks back taking GSA, etc offline, Amazon’s servers didn’t go down and DoD stayed online when some agencies lost their cloud/hosting connections.)
Now all of that aside, I’m not sure what load balancing would have to do with the search function simply not returning solid results. Lots of reports of mixed results, differing results off from same search strings, etc. Sounds like there is some bad code in there somewhere, it’s just sorting it out on top of load issues is going to be hard. With that in mind, it really looks like they should be going into contingency mode and throwing the old site back up until they can work out the issues here.
This outage is resulting in time lost in the already drawn out hiring process and could potentially cause legal/policy/ethical issues in the near term with short term postings that not everyone is able to apply to due to the inability to find and apply to jobs.
October 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm #143234
New FCW on USAJOBS 3.0 implementation: http://fcw.com/Articles/2011/10/13/USAJOBS.gov-3.0-stil-rocky-but-getting-help-from-OPM-staffers.aspx
What do others think? @govloop mentioned the load balancing issue (or amount of traffic), but I still can’t help but think there has to be code issues embedded in this problem, based on some people’s input.
October 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm #143232
UPDATE: A few agencies/departments are now announcing that due to the access issues with the new USAJOBS 3.0 site they will be extending application periods for an additional week to ensure people still have time to attempt to apply.
October 16, 2011 at 11:02 pm #143230
@Chris, Stay on OPM! Keep them in your cross hairs. Good work.
October 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm #143228
I think we all should be supporting the on-going effort. After all the point is to help the process and field a good product on behalf of the government and for the taxpayers right? One voice in a crowd can be written off, but a well organized group that is dedicated on helping instead of just complaining is key.
So, keep submitting issues you come across here and to OPM directly to ensure they are capturing all of the potential issues they should be working on and/or any documentation they should be producing to make the user experience better.
Power in numbers, dedication to the public good, and innovation through social engagement!
October 17, 2011 at 12:04 am #143226
Just ran a search and got this response:
So, at least the #USAJOBS30 team changed the notice from “application failure” to what you read above. At least..i guess it’s a step up?..not sure if the note is a good idea though if the application keeps failing at the same rate as in the past.
Apparently 8:00pm on a Sunday is a busy time for job seekers.. *sigh*
October 17, 2011 at 1:29 am #143224
@Chris, I had the same experience. OPM should ask for its money back from the contractor who did this. Not good and I am sure many complaints will be forthcoming. I spent a considerable amount of time with “repairs” to my resume.
October 17, 2011 at 1:51 am #143222
@Chris, It’s a typical shotgun approach and is not effective. People have to analyze the problems and issues. One size does not fit all.
October 17, 2011 at 1:52 am #143220
@Chris, I agree 1,000 per cent.
October 17, 2011 at 11:56 am #143218
I submitted this issue and another I found (search results with multiple pages, you cannot go to the next page. It zeros out the results.) and immediately received this response this am:
Thank you for contacting USAJOBS. Due to some known issues surrounding the USAJOBS search engine, seekers may experience intermittent errors, including application errors and unexpected results, while these issues are identified and fixed. We appreciate your feedback, and are working diligently to resolve all remaining issues with the search functionality. A resolution is pending and upon implementation, you will be contacted to retry your searches. If you still encounter issues after you’ve been contacted, please notify us. Again, thank you for your patience as we strive to improve the user experience in USAJOBS.
USAJOBS Customer Support
Not to beat this dead horse, but OPM continuing to take the “Dell approach” to customer service (e.g., where they don’t actually engage their customers, thus not solving the issue or providing even the appearance of customer service..is not heart warming..) Customer/citizen/etc engagement is about two-way collaboration and/or communication. Right now, OPM’s approach is damage control with minimal communication. (Sans transparency..)
With the site failing above 50% still, at what point does it make sense to take the site offline until they can fix it? People are posting jobs and looking to apply, but the site, in its current state, does not allow this with any level of certainty. The amount of lost time in applications by end users and departments/agencies in HR actions is going to start adding up in the not too distant future.
..what’s the saying? don’t fix, what ain’t broke?? (..innovation is good, but “innovation” that doesn’t provide the same basic service of that which it replaced..is a massive step backwards..)
October 17, 2011 at 12:06 pm #143216
I finally thought of a good example of my point: WTOP. WTOP does the thing where when storms come through the DC Metro area and knocks out power that they stay “on top of the situation” until everyone has their power back. This approach is due to customer/end user complaints that the local power providers can be rather slow in returning power, providing customer service (information and communications.), etc. As a result of WTOP’s actions, keeping the power providers accountable to their customers, things have gotten better over time.
I don’t see this as any different. It’s not about being “negative” and so forth, it’s about pushing for the best possible result and keeping people “honest.” If transparency is to work and innovation to take place we need to all help each other by supporting the innovation, but also by keeping people accountable for their actions. (This is also true about performance management and tracking, and why it is currently government priority for all programs/projects, etc.)
October 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm #143214
@Shauna, The system prompted me to create a new password and kept me captive until I did.;-)
October 18, 2011 at 2:54 am #143212
Suffice it to say the USAJOBS re-launch last week has not gone well.
I believe you’re at a point in which someone needs to make a “big time decision”.
I see three tough choices:
- Continue trying to work out the issues while the system is operational and hope for the best. The proverbial “fixing the car while you’re driving down the road”.
- Take the system offline. Having it operational now is not doing anyone any good. Take the criticism that you weren’t ready and rushed it out too soon. The bad news will eventually slow. Get the traffic off the network (your primary if not illusionary excuse) and work like heck to get the issues resolved.
- The nuclear option: go back to monster.
Any one of these would be a tough choice to make as they all have pitfalls. But someone needs to lead during a disaster like this. It’s obvious that option 1 is the current modus operandi. How’s that working for you?
I would give serious consideration to option 2, but with a caveat. If the system isn’t going to work you may need to keep it offline indefinitely and go nuclear.
October 18, 2011 at 1:43 pm #143210
I replied to my issues with a snarky retort about my ability to RTFM. I feel a little bad about that now. They responded to that stating they were looking into the specific issues and would reply but I haven’t gotten a reply.
October 19, 2011 at 12:31 am #143208
Thinking this thing through, why did they decide to make all these changes at once? Successful web sites (like Amazon) are masters of iterative design. Rather than change everything at the same time, they make constant small improvements. Redesigning the site, switching backends and using a new search engine all at once is a recipe for disaster. Nobody does it this way.
They’re probably in to deep for the nuclear option. And given what they’ve done so far, I doubt they have the ability to rollback to the previous site. Prediction: they will muddle along, trumpeting their success as they bring the site up to minimal standards. And the users will just have to adapt, because they’ve got nowhere else to go.
October 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm #143206
@Joe, You hit the nail on the head. They don’t comprehend incremental change and deadlines obviously eclipsed iteratve design. I have seen this movie before. No doubt they are under the spell of the site developer and were only concerned whether the developer delivered as promised. No one will ever call the baby ugly because that would be the right thing to do and force accountability. They will insist that the site is fine, whenever it doesn’t work, and continue to offer excuses. My opinion.
October 19, 2011 at 12:56 pm #143204
I’m inclined to agree with your prediction.
Actually, I found out that they cut back on functionality to drive federal agencies to have to pay for their USA Staffing product. They probably thought this was incremental change.
Ironically, according to the FY12 Budget (if there is such a thing), OPM wants to raise its fee to agencies for USAJOBS by a whopping 45%. I’m not sure when OPM was planning to tell the agencies of this increase or if they even budgeted for it.
OPM is shameless. It sets policy, performs oversight and provides fee based services in those areas. They are the Arthur Andersen-ENRON of the federal government, just on a much larger scale. So who oversees OPM?
I agree that the nuclear option is long gone, but only because they didn’t have a contingency plan (or one documented) in the first place.
October 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm #143202
Video update from OPM on USAJOBS status right now
October 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm #143200
I had an interesting conversation with someone about the “nuke option”, there is another complication here that can just be added to the pile of the “well that wasn’t very smart,” issues we have so far:
You can’t nuke it. The previous site was a contracted build by Monster. Which means, if OPM has already terminated the contract or did not renew it, in order to build the new site, they would have to open compete the work all over again just to get the site back and with the potential that monster would not actually be the best option for government.
October 19, 2011 at 1:02 pm #143198
So the good news is that OPM is working hard and listening to suggestions for improvement (I’ve talked to folks who say they have seen the comments here)
OPM is really looking for solutions to the problem so if you have any, let’s focus the comments there.
To me, the simplest thing is need cloud hosting. I’d get Rackspace, Amazon or a CDN like Akamai to handle the bursts in traffic (instead of buying more internal servers)
October 19, 2011 at 1:12 pm #143196
@Bryan, Shameless is right! A 45% increase for a system that doesn’t work correctly? Scary.
October 19, 2011 at 1:12 pm #143194
Agreed! ..However..holding them accountable is equally important in this effort. Millions of taxpayer dollars have gone into this system/site and going on the second week it still does not provide the service it was designed to deliver.
Another issue that should be brought to their attention is that their standard response to trouble tickets is to clear them out immediately, without addressing the issues, and closing the tickets. This is why so many people are getting frustrated. No matter how many times OPM says, “we’re doing our best” they are treating their end users like they don’t matter to them. Remember, there is lost time, resources, etc that will start piling up when job announcements don’t get posted in time, people can’t find them to apply, etc. There is a large, and frankly scary, cross section of ethical and legal impacts that could come out of this.
Though as you mention, looking to handle traffic flow is one of many problems they should address (still not sold that the problems being seen can be 100% attributed to server load.) and as I mentioned Amazon should be a place to start as they are already doing business with DoD.
There should be a group effort to make this better, but I feel like OPM is pushing end users away far more than they claim they are embracing them and their reported issues. They have to understand people are upset.
October 19, 2011 at 1:15 pm #143192
@Chris, Test but verify!
October 19, 2011 at 5:10 pm #143190
@Thomas, On the flip side, I queried jobs for Washington DC (metro area) and jobs in Kansas City popped up in the sort.
February 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm #143188
Is it required to apply for all federal jobs through this website — or can the emailing of a resume etc to a HR or hiring manager contact also work?
February 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm #143186
@Ari, You must follow the instructions in the vacancy announcement for a position. The instructions will tell you how to apply. Federal agencies are generally very particular about their application processes and the failure to follow instructions can lead to disqualification for a position.
October 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm #143183
I would like for someone to take a look at my resume.
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