Hiring Reform…Part 3…
October 25, 2010 at 7:44 pm #113535
It’s one (1) week to go before “Hiring Reform” goes into full effect. I’m sure it won’t be any surprise that I’m not holding my breath for real success.
The reason? OPM simply lacks follow through. No matter what the initiative, if it’s not followed up and continually improved it starts to wane as apathy sets in and then it fails.
Hiring Reform is heading down this path and it starts with OPM’s website: http://www.opm.gov/hiringreform
OPM wrote “the memo” (it only took them 15 months) for Obama to sign. They set the timetable (had 15 months to get their ducks in a row). So now it’s time to act. Well, actually it was time to act on May 11, and then May 12, 13…June 1…August 1, October 25…”to infinity and beyond”
So let’s jump back to the Hiring Reform website. This is OPM’s very own way of self-promotion on how things are going. And by the looks of things, it’s not going well. For instance, there are been no real updates to the site in months?
On its main page alone, the “News” stops on June 14th. This goes with my belief that if OPM is not going to make the website on Hiring Reform relevant the policy can’t be far behind.
The Blog alone has all of one (1) entry (http://opm.gov/Blogs/HiringReform/index.aspx). Ironically, this 1 post (made on May 11) is also the highest rated and it showed how closely aligned the blog is to Category Rating it is as it even applied “Absolute Preference”. You see the 1 blog entry received 94 thumbs up and 70 thumbs down but was given a 94 rating (absolute) instead of a the customary blog rating of +24 (as in 94 – 70).
“Hello? Hello? Anybody home? Huh? Think, McFly. Think!
The videos are great too. Most of which are undated or given in May when the “Reform” kicked off. But one gem does come from as recent as September 14th, in which the following claims are made:
Directory Berry says agencies are “making steady progress towards an all resume world”.
Are you kidding me? Resumes? Really? Resumes? Resumes and Category Rating are in direct conflict with each other. Category Rating has specific requirements for a candidate to address. By law, these requirements and their respective categories must be defined before the job hits the street. You can’t look at a resume and put them into a category. The good Director would know this if he was qualified for his position. But, he was hired the old fashion way; with a (political) resume, and that’s what clouds his ability to lead this reform.
To digress further, resumes are simply a sales pitch at best. An exaggerated representation of how a person wants to be seen. It should never be used as a first look for federal jobs.
Also, later in the same video, the (state run journalist) narrator says that progress toward the November 1 deadline is very realistic as only 20% of all jobs require a knowledge, skills and ability portion of the application. No kidding Sherlock, since 80% of the jobs go through a self-assessment systems anyway and have been for years.
Under “Hiring Reform Requirements” there is a link “Applicant Notification” (http://opm.gov/HiringReform/HiringReformRequirements/NotifyingApplicants/index.aspx) which has virtually no content. Why is it there?
And another link, “Hiring Reform Action Plans” which has only 24 agency plans published. I’m not sure of the total number of federal agencies, but it’s got to be more than 24.
And last, I don’t believe the whole web site complies with Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If I’m correct, wouldn’t that be an indictment on OPM and Hiring Reform?
All of this gets back to the point that if Plain Old OPM (POO) can’t stay on top of its own website on Hiring Reform, how can they lead in Hiring Reform?
October 25, 2010 at 8:03 pm #113543
Kimberlyn J BauhsParticipant
Bryan – You need to meet my boss, Angela Bailey! As the lead for Hiring Reform, she has been working tirelessly to see this succeed. And she’s NEVER been content to sit back and let things “wane as apathy sets in!” The hiring reform web page is a public site to capture the key principles of hiring reform. That page may be a little static, but that’s not representative of everything that is going on. There is also an extensive intranet page in which agencies can request assistance from mobile assistance teams, share ideas/best practices, ask questions, obtain guidance/leave feedback, register for workshops, post results of their efforts, etc. etc. etc. Go to the Hiring Reform Facebook page, and you’ll see where Angie regularly provides updates and personally responds to applicants, HR, and hiring officials.
Do we, in OPM or in government, have all the answers? Maybe not. Are we trying? You betcha! Are we going to make progress towards making things better. Absolutely. There are a lot of positive, constructive voices for change out there who want this to succeed. Let’s hear from them!!
October 26, 2010 at 1:32 am #113541
I do like your attitude! Sure, I’d like to meet Angela Bailey. Let me know the next time she’s in Greensboro, NC 🙂
October 26, 2010 at 2:29 pm #113539
From the Federal Times; 28 Sept 2010
OPM and the White House have made reforming the government’s sluggish hiring processes a major priority, and mandated a series of changes that must be in place by Nov. 1. Those changes include eliminating lengthy knowledge, skills and abilities essays as an initial evaluation tool, allowing job seekers to apply by submitting resumes and cover letters, adopting a system called category rating that will give hiring managers more applicants from which to choose, and hold managers accountable for their role in hiring.
Bailey said she is confident all agencies will meet that deadline, and said she hopes the additions to the USAJOBS.gov page will make it easier for agencies to improve their hiring processes. Many agencies now take between 130 to 150 days to hire a new employee, and OPM wants agencies to hire in 80 days or less.
OPM is also working on another page called USAJOBSAssess, which will offer tools agencies can use to measure the competencies of job candidates. Those online assessments are intended to replace the lengthy knowledge, skills and abilities essays, which OPM Director John Berry says discourage some people from seeking federal jobs.
OPM plans to begin pilot testing the first online assessments — which will measure general competencies such as math skills and problem-solving abilities — at five to 10 agencies this fall, and hopes to expand their use next summer. OPM contractors hope to begin developing job-specific assessment tools next year.
“Now our qualifications are based on experience and education, and we want to move more to competencies,” Bailey said. “That’s the general trend. Instead of [answering], “Do you have one year of experience?” they have to demonstrate competencies such as analytical capabilities.”
USAJOBSAssess will allow job seekers to store their test scores and resubmit them, instead of having to retake a test every time they apply for another job.
But Bailey said agencies need to do a better job preparing their strategic work-force plans to know exactly what skills they lack and where they need to recruit. The military is one of the few organizations in government that does a good job planning for its future personnel, training and equipment needs, she said, and agencies can learn a lot from the services.
“We want to blame HR for not moving quickly or getting the right applicants,” Bailey said. “But work-force planning and knowing what your needs are has largely been forgotten.”
Bailey also said a new executive order governing the Federal Career Intern Program and student recruitment is in the works. Bailey would not comment on the future of FCIP, but said the executive order would include traditional internships and other pathways to make it easier for people to find federal jobs in their first two years after graduating from colleges.
Berry said Sept. 14 that he hopes that proposal will be unveiled this fall, and wants to have it in place so students graduating next spring can take advantage of it.
And Bailey said she still hopes OPM will find a way to encourage agencies to increase the use of shared registers. Under that program, OPM recruits candidates for the 13 most popular federal jobs. When an agency needs to fill one of those jobs, such as an accountant or HR specialist, it can choose from a list of pre-selected applicants.
But Bailey said that out of more than 100,000 candidates approved by OPM, agencies have only made 100 hires.
“That’s about 100,000 pretty disappointed people,” Bailey said. “We want to ensure we don’t have a lot of disappointed folks.”
November 8, 2010 at 3:39 pm #113537
GET RID OF KSAS!! HECK, GET RID OF MERIT!! Why should people have to show that they are qualified and worthy just to get a job?
It’s the same with government procurement.
Why should I have to show that I can do the work before I get a government contract? Why do I have to actually acknowledge and address the government’s specifications? Why don’t federal buyers just go to my website and then fax me a check?
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