Hiring Reform…Part 4…
November 30, 2010 at 2:26 pm #116746
In Part 1, I talked about “the memo”. Part 2 was about Category Rating and Part 3 was apathy and OPM. Yes, I am highly critical of Hiring Reform and for good reasons.
However, in this installment of what looks to be a 6 Part series, I want to talk about the one aspect of Hiring Reform in which I agree. Shock! Which is why this will probably be my most boring piece yet.
Part 4 is about putting the focus on the Hiring Manager.
As the memo states in Section 1:
(b) require that managers and supervisors with responsibility for hiring are:
(1) more fully involved in the hiring process, including planning current and future workforce requirements, identifying the skills required for the job, and engaging actively in the recruitment and, when applicable, the interviewing process; and
(2) accountable for recruiting and hiring highly qualified employees and supporting their successful transition into Federal service, beginning with the first performance review cycle starting after November 1, 2010;
I saw the impact of this first hand with the Department of Education. Some may remember in the first years of the Bush (43) Administration, Education did an A-76 study on Education’s HR department. A-76 basically compares the costs of having a government personnel perform the functions against those of a private contractor. I can’t remember if Education won or lost the A-76 study, but shock waves were sent throughout the government.
Anywho, one of the outcomes was a custom development project sold by yours truly (aw shucks). Education wanted QuickHire to interface with their payroll system (Interior’s Federal Personnel and Payroll System – FPPS). Part of FPPS was an “automated” SF-52 (Request for Personnel Action) system with date and time stamps on Requests and Approvals.
Long story short, Education’s hiring managers complained that HR took 11 months to fill a position. HR said not so fast, we fill jobs within 90 to 120 days from when we get the request. The integration was meant to show a timeline from when a position was initially requested in FPPS to when a payroll activity occurred for that position. In between those to activities was QuickHire; Education’s ATS.
It took just a few weeks to develop and deploy the integration (a loose coupling) between FPPS and QuickHire. There were a few manual entries required by HR to tie a personnel action request in FPPS to the vacancy in QuickHire. But what it showed was amazing! While it was true that from the initial position request to hire was 11 months, almost half of that time was the Hiring Manager sitting on his/her hands between initial request and approval. HR couldn’t act until the position was approved and that was the Hiring Manager’s job. Now it was visible and the Hiring Manager was held to account.
Almost overnight, Education was hiring in under 120 days (position request to payroll activity). And to an extent Education’s HR Department was vindicated and deservedly so.
Making the Hiring Managers more accountable to the Recruiting and Staffing process will (no doubt in my mind) improve hiring government wide. Federal staffing solutions need to move towards integrated workflow to enable hiring managers to truly be engaged. Recruitment best practices could be defined centrally and the workflow will direct managers to a better outcome by providing all the required information.
But that is not all that’s required. Too many Hiring Managers just don’t understand federal hiring and that needs to change. Hiring managers don’t need to be trained on the process so much as they need to be trained on the context. Hiring Managers should be required to be trained on the regulatory drivers of federal hiring, along with recruitment strategy, qualification requirements, considering referred candidates, interviewing and selection and even best practices. If any agencies would like to hear more about training their hiring managers just send me a private note.
November 30, 2010 at 4:51 pm #116748
I work for state government, but I run workshops for job seekers on how to apply for a Federal Government Job. What I find most confusing and difficult is not KSA’s (Do you really want a Federal employee who cannot communicate?) but the poor job listings.
I find most of the Job listings on USAJOBS to be vague, incomplete and downright confusing. Most listings have a section on Qualifications and Evaluations, which says “You must possess one year of specialized experience at the GS-04 grade level or equivalent under other pay systems.” Now somebody tell me, who outside of Federal service would know what that was?
The Qualifications required for most federal jobs are not made clear; therefore the applicant cannot write a Resume or application that will show they are qualified. Most listings have multiple links to information that is poorly explained, using acronyms and terminology that is incomprehensible to the general public.
Then, after writing the resume, you can be transferred to an Agency website, where you are asked questions on subjects that were not in the Job Description or Qualifications! That happened to me when I applied for a federal position myself this summer, and I had to quit the process and completely re-write my Resume.
The best thing you could do for the applicants is make the Qualifications and Requirements CLEAR.
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