Hurry Up and Hire Qualified Employees!

In a memorandum released today, President Obama is attempting to improve the Federal recruitment and hiring process.

What are your thoughts on this memorandum?

Is there anything missing?

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I’m really interested in this piece as FCIP was a great recruiting mechanism. I still believe we need a Teach for America model for government

(c) evaluate the Federal Career Intern Program established by Executive Order 13162 of July 6, 2000, provide recommendations concerning the future of that program, and propose a framework for providing effective pathways into the Federal Government for college students and recent college graduates;

Srinidhi Boray

Other related issue – I was wondering if the retire tsunami in the Fed was a credible claim few years back.

Couple of years back it was projected that retirement tsunami would happen in the Federal agencies. I wonder what the real statics are now. Although several thousands of jobs were to be available in Federal because of people retiring, creating lacunae in many middle / senior level positions.

Is this assumption still true?

Article reproduced from Fedsmith



The U.S. Office of Personnel Management launched a Hiring Reform web page in response to President Obama’s memorandum about improving the federal recruitment and hiring process. The Hiring Reform page features information, news, and resources and is intended for federal human resources professionals and hiring managers.

Here’s the link: http://www.opm.gov/hiringreform/

Srinidhi Boray

@ Tricia – Thanks I took a look at that. I was wondering about the statistics for the jobs that will be created in govt in the near future. It was said that 1000s of jobs will be vacated by retirements.


@Srinidhi – I’m at the state level in HR, so I can’t speak for Fed., but it seems that many @ the state level were preparing for a mass exodus, but it hasn’t really happened. I suspect it has to do with the economy, and many losing a large percentage of their retirement investments in the market (along with the rising cost of healthcare), and are opting to hold onto their jobs for another 3 to 5 years.


I always think that baby boomers may not retire at the same ages.

But I do think there is a need for government to continue to recruit talent especially at the junior levels.

Srinidhi Boray

Certainly govt is a place for much fun and meaningful work for the society. I don’t know why influencers like Google CEO have expressed in interviews that Govt is not a place for innovation. On the contrary many great things can happen and has happened. For instance, science of management happened first within Govt, because of seminal work of Mary Parker Follett.

Stephen Peteritas

Talking about gov’t retirements did anyone see yesterday where Hilary Clinton made a call of action of retired public servants to come back to work? I mean it was mostly foreign affairs but still WOW

Candace Riddle

Hopefully we will see a streamlined process that makes USA JOBS applications much easier. The site has already made some improvements over the last year.

While I always hated the essay questions when applying for a federal job, I believe it allows recruiters to evaluate the candidate’s communication skills. Yes, it adds to the time and difficulty of completing a federal application, but even the most brilliant individual could fail miserably if communication skills are not sharp.

Finally, in my experience (5 years out of undergraduate), the hiring process is entirely too long. I personally committed 9 months to the initial interview stages with a federal agency. I have U.S. Veteran friends that graduated with me and have been put through a hiring process that lasted 3 years. If the hiring process continues to be this lengthy, key talent is most likely going to be snapped up by the private sector before they are even called for a phone interview on the federal side.

Jon Lickey

I think the Feds need to make some standard format for civilians to be hired. For example:
I currently work at the Local Level in I.T. as a civilian (junior-to-mid-level) and am interested in moving up into the Federal level. However, when looking for jobs (USAJOBS.gov) I have noticed that most in the IT arena require enlistment into military service in order to gain TOP SECRET security clearance, or at least the job description reads that way to me. I’m not against joining the military, but do to circumstances beyond my control, I know that I am ineligible. Is their a way for civilians, like myself, to fill these roles? Is their a way to gain Security Clearance to help civilian’s fill these jobs? Any pointers or direction would be helpful.

Valerie Page

I am in total agreement of a total overhaul of the hiring practices of the federal government. I have tried continuously to apply for federal jobs but unfortunately, I have yet to be selected for an interview. I know without a shadow that I am highly qualified. So yes, I am in agreement with President Obama’s Memorandum in an attempt to improve the Federal recruitment and hiring process.

Ed Powell

“Hurry Up and Hire Qualified Employees” seems to make the assumption that this the focus of the federal hiring process.
How can you honestly believe that the process is based just on merit when the list of exceptions to merit is as long as your arm — CTAP, ICTAP, Reemployment Priority Lists, DoD Stopper lists, Lists of people with expiring overseas assignment, veterans, veterans spouses, veterans survivors, federally employed veterans returning from reserve and gard asignment to war zones, Federal Career Intern Program.
I am making no judgment as to whether we should or shouldn’t have these exceptions; however, adjudicating these exceptions takes much time and effort, all contributing to delays in hiring “Qualified Employees.”

Ed Powell

Hiring is not alone in being totally broken. Position classification has become “position justification” to support the near total perversion of the original positions classification (aka pay setting) principles. To support this overgrading, position descriptions (PD) are written to support pay and do not describe actual jobs. As a principle artifact of the HR process, bad PDs drive defective determinations of job qualifications and competencied, bad job announcements, bad hiring, bad training, bad discipline, etc. Then there is pay. We have two main pay laws, Title 5 and FLSA. For many employees pay is calculated twice, once under Title 5 and once under FLSA and the employee gets the highest of the two (Does that make sense to ANYBODY?? However, that is our OPM-managed system!)

Ed Powell

“Closing the Gap” Report
The Partnership for Public Service and Grant Thornton interviewed 68 CHCOs and HR leaders on state of federal workforce and the president’s hiring reform agenda. In a nutshell, it listed seven major obstacles in the federal workforce:
-The cumbersome hiring process
– The antiquated pay & classification systems & less than effective performance management;
– The uneven relationship between CHCOs and OPM (aka ZERO Trust!)
– An HR workforce that too often lacks the competencies needed to move forward
– Outdated, manual processes and a lack of robust HR information technology solutions
– Insufficient leadership and workforce management skills among too many federal managers
– The adversarial relationships between high-level management and employee unions

Well! That’s quite a list and there is not a thing on that list that can be solved quickly. So, instead of that hard stuff, let’s get busy fixing things that aren’t broken, like USAJOBS!

Ed Powell

When you are in the trenches trying to fill the 43,514 jobs currently available at the DoD, you know that it encompasses much more than just picking the right candidate and then bringing them on. Some jobs are easy to fill but, increasingly, DoD agencies are looking for highly skilled mid-career candidates. What can they do?
o “Posting and praying” on USAJobs is only part of the solution.
o Sometimes, even searching and filtering from among the 17 million resumes available on USA Jobs isn’t enough (If and when OPM allows you to do that!).
o How do you reach the “poised” job seekers that go to USAJobs and other jobs sites intermittently, at best?
o How do you reach the “passive” candidates who are already employed, never go to jobs sites but would consider the right job if it was presented to them?
That’s a problem!