USAJobs overhaul coming in October
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Aug 31, 2011
The USAJOBS.gov system is undergoing its first major revamp in seven years by separating its data from Monster.com and transitioning to a new in-house operating system developed and run by the Office of Personnel Management, agency officials said.
The USAJOBS.gov website will shut down from Oct. 6 to Oct. 12 while five billion rows of data are transferred to the new system, Angela Bailey, associate director of employee services, told reporters on Aug. 31.
No new jobs will be offered, and no job applications will be due, during the offline period. The new system will begin operating Oct. 13.
OPM rebuilt the site "from the ground up" to create the new version, called USAJOBS 3.0, Bailey said. The new iteration uses Extensible Markeup Language and an open architecture, and features stronger security, she said.
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Resumes and personal data for 19 million people who applied for federal jobs on USAJobs.gov no longer will be commingled with corporate data from Monster.com, which has operated USAJOBS.gov since 2004.
In the new USAJobs.gov system, all the applicants’ data will be brought in-house and operated on OPM’s servers.
“By bringing it in-house, we can protect our own data so much better,” Bailey said. In 2007, hackers breached Monster.com's system and OPM data was compromised in the bargain.
The new USAJOBS.gov system will enhance the federal job application experience for applicants, agencies and vendors, Bailey said.
“It offers an improved applicant experience,” Bailey said. “It will be completely different, but will have the same look, feel and structure that people are used to.”
New features include the ability to filter search results by occupation, salary and other factors; detailed usrer profiles on the website; and no longer having to enter the same data over and over for multiple job applications, Bailey said.
The USAJOBS.gov website also will be able to generate analytic information for the first time, and eventually, applicants will have access to information such as the number of job applicants for a particular job, and when and where a specific type of job opening is likely to occur, she said.
“Before, the applicant would just take a shot in the dark,” Bailey said.
In addition, applicants can expect to receive their application status more readily and to less likely to suffer the “black hole” of receiving no communication from agencies after applying, Bailey said. Vendors and agencies currently are supposed to notify applicants of their status, but there are sometimes technical difficulties in doing so, and the new system eliminates some of those difficulties, she said.
For agencies, the improvements include access to analytic information to allow for more strategic job postings. For example, agencies would be able to search resumes to identify candidates who are veterans or those with disabilities. Also, within months there will be more capabilities to mine data in the system, such as determining which zip codes are most popular for cybersecurity applicants, or how many nurses applied for veterans hospital jobs.
Vendors would find it easier to link to the new USAJOBS.gov system because it is an open architecture with XML language and no longer will be operated as part of Monster.com, Bailey said.
“The open architecture ensures that all vendors can connect,” she said.
The USAJOBS.gov site typically contains about 30,000 to 40,000 active job listings at any given time and gets 22 million applications a year.
In August, about 70,000 job applications filed on USAJOBS.gov were subjected to a technical glitch that originated in OPM’s USAStaffing hiring management system that links to USAJOBSA.gov. Those applications were stored in a read-only mode and were not processed. Bailey declined to comment, saying the glitch was caused by USAStaffing and not USAJOBS.gov.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.