State praises online job application

Washington state officials rate online job application system an unqualified success

Washington's online job application system, one of the first such government systems in the country, has suffered only minor glitches and so far must be rated an unqualified success, according to executives with the state's Department of Personnel.

The first classes of available government jobs, mainly in information technology, were put into the system in October 2001. Now there are some 1,600 classes covering such "high volume" areas as social work, office and clerical support, and professional-grade employment (hr.dop.wa.gov/statejobs/inetapp.htm).

State application forms have been online for some years, but they had to be downloaded, printed and mailed. The new system enables everything to be conducted online.

The time taken to process applications has fallen from about five weeks to just a few hours, according to Dorothy Gerard, assistant director for the Department of Personnel.

"As far as job candidates being made available to hiring managers almost immediately, I think it has to be considered an unqualified success," she said. "Even those agencies with [low volume] unique classes of jobs are clamoring to get them onto the system."

The other advantage is that the system handles testing as well applications, she pointed out. Candidates can take the tests required by agencies and submit them online. Once the candidate passes the test, he or she is placed onto the government's job registry.

Some additions still have to be made to the system, Gerard said. State hiring authorities cannot get to a candidate's resume-type histories online, she said. Online information is limited to a candidate's rank order right now, and the hiring managers have to get in touch with the DOP if they want a history.

The capability to get histories online will be programmed into the system in the near future Gerard said, and there are still other enhancements the department wants to make.

"We don't feel we are at the apex yet of what we can do to provide all of the information we want to include in this system," she said.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

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