Letter to the editor
Kudos to the letter from a reader in the Nov. 5 issue of Federal Computer
Week, "IT Workers Wanted?"
I was employed in the commercial sector as a systems engineer (network).
I had prior federal service and read that the government had finally increased
pay for its information technology workers, making their salaries competitive
with the rest of the market.
I applied for jobs posted on USA Jobs and each Defense Department Web
site, all over the United States and Europe. This alone was a very time-consuming
endeavor, due to the many hours spent writing KSAs (knowledge, skills and
abilities) and making sure my resume was arranged the way that the particular
personnel operations center or human resources office required.
Two months passed before I even received a call for an interview. It
then took another two months before I was offered the position. Most people
cannot wait two weeks let alone four months for a job offer when searching
for employment. Several of the positions I applied to I never heard from
not even a postcard (the Black Hole Syndrome). I was disqualified from
a Delegated Examining Unit GS-13 position that I applied for because I left
out "40 hours" next to my job description on my resume. My resume never
even made it to the hiring authority for review due to this exclusion.
The application submittal process can be an absolute nightmare. Each
announcement has a different set of rules. In order for your resume to receive
consideration, you have to carefully read through the job announcement,
which can sometimes span five pages. Each submittal process may be completely
different from the last process you used.
Then, you have to answer KSAs. If a job requires specific skills, why
doesn't it just state that in the job description? The hiring authority
should be able to then select those applicants with that experience to narrow
down the selection. I don't ever recall applying for a position in the commercial
sector where they asked you to write KSAs.
Also, positions that are specifically created for in-house personnel
promotions are announced to "everyone", and very few positions will pay
The human resources area of civil service seems to have suffered severely
due to regionalization and job cuts. The current hiring process for federal
workers is a "broken process." In turn, it has caused the federal service
to miss out, time and time again, on much needed, more knowledgeable and
better disciplined IT workers.
Two years from January 2002, the government will see a mass exodus of
IT workers who received the IT incentive pay increase and are just waiting
for their "high three" to retire. Will the federal government be prepared?
Name withheld by request