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 PCS costs.

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


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