Fed jobs site a big hit

Recruitment One-Stop site

The Office of Personnel Management drew 309,000 visitors to its revamped USAJobs Web site on its opening day this week.

Emulating a dot-com site launch, OPM sent e-mails to almost 293,000 job seekers and 740 recruiters to announce the site's new features, which include a faster job-search engine, sorting capabilities and a more attractive appearance. The 18,000 job listings on the old site and the user accounts, including 366,711 resumes, were migrated to the new one, which was launched Monday.

Site users can store up to five resumes online, build a personal home page on the site and create and store application letters. Later this year, the site will provide the status of their job applications.

Agencies' human resources offices can search resumes for potential hires. This fall, they will be able to screen online applications.

USAJobs' first-day popularity marked a sharp increase from the previous Monday, when only 36,000 people visited the site. OPM officials said the average visit on the new site lasted about 14 minutes, which caused them to call their site sticky, meaning its able to hold visitors' interest.

The job portal is the federal government's primary means of reaching potential employees. Job-seekers who visit OPM's headquarters in Washington, D.C., are advised to look online for information about job openings and how to apply.

The updated site was delayed for several weeks this year after an unsuccessful bidder protested the selection of TMP Worldwide Inc.'s Monster Government Solutions unit as the contractor for development and operation of the site.

The General Accounting Office upheld the protest on April 29, ruling that OPM had evaluated the bids improperly. But in late July, OPM notified federal auditors that it would not reopen the competition for the contract.

"No other contractor can complete the system within Government's required timeframe," OPM General Counsel Mark Robbins wrote in a letter to the accounting office, adding that OPM already has spent $4.8 million for the work to date.

The USAJobs site is the major piece of the Recruitment One-Stop project, one of the Bush administration's 24 priority e-government initiatives. Achieving Recruitment One-Stop's chief goal of attracting high-quality applicants means making federal job announcements more understandable and interesting.

USAJobs' latest version follows a major upgrade in June 2002. More improvements are expected later this year. OPM will spend $62 million over 10 years for the site if it exercises all of its contract options, an agency spokesman said.

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