OPM pushes swift hiring

Office of Personnel Management officials say they can show federal agencies how to hire qualified candidates within 45 days.

Kay Coles James, OPM director, announced a day-long symposium to be held June 29 for human resources staffers to teach them how to speed up the process from application to job.

"These are tools that can help streamline your recruitment and hiring, and we will make sure your staff is equipped to employ them in your agency," she said in a memo June 4.

As an example, she cited guidelines that allow the hiring of veterans and allowing agencies to seek direct hiring authority from OPM.

Earlier this week, James gave the Department of Health and Human Services and the Homeland Security Department permission to swiftly fill critical positions.

The request for "direct-hire authority is a perfect example of an agency addressing their human [resources] problems and utilizing current flexibilities to address a critical need situation," James said.

A governmentwide survey on federal hiring recently found that human resource departments were not using the tools available to help improve the hiring process.

The OPM survey conducted earlier this year titled "Working for America: Agency Survey on Improving Federal Hiring" concluded that OPM must "launch an agency by agency effort to highlight and remedy the gaps that keep the federal government from realizing its human capital potential."

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