OPM is gaga over Google helping attract new hires

Office of Personnel Management officials say they are eager to make federal job vacancy announcements more readily available to the public through commercial search engines. Linking with search engine giant Google is one way to get the word out, and OPM is doing that with its USAJobs
program.

In partnering with Google, OPM has enabled job seekers to access information about federal job openings via the world’s largest search engine. Using the data feed from USAJobs, the government’s central job-search portal, Google users can get information previously available only through a keyword search on the USAJobs Web site.

The initiative goes far to raise the visibility of federal job postings, OPM officials say.

“By doing this, we’re making information about tens of thousands of federal job openings posted at any given moment on USAJobs as broadly accessible as possible on the Web,” OPM Director Linda Springer said. “The result is [that] we’re reaching an ever-wider and more diverse universe of qualified prospects for federal employment.”

A job seeker who enters a title such as information technology specialist or electrical engineer in the search field on Google will now see links to federal vacancy announcements from USAJobs in the search results. The enhanced access became effective on a pilot project basis Dec. 1, OPM said.

About 60,000 federal job openings are listed on USAJobs, which averages more than 10 million visitors each month. Those visitors generate more than 123 million monthly page hits. USAJobs has more than 2 million résumés on file.

Google, not OPM, took the initiative to establish the partnership, said USAJobs Program Director Steve Connelly.

“Google approached us at the end of September about this opportunity,”Connelly said. “We weighed its merit for a little over three weeks in…October and opted to proceed.”

OPM officials do not know what prompted Google officials to approach OPM about linking up. “You would have to ask Google,” said Kay Ely, OPM’s associate director.

As this issue went to press, Google had not replied to a request for comment.

Google is known for its aggressive expansion efforts. Incorporated nine years ago, the company has burgeoned quickly beyond its initial Web search and advertising business into a $23 billion enterprise.
OPM says it isn’t restricting its search operation to Google. Officials also plan to provide the data feed to other search engines.

“At this point, we’re still running a trial and proving the quality of the data feed, and we intend to make that feed available to other search engines and other bona fide requesters in early January,” Connelly said.

OPM wants to achieve the widest possible exposure for federal job openings. “It’s fair to say that we’re going to continue to be open to whatever ideas that are possible to open up the job market — make it even more accessible for job seekers,” Ely added. “We’re excited about rolling it out and anxious to see the results.”

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