Senate passes bill to fix federal hiring process

Senate bill and recent presidential memo feature similar fixes for the complex hiring system

The Senate has approved legislation that would streamline the current system for hiring federal employees. The Federal Hiring Process Improvement Act (S. 736) passed by unanimous consent on May 18, and now goes to the House.

The legislation, introduced last year by Sens. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio), is similar to the president’s recent memo to overhaul the same system. They both want job descriptions written in plain language and to allow job seekers to submit resumes. The senators said agencies should do away with the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA) essay questions. Both the legislation and the memo tell agencies to reach out to wide pools of diverse job candidates.


Related stories:

Obama streamlines federal hiring process 

Bill would simplify federal hiring process


The bill deals with the government’s communication problems with applicants. It would require agencies give an estimated timeline for the steps of the hiring process and send out several notices to interviewees, including when their application is received, when the initial qualification rankings are completed, and when the position is filled.

"The federal government must adapt to meet the best practices of the private sector for hiring in order to be the nation’s employer of choice," Akaka said today in a statement.

On May 11, President Barack Obama issued his memo on improving the hiring process. He wrote the system is so complex and inefficient that highly qualified people don’t apply for government jobs.

“Americans must be able to apply for federal jobs through a common-sense hiring process, and agencies must be able to select high-quality candidates efficiently and quickly,” he wrote.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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Reader comments

Fri, May 28, 2010 ep_vet McLean, VA

Agencies need to do a MUCH better job of selling themselves to potential employees. It is important to recognize that the attraction, recruitment, hiring process is, essentially establishing a “selling/buying transaction” with citizens. Job seekers:
•have choice between and among jobs in government agencies and industry,
•research alternatives using available information,
•are not a uniform or homogeneous population with the same needs and requirements,
•make job decisions based upon “best value,” which could include agency culture or mission; most interesting job assignment; job location, work schedule and other quality of life considerations; perceived job stability; salary, benefits or promotion potential; etc.
The best response to that understanding is for agencies to consider hiring as a “selling transaction” requiring market research, packaging, branding, marketing and closing, including segmentation and differentiation messaging that communicates across all of the targeted segments of the multi-generational workforce.
Agencies need to address this demand for agency-specific information and “branding,” possibly including different landing pages for different demographics so that messaging can be properly tailored to the different populations (students, mid-career, core occupational specialty, executive.)

Thu, May 20, 2010

Congress has been fixing something since day 1......

Thu, May 20, 2010 Beel VA

LONG overdue! All 2 million of us Feds have 'horror stories' about getting hired. Finally, reform is on the horizon!!

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