Streamlined job application process pays off, OPM says

The time it takes to hire a new federal employee has decreased 15 percent to a governmentwide average of 105 days, according to the Office of Personnel Management.

During a panel discussion at the National Press Club on May 18, OPM Director John Berry said OPM has supported federal agencies with 351 training sessions in 66 cities for 17,300 people involved in federal hiring.

That has resulted in hiring based on resumes and cover letters -- rather than detailed answers to questions about knowledge, skills and abilities [KSAs] --91 percent of the time; 96 percent of job opportunity announcements no longer requiring written essays; and shorter, easy-to-read job announcements, with 86 percent in plain language, Berry said.

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In addition, federal hiring managers now see more resumes because 89 percent of job announcements have a category rating, he said, adding, “Our governmentwide efforts will ensure that we build and maintain the modern hiring system we need to attract the next wave of the best and brightest Americans to federal employment,” Berry said.

President Barack Obama issued a memo in May 2010 outlining the steps he wanted agencies to take to improve and update the federal hiring process. Since then, OPM has worked with the Office of Management and Budget to make hiring less burdensome for applicants and agencies.

Meanwhile, OPM started a new website earlier this month to provide the federal government with one-step access to a variety of recruitment resources.

The site,, has information on effective recruitment strategies and aims to encourage collaborative development of recruitment best practices. There are also live blogs and forums available where employees in charge of recruiting can discuss the problems they face and potential solutions.

OPM also told agencies in April that they will soon be required to submit reports every quarter showing how long it takes them to hire new employees.

Despite these milestones, Berry said there is plenty left to do when it comes to hiring reform. “These are major accomplishments, but we’re not done yet,” he said. “OPM will continue to be the champion of the frustrated applicant and federal manager.”

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.


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