USAJobs 3.0 sees sharp drop in job applications

Federal officials say 3.0 is successfully accepting thousands of job applications two weeks after its launch, but an analysis shows the number appears to be sharply below the average of the previous version of the website.

A comparison of USAJobs 3.0 to its previous 2.0 version shows that the current number of applications being filed is at least 60 percent less than the average of the former version of the website.

On Oct. 23, the Office of Personnel Management announced that 275,000 job applications have been submitted through USAJobs 3.0 in the 12 days since the system went live.

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“The servers and content delivery system are making steady progress,” Angela Bailey, associate administrator, said in a statement. “Over 275,000 applications have been successfully submitted in the last 12 days.”

OPM introduced the new federal job search Web portal Version 3.0 after 18 months of development. It hosts the system on its own servers and services it with its own employees. Previously, it was hosted as part of under a contract.

Although OPM viewed the number of job applications submitted as a sign of progress, a comparison suggests the number is far below the average for the site when it was operating under

According to information provided by OPM in August, the website receives about 22 million job applications a year.

That would be the equivalent of 1.8 million applications filed per month, or about 733,000 applications over a 12-day period. The current figure of 275,000 applications in 12 days is about 62 percent less than that average.

An industry source supported that finding, saying that USAJobs traffic averaged about 57,000 applications received per day in 2010, which would have resulted in an average of 684,000 applications in 12 days. The current figure would be a 60 percent drop from that.

The relatively low number of applications processed by USAJobs this month could be the latest indication of ongoing technical glitches and operating problems affecting the website since its debut. The job application numbers are not conclusive, because they could also be reflecting other factors, such as the number of available jobs. OPM officials have said they are working throughout the day and night to address the problems.

Meanwhile, USAJobs users continue to post concerns on Facebook. In a 24-hour period that ended Oct. 24, there were 89 negative comments, 32 neutral comments and 9 positive comments posted by users, according to an analysis by Federal Computer Week. OPM officials posted 62 comments on Facebook during the period.

Since the launch, users have complained of password problems, lack of access to the site, inaccurate and dropped searches, lost data and other problems. OPM previously acknowledged several thousand trouble tickets from users and has installed additional servers to deal with what it believes is extremely high traffic on the website.

Although a number of users have asked OPM to revert to the former configuration until the problems are resolved, OPM officials said that was not possible.

“OPM is not considering taking the system offline. The back-end systems have done so much recoding that it is not possible to go back to USAJOBS 2.0,” the agency said in an emailed statement.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.


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