Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Get a Life!: Improving Hiring

At a time when a recent report warns of needing 277,000 new government workers by 2012, including about 11,500 in information technology, others warn that with the current hiring process, it ain’t gonna happen.

Comments on Federal Computer Week and Government Computer Week articles focus on problems with the KSAs, those knowledge and skill essays that help hiring officials determine whether an applicant has the critical experience for the job. Others tell of the excessively long, often never-ending delays in processing applicants. Some tell of never hearing anything; others wait a year or more for a phone call. Horror stories abound.

So it makes sense that the Office of Personnel Management has a set a strategic goal for 2010 to reform recruiting and hiring policies and procedures. The effort envisions sweeping changes to streamline the process. The proof, of course, will be in the pudding, to use an old metaphor. Will OPM really accomplish what is needed?

OPM has listed and defined indicators of progress it hopes to see. And you can still comment on the draft until September 11. The strategic goal calls for a decrease in hiring time and an increase in applicant satisfaction “as reported in surveys.” Of course, the amount of decrease in hiring time remains unstated.

If wishful thinking could prevail, we would see a radical change to make government hiring more like it is in the private sector, in which a resume is submitted, extensive interview or interviews held, references checked, and hiring occurs within a few short months or less.

Sure, a background security check is needed for many positions in government, but not for all. And even so, if government seriously needs to hire tens of thousands of people, then security investigation also needs to expand its force to help make it happen.

OPM hopes to lighten the load through government-wide reciprocity. That implies that if a person is trying to move around in government, and already has clearance, it would apply to other positions. Similarly, if someone from private industry has had a security clearance for government contract work, which should also suffice or meet some of the requirements.

Posted by Judith Welles on Sep 09, 2009 at 12:12 PM


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