Government's 80-day hiring goal on track
Federal agencies are on course to start hiring new job applicants with a quicker, resume-based system in November, government hiring managers said Tuesday.
President Obama in May ordered federal agencies to hit the gas on hiring, giving officials until November to cut the federal job application process to an average of 80 days by switching from a reliance on lengthy essays to shorter application forms and resumes. The efforts are part of Obama's campaign pledge to make the government an attractive employer to a wider pool of job seekers.
Most, if not all agencies will be ready by November, but changes will continue for several years, said Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry.
"November isn't the end date of hiring reform," he said. "That is the date that we'll be moving to a resume-based world." Hiring managers must keep focused on the issue in the coming years, because "Even when we do achieve and reach the goal of 80 days and good quality applicants, if you take our eye off that ball, we'll be missing it," he said.
Kathy Ott, acting deputy undersecretary for civilian personnel policy at the Defense Department, said the Pentagon's hiring reform plans "go out several years." The department, the government's largest civilian employer, hired 163,000 new civilian workers this fiscal year, a process that averaged 119 days for new hires and 42 days to hire someone for the openings from within the department, she said.
The Department of Veterans Affairs -- the government's second largest employer -- is training more than 3,800 human resources officials about the new hiring policy, said Annie Spiczak, VA associate deputy assistant secretary for human resources.
The training should help ensure agencies can focus on meeting the tight 80-day turnaround and still hire qualified candidates, Berry said.
"I don't want people just making knee-jerk selections to artificially meet an 80-day deadline," he said. "The goal is to be able to improve our process so we can do a better job."
Berry also said he hopes the administration later this fall announces proposed changes to the Federal Career Internship Program, a two-year internship for college students who are often get hired as full-time employees. Federal unions pan the program as a backdoor way to selectively hire applicants.
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| September 14, 2010; 12:47 PM ET
Categories: Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues
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