Hiring Reform: One Year Later

Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry provided an update on the Obama administration's hiring reform effort at Government Executive's Leadership Briefing this morning. Tom Shoop reports on FedBlog some of the key changes that have resulted from the now one-year-old effort:

  • 91 percent of federal jobs are now filled based on resumes and cover letters, rather than lengthy essay questions, up from 39 percent in 2009.
  • 96 percent of job announcements no longer include the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) statements.
  • 89 percent of jobs are filled using a category rating system, rather than requiring managers to select from the top three highest ranked candidates for a position.
  • 86 percent of announcements are written in plain language, with 36 percent of them five or fewer pages long.
  • The government is filling new positions in 105 days on average. The Education Department is averaging 65 days.

"These are major accomplishments, but we're not done yet," Berry said. "OPM will continue to be the champion of the frustrated applicant and federal manager."

The Obama administration last year unveiled plans to streamline the process agencies use to hire government workers. An overhaul of the federal hiring process has been considered by many experts to be critical to the federal IT workforce.

The "Net Generation" report released last year by the federal Chief Information Officers Council warned of "great potential for a cascade of retirements over the next decade or more," including among the 108,000-plus federal IT workforce. To backfill many of those jobs, agencies will have to attract and hire a large number of young workers between 17 and 31 years old, and this requires eliminating many longstanding practices, including the cumbersome federal hiring process, the report noted.

Have you applied for a federal IT job in the past year? Have the Obama administration's reforms made the process easier?