The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved a bill on Wednesday to streamline the federal recruiting and hiring process. The bill (S. 736) requires agencies to:
- develop strategic workforce plans to address hiring projections and critical skills gaps in the workforce; post clear job announcements in plain writing;
- no longer require "knowledge, skills and abilities" essays; provide timely notification to applicants of their application status;
- keep an inventory of all applicants who elect to be considered for other federal vacancies, measure the effectiveness of hiring efforts and reforms;
- and take no more than 80 days from the time a manager decides to fill a vacancy to the time an offer is made for the vacant position.
Federal hiring reform is considered by many as key to recruiting and hiring top talent into federal information technology jobs, and it looks like this bill gets to the bottom of many problems in the process. While the federal application process has been electronic for years, it has only made the process easier for agency human resource managers and has not reduced the burden on the applicant, many chief human capital officers say. In addition to these reforms, it seems to me that agencies could make good by leveraging in technology and Web 2.0 tools to better facilitate the hiring process and communicate with applicants.