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USAJobs relaunch was 'living hell,' OPM official says

The first week after the Office of Personnel Management's extremely buggy launch of USAJobs 3.0, the newly insourced federal jobs board, was "living hell," the agency's chief information officer said Wednesday.

"No one could have ever expected to have the volume of people hit the site that we had," CIO Matthew Perry said, describing the rush of job seekers that overwhelmed OPM servers, causing the site to crash repeatedly after its Oct. 11 relaunch.

In addition to adding a spate of new servers to manage increased volume in the weeks after the relaunch, OPM sought advice from industry, including Google and Microsoft's Bing, which weighed in on fixing the site's failing search function, Perry said.

"I can't say we've turned the corner," he said. "I can tell you we've had over 1.5 million applications processed, and I can tell you we've gone from 4,000 help desk tickets a day to under 200 for the last three days."

Perry was speaking at a lunch event organized by the nonprofit Association for Federal Information Resources Managers.

The federal jobs site was run by Monster.com prior to its October relaunch. OPM Director John Berry argued the comingling of federal employee data with private sector data left federal employees too vulnerable to identity theft.

USAJobs was hacked while under Monster.com's supervision in 2009.

OPM has blamed users for some relaunch failures, such as people who forgot answers to their security questions so they couldn't reset their passwords, or who had verification emails sent to outdated email addresses. The site reset all user passwords for security reasons as part of the relaunch.

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