The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has not been silent about its desire to change the federal hiring process which, it says, is too complex, takes too long and doesn’t get the job done in helping increase the size of Uncle Sam’s civilian army. FedSmith readers have also chimed in with the view that the federal hiring system was dysfunctional.
So it is not a surprise to see some substantial changes now being introduced.
OPM has established a central hiring registry to bring new federal employees into some selected positions. The agency has posted job opportunity announcements under competitive examining procedures to establish 14 new standing registers, covering common occupations with high hiring volume across the Federal Government.
OPM says that this new process incorporates:
- Streamlined job opportunity announcements
- Category rating procedures – a wider range of candidates from which to select
- Online, unproctored assessment tools
- OPM maintenance – includes referring high quality candidates, responding to applicant inquiries, removing unavailable candidates, etc. Notification to applicants will be sent at all four applicant communication touch points.
- Referral of names from these registers at no cost to agencies.
The new registries do not cover all federal jobs. The jobs covered are limited to these:
- Accountant, GS-0510–7
- Budget Analyst, GS-0560–11/12
- Contact Representative, GS-0962–5
- Contract Specialist, GS-1102–11/12/13 (DOD positions)
- Contract Specialist, GS-1102–11/12/13 (non-DOD positions)
- Financial Management Specialist, GS-0501–11/12
- Human Resources Specialist (Recruitment and Placement), GS-0201–11/12 /13
- Human Resources Specialist (Classification), GS-0201–11/12/13
- Information Technology Specialist, GS-2210–11/12, covers General, Applications Software, Network Services, Systems Administration, and Systems Analysis
- Management and Program Analyst, GS-0343–7
- Security Specialist, GS-0080–11/12, covers General, Personnel, and Physical
- Secretary (Office Automation), GS-0318–5 (pilot–limited locations)
- Miscellaneous Clerk and Assistant, GS-0303–5 (pilot-limited locations)
- Human Resources Assistant, GS-0203–5 (pilot-limited locations)
OPM says that using this system will speed up the hiring process by three-five weeks.
In a memo to human resources offices, OPM said: "Please consider requesting certificates as soon as possible, as unnecessary delay may frustrate the applicants. We feel it is a great opportunity for agencies to address some of their current staffing challenges."
While the process is free to agencies, there are requirements that have to be met by the agencies using the system. These requirements include requesting a certificate of eligible candidates from OPM and ensuring that the jobs being filled by an agency are appropriate for the position requirements.
Whether this system will work remains to be seen. The ultimate test will be whether the system provides high quality candidates that an agency actually wants to hire. If that happens, and the system works as fast and smoothly as advertised, it may succeed. If agencies find that the candidates are not the same quality as those hired under the current system, most agencies will quickly revert to the current system.