The USAJobs website was recently updated to make it easier for job seekers to use and to find a job with the Federal Government. The site reflects the changing methods of finding and applying for government employment and it is likely to become increasingly important as baby boomers reach retirement age and government agencies are looking for more candidates to fill those vacant jobs. Moreover, as noted in a recent article cited on Fedsmith.com, more people are seeking Federal jobs as people recognize the advantages of the job security and benefits package that are relatively stable and getting better in some instances while many private companies are cutting back benefits and laying people off.
Our survey last week on the new site revealed what people like about the new site and what they don’t like about the Federal Government’s hiring process in general. As one unhappy reader observed, “Getting a Federal job is like winning the lottery. But it doesn’t usually happen unless someone in the agency already knows you.”
We recently asked readers whether they have used USAJobs when searching for a job in government. A high percentage (87%) said they did use the site. And 55% of those responding to our Internet survey indicated they used the USAJobs website to apply for a job.
Not surprisingly, the percentage of respondents who actually got a job through the site was much lower (23%). Realistically, most job seekers would quickly go to a site where 23% of applicants ultimately were offered a job with the Federal Government.
A number of our readers are already Federal employees and many of them use USAJobs to change jobs within the large umbrella of the Federal Government. 44% of our respondents say they changed to a new Federal job in the past three years and 14% indicated they became a new Federal employee within the past three years.
Not surprisingly, people responsible for helping others find jobs also use the site. We received a number of comments from readers. Here is a comment from a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist with the Veterans Administration in Florida:
“I have used the link to provide jobs for veterans that are working in a rehabilitation program. It works very well and we have had great results. I offer the job site to any person seeking federal employment. It is easy to download applications and information.”
A Personnel Management Specialist from the FAA in Oklahoma City had this to say about the new site:
“Being a personnelist, I have checked out the new USA Jobs web site, even though I have not used it for myself. It looks pretty slick and should be easy for applicants to use.”
And a Customer Relations Manager from GSA in the State of Washington echoes that sentiment with this comment:
“USA Jobs is a Great Site! I have recommended it to many job seekers.”
The site could be improved though in the view of some professionals in the staffing field. This Human Resources Specialist from HUD urged an expansion of the system:
“Unfortunately, all Federal vacancies are not advertized (sic) on OPM’s site. Too bad. A one-stop board to view all Federal vacancies at once would greatly simplify job hunting.”
When doing a survey on employment in the Federal Government, there are a number of issues that are relevant. While our survey was limited to the use of the USAJobs web site, we also received comments about finding a Federal job. One reader from DC has a view about the system which he expressed this way:
“Most of the jobs listed on the USAJOBS site are only for show. It is an open secret that the great majority of Government jobs are pre-determined and wired. A tell-tale sign is when the open period is two weeks. That demonstrates that the agency is not interested in obtaining the widest pool of applicants possible. I would prefer not to know about a job I’ll never get even if I’m fully qualified, than have to spend the time and effort applying for that job (to say nothing about getting my hopes up).”
Obviously, the USAJobs site doesn’t create a staffing system that is above criticism. A number of people have found finding a job with the government slow and unresponsive. Finding a job vacancy doesn’t change the underlying process as this reader from the Coast Guard in Washington, DC explains:
“The process was extremely long and time consuming. It took 6 months before they even got back to me to schedule an interview. By then I almost gave up and would have went (sic) to the private sector, which followed up with me quickly after submitting my resume.”
A Labor Relations Specialist from the Forest Service in Colorado didn’t like the resume portion of the site. Here are his comments:
“I’ve applied for federal jobs using vacancy announcements on USAJobs, but the time I tried to do the online resume, it wouldn’t let me put any experience in the form.”