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“In the next five years, the Federal Government will lose a significant portion of its valued workforce through attrition, primarily due to retirement.”

Hiring Reform

In the next five years, the Federal Government will lose a significant portion of its valued workforce through attrition, primarily due to retirement. The Government’s ability to replace this loss of skills and experience with new talent will depend on the government's capability to efficiently and effectively recruit, hire and retain high performing employees.

There is broad agreement that the current competitive hiring process could be improved. Applicants regularly report confusion about differences among agencies’ application processes, complex application requirements that are difficult to meet, and lack of communications from the agencies as to the hiring process and the applicant’s status. Human Resources (HR) professionals express frustration at a perceived lack of managerial commitment to participate fully in the key elements of hiring such as workforce planning and delays in decision making that slows the process. Managers complain that HR policies and procedures are unclear, overly bureaucratic and non-responsive to their needs.

These combined frustrations make it more difficult for the Federal Government to hire qualified employees in the stiff competition for the top talent.

Past attempts to address hiring processes have taken a component-by-component (or stovepiped) approach. Based on these previous experiences and agencies’ current hiring needs, OPM decided to take a new, comprehensive and integrated approach to Federal hiring. In 2008, OPM launched four initiatives, all designed to honor the Pledge to Applicants by transforming the hiring experience for applicants, managers and HR. These initiatives are:

Streamlined job opportunity announcement: In early April, OPM created a new job announcement template for Governmentwide entry-level accounting and secretarial vacancies. Since April, OPM has collaborated with the Federal Acquisition Institute, along with the Chief Information Officer Council, and Patent and Trade Office, and the Chief Financial Officer Council (to name a few) in developing additional streamlined job announcements for the acquisition, information technology, patent and trademark, and law enforcement communities. The new templates reduce the length and complexity of traditional announcements–OPM’s model is now approximately four pages written in plain language and eliminates the additional requirement, beyond the resume, for further explaining the applicants’ knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs).

Centralized repository of qualified applicants for the acquisition community: OPM brokered an agreement across major agencies and organizations involved in recruitment for the Governmentwide mission critical occupations (for example: Contract Specialist). The agreement creates a centralized repository of qualified applicants for entry-level acquisition positions. Participating agencies will be able to draw from this central repository for immediate placement of individuals who have already been certified as qualified for these positions. Currently, participants include DOD, the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI) OPM and others.

Senior Executive Service (SES) Pilot: OPM initiated a two-pronged approach to hiring at the Government’s highest levels: one approach provides for ascertaining that the applicant possesses Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) based solely upon his or her resume and the other approach stays more in line with traditional hiring by requiring the applicant to demonstrate possession of ECQs in a more narrative form. This new practice, which has been implemented as a pilot, will allow OPM to determine whether more streamlined job announcements for its executive leadership will result.

End-to-End (E2E) Hiring Initiative: OPM joined with the Chief Human Capital Officers Council Subcommittee for Hiring and Succession Planning to transform Federal hiring by strategically integrating and reengineering its five components: workforce planning, recruitment, hiring process, security and suitability and orientation.

On May 11, 2010, President Obama signed a memorandum titled "Improving the Federal Recruitment and Hiring Process." This memorandum is part of the Administration's comprehensive initiative to address major, longstanding impediments to recruiting and hiring the best and the brightest into the Federal civilian workforce.

The Presidential Memorandum launches the Obama Administration's flagship personnel policy reform initiative. It builds on a nearly year-long collaboration between OPM and agencies aimed al recruiting top talent and streamlining the hiring process, especially for mission-critical jobs. There is no better time to apply for a federal job than in today's competitive job market!

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