The DorobekINSIDER reader: OPM’s streamlined hiring reforms

One of the big stories of the past week was the OPM announcement what they termed as “a major overhaul of the Federal hiring process.
These seems to be a very important step — changing the way feds look at the process of hiring. Specifically, doing away with KSAs seems like a important step. I had one friend who was applying for a federal job who said her first relationship with the federal government was with bureaucracy through the knowledge, skills and abilities essays. They represent an odd relic that seemed to serve no real purpose.

The real question, as GovExec editor in chief Tom Shoop rightly points out, is how these reforms actually get implemented — what changes, and how they change.

Here is the rundown of the changes, according to the OPM release:

In his Memorandum, President Obama directed Federal agencies to:

  • Dramatically reduce the time between when a job is announced and is filled.
  • Eliminate essay-s as an initial application requirement. Essays may still be used later in the process. Under the previous system, if an individual applied for five separate Federal jobs, he or she often needed to complete five separate sets of lengthy essays.
  • Use shorter, plain-language job announcements.
  • Accept resumes from applicants, instead of requiring them to submit complex applications through outdated systems.
  • Allow hiring managers to choose from among a group of best qualified candidates, rather than limiting their choice to just three names, through expanded use of “category ratings.”
  • Notify applicants in a timely manner (and at four points in the process) through – eliminating the “black hole” that applicants often feel they when they get no response to their application.
  • Submit a hiring and recruitment plan for top talent to OPM by the end of this year.
  • Have all Cabinet-level and Senior Administration Officials visiting universities or colleges on official business incorporate time to discuss career opportunities in the Federal service with students.

Additionally, the President directed OPM to:

  • Design a government-wide plan for recruiting and hiring qualified, diverse talent.
  • Review the Federal Career Intern Program and, within 90 days, offer a recommendation to the President on its future and on providing effective pathways into the Federal service for college students and graduates.
  • Work with agencies to ensure that best practices are being developed and used throughout Government.

Some other resources around the hiring reforms:

* The OPM’s new hiring reform Web site:

* Remarks by OPM Director John Berryhear the audio from here…. or here:

* The memo sent to agencies: Comprehensive Recruitment and Hiring Reform, Implementation of the President’s Memorandum of May 11, 2010

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