Federal Manager's Daily Report

In the latest of many reports citing the need for improvements in the hiring process, the Partnership for Public Service has said those problems are hampering the government’s ability to respond to the pandemic and meet other important challenges.

“Too often, the applicant experience is miserable, plagued by confusing job announcements, a USAJobs platform that is difficult to use, and a cumbersome hiring process that can take months to complete. Even after collecting resumes, agencies rely too frequently on outdated methods to evaluate candidates, causing them to overlook the most qualified,” it said.

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One result, it said, is a government top-heavy in terms of age in mission-critical occupations. Among IT specialists, 52 percent are over 50 vs. 3 percent under 30; for HR specialists, 46 vs. 4; for auditors, 39 vs. 6; for contract specialists, 39 vs. 7; and for economists, 36 vs. 8.

Like a recently issued report from another good government group, the National Academy for Public Administration, the report says that given the lack of changes in law despite long-standing proposals, agencies can take some matters into their own hands. These include that agencies should:

* “Strategically identify their talent needs for both today and tomorrow” through long-range workforce plans that “identify an organization’s priorities, spell out how many employees are in each type of role, how many are needed, and what skills the workforce must possess if the organization is to accomplish its goals.”

* “Recruit more effectively and efficiently by being proactive, promoting their brand, keeping in touch with former employees and targeting young people.”

* “Ensure that they hire the best applicants by creating a better candidate experience and using innovative techniques to identify who is most qualified.”

* “Look inward for the next generation of talent” for example by giving interns meaningful assignments that involve the type of work they would be assigned at entry levels, “placing interns with engaging supervisors, and even reminding supervisors to reach out to them during the school year to say happy holidays or good luck on final exams.”

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