Federal Manager's Daily Report

The federal government is facing one of the greatest

transformations to the civil service in 50 years, and


defining the appropriate roles and day to day working

relationships for hiring practices for Office of

Personnel Management and agencies is crucial to meeting

ambitious hiring goals over the new few years, the

General Accounting Office has said.

It said OPM and individual agencies — who are doing

some finger pointing regarding who is to blame for lack

of progress on hiring reforms — need to focus on fixing

the job classification process and improving tools to

assess the qualifications of job candidates.

GAO said agencies have been slow to use two new hiring

flexibilities: direct hire authority, and category

rating, which allows agencies to select any candidate

placed in a best-qualified category.

It reached that conclusion based on a survey of agency

chief human capital officers, noting that OPM dismissed

the survey because it felt CHCOs weren’t knowledgeable

enough to respond meaningfully to it.

The surveyed CHCOs said there is a lack of OPM guidance

for using the above hiring flexibilities, a lack of

agency policies and procedures for using them, a lack

of OPM rules and regulations, and concern about possible

inconsistencies in the implementation of the

flexibilities within departments or agencies, said GAO.

It did however point out improvements OPM has made in

modernizing vacancy announcements and its efforts to

promote hiring flexibilities, some of which agencies

have begun to use — reiterating that improvements will

have to increase if the federal government is to meet

its hiring goals over the next few years.