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Comprehensive Recruitment and Hiring Reform, Implementation of the President’s Memorandum of May 11, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies
John Berry, Director
Comprehensive Recruitment and Hiring Reform, Implementation of the President’s Memorandum of May 11, 2010

President Obama’s Memorandum dated May 11, 2010, Improving the Federal Recruitment and Hiring Process,, is part of the Administration’s comprehensive initiative to address major, long-standing impediments to recruiting and hiring the best and the brightest into the Federal civilian workforce. The Memorandum is based on issues that you and your managers have brought to the attention of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and it is designed to help you and your agencies build the workforce you need to achieve your goals.

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 at recruiting top talent and streamlining the hiring process, especially for mission-critical jobs. Agencies have already taken significant strides to map their current hiring process, identify barriers and put in place action plans to streamline and improve the way they hire.

Building on these efforts, the President’s initiative challenges agencies and OPM to focus on three key objectives to further reform the hiring process:

Initiating a vigorous Government-wide recruiting effort that makes it easier for Americans to apply for Federal jobs while also raising the bar on candidate quality;
Giving managers and supervisors a greater leadership role in recruiting and selecting candidates with support from their agency human resources offices; and
Monitoring agency efforts to improve the speed and quality of hiring and the satisfaction of managers and applicants with the hiring experience.

These reforms take a commonsense approach to the overall hiring process. They rigorously adhere to the merit system principles upon which the civil service is grounded. Following on the President’s Veterans Employment Initiative of November 2009, this reform package honors the sacrifice and commitment of our veterans by safeguarding their rights under law.

Successful implementation of these reforms will help each agency achieve its objectives for the American people, but these reforms will not succeed without strong leadership from the top. The President’s initiative sets a new course with clear objectives and detailed guidance, followed by continuous two-way communication between your agency and OPM; you will receive expert support at each step along the way.

OPM Assistance

OPM’s number one goal over the next year is to provide agencies a full range of support to help them meet the President’s ambitious recruitment and hiring reform objectives. Here are some examples of the kind of support OPM has planned over the next six months:

Hiring Reform Web Page: This newly created site will contain the latest information, news, and media releases about hiring reform. It will have a section called “HR to HR” designed for human resources professionals to share information and highlight successful practices. The site will also provide policy, guidance and training materials to help agencies meet each of the requirements established by the President’s memorandum. Please go to for the latest information on hiring reform.
Collaborative Network/Community of Practice: OPM has established a reform-focused collaborative space for agencies on OMB’s MAX site, which we are calling Hiring Reform `10. You can access this site at If you are not yet a member of MAX, please follow the directions for registering so that you can benefit from the full range of hiring reform information, collaboration, and shared innovation in a “closed” Federal-employee only environment.
Targeted Agency Support: Last year OPM led SWAT teams through an evaluation of agency hiring practices. That effort yielded critical information about the challenges agencies face in trying to improve their recruiting and hiring. By June 4, agencies will also have identified specific areas where they need the most help. OPM will use all of this information to target support for agencies to help them implement the President’s reform agenda. If you would like to see the current analysis of Agency SWAT team results, go to the MAX site under Hiring Reform ‘10.
Mobile Assistance Teams (MATs): As a complement to the targeted assistance described above, OPM has assembled several Mobile Assistance Teams, made up of experienced OPM and agency staff, with expertise in recruiting, staffing, and related human resources areas. The MATs are ready to offer skilled, hands-on assistance and expert guidance to help agencies meet the President’s hiring reform goals. A description of what each MAT will handle, along with the OPM MAT-team leads are available at both the Hiring Reform website and the Hiring Reform ‘10 MAX site.
Communication and Training: OPM will offer training, education and communication in a variety of formats. Here are some examples:

“Bite-size” awareness training: OPM is designing a series of “bite-size” training sessions for busy HR professionals and hiring managers. These sessions offer a basic overview of the President’s memorandum and its requirements. For a quick look at a session we have already developed, please go to We’ve started a series for the “Harried Professional,” starting with Schedule A training for hiring managers.
Seminars: We will hold a series of in-depth training seminars for both human resources professionals and line managers. These sessions will offer “how-to” training and highlight lessons learned from successful agency practices.
“Do-It-Yourself” Training Material: OPM has prepared talking points, PowerPoint slides, and other instructional material that HR professionals and hiring managers can use to discuss hiring reform throughout their agencies.
o Frequently Asked Questions (Q&As): OPM has prepared a set of Questions and Answers to help agencies carry out the President’s reform requirements and improve their recruitment and hiring programs. We have grouped the Q&As under broad categories that track along with the President’s Memorandum and will make these available on our Hiring Reform web page.

In addition to drawing on OPM for help, agencies should continue to use their previously identified SWAT team members to implement hiring reforms. These teams have already done excellent diagnostic work around hiring reform and are a ready-made resource to drive further progress.

Key Deliverables

To ensure the President’s agenda is accomplished by November 1, 2010, the following key deliverables for OPM and agencies apply:


May 12, 2010. MATs available to provide Agency-specific assistance. The MAT leaders and areas of responsibility are found at: and
May 12 – May 26, 2010. OPM Hiring Reform Implementation Senior Leadership Team available to help Agencies with on-site awareness and education. Requests for assistance can be made directly to Ms. Angela Bailey at
May 15, 2010. Delineation of measures to monitor success and outline agency reporting requirements at
May 24, 2010. Comprehensive list of FAQs addressing key areas of reform available at
May 31, 2010. Training courses available on continuous process improvement (CPI) and action planning.
June 7, 2010. “Bite-size” hiring reform awareness training available for agencies to use/share. Available at
June 10, 2010. “Do it yourself” hiring reform material to help agencies raise awareness about hiring reform and answer the inevitable “what’s in it for me,” questions from managers and HR professionals. This material will be available at:
June 14, 2010. Agency Implementation Checklist available for Agencies to use to ensure they are ready for implementation on November 1, 2010. This checklist will be available at
October 2010. Human Resources Dashboard updated to include agency-level data on hiring speed; applicant satisfaction with the hiring process; and hiring manager satisfaction with the quality of new employees and the overall hiring process. OPM will provide monthly reports on the key stages of the application process.


May 21, 2010. Identify a senior official accountable for leading the agency implementation of these reforms. You may send this information directly to Ms. Angela Bailey at
May 21, 2010. Identify an agency point of contact to work directly with OPM on key messages and deliverables. You may send this information directly to Ms. Angela Bailey at
June 4, 2010. Provide Agency Assistance Request (Attached) to OPM, identifying areas of specialized need. This will allow OPM to target its MATs to the appropriate agencies/issues. Please post this information on the MAX community site at
August 1, 2010. Submit updated Agency Hiring Reform Action Plan to OPM and OMB on the MAX community site at The updated Action Plan should incorporate new activities addressing the President’s Memorandum initiatives, including goals, targets, timelines and indicators of progress for hiring reform implementation. OPM will provide an Action Plan format that agencies are urged but not required to use. Agencies may use an alternate format if and only if it addresses all specified elements of information.
September 1-30, 2010. Agencies meet with OPM and OMB to review submitted Action Plan and collaborate on ability to meet hiring reform objectives.
October 1, 2010. Complete Agency Implementation Checklist and post to MAX community site at, certifying that the agency is ready to implement the hiring reform requirements by November 1, 2010.
November 1, 2010. Implement the requirements in President Obama’s Memorandum dated May 11, 2010, Improving the Federal Recruitment and Hiring Process.
December, 2010. Each CHCO agency will meet with OPM and OMB twice annually and participate in a collaborative in-progress review to assess the status and progress of hiring reform as related to the President’s directive guidance.


Improving the way we recruit and hire is essential to building an effective and efficient Government that can deliver the best services to our citizens. Now is the time to address the systemic issues that have limited the effectiveness of recruitment and the hiring process. With these changes we can facilitate a world-class workforce.

We must prepare now for the number of retirees to rise substantially over the next few years and for increased hiring needs in critical functions. We have taken many steps toward facing these challenges. Our collective efforts will now help us realize immediate and long-term dividends in a stronger and more capable Federal workforce.

We at OPM look forward to working with you to achieve these results. Ms. Angela Bailey, Deputy Associate Director for Recruitment and Diversity, is my lead point of contact for the hiring reform initiatives, requirements and implementation assistance plans outlined in this letter. She can be reached at

As witnessed this day by:

Hilda Solis
Secretary of Labor

Shaun Donovan
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Jeffrey Zients
Deputy Director
Office of Management and Budget

Scott Gould
Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs

John Pocari
Deputy Secretary of Transportation

Dr. Clifford Stanley
Under Secretary of Defense