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Improving Services to Citizens Seeking Federal Employment

Monday, October 15, 2001
MSG 2001-084a
Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies
Kay Coles James, Director
Improving Services to Citizens Seeking Federal Employment

The Federal Government must make top-notch service to our citizens a priority if we are to be a player in today's highly competitive labor market. As we strive to attract a high quality workforce to public service, we seek persons who mirror our country's population, including veterans and persons with disabilities. To compete successfully for this talent, Human Resources (HR) offices need to be fast, efficient, and responsive to the needs of job applicants. As an HR community, we must take positive steps to enhance the image of public service and show citizens that our government employees can and do provide service that exceeds expectations.

OPM has had great success in getting Federal employment information to citizens and job seekers through the USAJOBS network. Recent data indicate that 92% of users are highly satisfied with their USAJOBS experience. However, this is not enough. All of us must continue to find methods to streamline hiring procedures and automate processes to reduce applicant paperwork. This is the only way we can provide citizen-centered, results-oriented, and market-driven services to our job seekers. There are several steps we can all take.

First, let applicants know the status of their applications. Everyone wants to be sure his/herapplication is received. Indicatingcontact names in vacancy announcements can go a long way to achieving this goal. Applicants want and need to speak with a person and ask questions. Providing email addresses in addition to phone numbers is another way to reach out and help our citizens.

Second, make better use of technology to achieve quality customer service. There are several systems available that offer complete automated packages for the staffing process. The reporting capabilities of these systems allow quick response to inquiries from applicants and selecting officials. It is this type of technology that can help HR offices enhance internal processes, making them faster and more efficient.

Third, we know job seekers want a way to let us know how they view the hiring process. We all need to put in place a method for regularly reviewing feedback from job applicants—both successful and unsuccessful—about what they thought of our process. This will keep us viable in the current labor market and improve the perception that citizens have of us. This is where it all starts—enhancing the image of public service and letting citizens know we are here to serve them!

As always, OPM is here to help Federal HR offices improve service to job applicants. Please call on us to assist you in any way to find and hire the right people for your jobs. For more information about employment services, your staff should not hesitate to contact my Acting Associate Director for Employment Service, Mr. Richard A. Whitford at (202) 606-6500 or

cc: HR Directors