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Update on Presidential Initiative: Recruitment One Stop and USAJOBS

Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Human Resources Directors
Kay Coles James, Director
Update on Presidential Initiative: Recruitment One Stop and USAJOBS

This memorandum provides a brief, but important update on a Presidential Initiative that is central to your success in achieving human capital goals related to the President's Management Agenda (PMA). In addition, I have attached a copy of an expedited hiring process released by OPM in 2002.

  1. USAJOBS Recruitment Site Launch:

    The OPM E-Government team has been working closely with your agencies on this important initiative. As you know, President Bush has consistently supported efforts to improve the management of human capital in the Federal government. Results in this area begin with the recruitment process and the Administration's efforts to streamline hiring.

    The new USAJOBS and StudentJobs. gov websites came online at 12:01 a.m. on August 4, 2003. The USAJOBS by Phone system was also transferred and is now operating as prescribed in our agreement with Monster Government Solutions.

    Since launch, the system has performed extremely well. In its first day of operation, nearly 300,000 people visited the new website compared to 36,000 on the old site the week earlier, nearly a 10 fold increase. During the first full week of operation, over 2,500 additional Federal jobs were posted and more than 20,000 new resumes were created.

    The data migration from the legacy system to the new platform was extremely successful. A total of 18,157 job records, 362,659 job seeker search agent accounts, 10,810 recruiters, and 366,711 resumes were moved. The job transfers achieved a 99.57% success rate. Only 78 job records failed and these were corrected before the new system came online.

    To insure that all interested users took full advantage of the new capabilities, on launch day, OPM sent an email notice to almost 300,000 job seekers who had registered search agents or emails in the old system to advise them that the new USAJOBS was online and that they should go into the system to update their accounts.

    You and your staff play a pivotal role in the continued success of this initiative. I view this launch as a critical time for you and your agencies to provide your comments, both positive and negative, to OPM. We are committed to making this system work for human resources directors and managers throughout the Federal government. We can only do that if we hear from you. Just as we are reviewing user comments, we are equally committed to reviewing agency comments and making adjustments prior to the third phase of the USAJOBS rollout in September. (Please contact me at or have your staff call Norm Enger, OPM Director for E-Government Initiatives, 202-606-1000, with any comments and suggestions).

    OPM has also reached out to HR managers to insure they are making full use of the system's new capabilities. For instance, at the same time OPM launched the new system for jobseekers, we also launched a new posting process and other features for Federal HR specialists. In order to prepare for the transition, we have held two large live and web-based training sessions. OPM trained 960 users in the sessions and has ongoing web and live training as well as Question and Answer sessions scheduled over the next several weeks.

  2. Concerns

    While our customers have expressed their overwhelming interest in the President's Initiative, there are some critics who have claimed this Presidential Initiative will result in setbacks to your agency recruitment efforts. This is false. The attached article from Federal Times is an example of criticism that has been taken far beyond the bounds of constructive feedback. As you know, we have been actively soliciting suggestions for improvements prior to and after our formal rollout from industry experts, users and HR directors.

    The vendor referenced in the article has been attempting to slow down progress on this Presidential Initiative by making erroneous and unsubstantiated statements (such as those mentioned in the attached article). OPM continues to welcome comments from all interested parties to help it continuously improve the USAJOBS site, but I feel that it is equally important to insure that inaccuracies are corrected.

    There are several points raised in the attached article. First, the vendor stated that jobs that were posted in the legacy USAJOBS system as open to "all Federal employees" are now being shown as "open to agency employees only. "This is inaccurate. Actually, of the thousands of job postings in USAJOBS, only one such instance of this nature was reported and was satisfactorily resolved within one day.

    Second, the article states that agencies must now "review each job listing to make sure the eligibility requirements are correct. "OPM is committed to insuring the USAJOBS listings accurately convey the information provided to us by agencies. Rather than checking listings after they have been posted, it would be more productive to review job descriptions before they are posted to insure that they are coherent and informative to job seekers. OPM has requested that agencies drop unnecessary and burdensome requirements that limit applications from non-government sources. I would encourage you to have your senior staff review postings to assure the majority are open to all sources.

    Third, the attached article suggests that the search engine could be improved. This is a great suggestion. While the new search engine has been built upon industry best practices, there is always room for improvement. For instance, while the new search function provides for full-text searching on the content of job announcements, a feature job-seekers have been requesting for many years, we have had suggestions for improving the organization of the agency search table. Based on these suggestions, this week we plan to further improve the search function by adding an enhanced table organized by department and sub-agency components, as well as a repositioned prompt for Veterans.

  3. Agency Hiring Processes

    In order to fulfill increased citizen interest in USAJOBS and Federal employment, I would encourage you to review agency hiring operations and to adopt whatever means necessary to expedite internal hiring processes. After extensive research and analysis, it has become quite clear that issues related to the delays in the federal hiring process rest at the agency level. As CHCO, it is within your authority to make the changes necessary to fairly and quickly hire job applicants. Simply put, through aggressive leadership, the problems with federal hiring can be solved at the agency level.

    Last year, I recommended a 30-day model for rapid recruitment of individuals for the SES. A copy of the memorandum describing this model is attached. OPM has used this model twice to fill 8 positions and, most recently, filled 14 SES positions utilizing a 49 day process. The point is that we must standardize our processes to hire people more quickly.

    Looking to the future, OPM intends to further assist your efforts to expedite the hiring process through additional innovations such as integrating USAJOBS to agency automated staffing systems. So that you are prepared to take full advantage of this increased functionality, I encourage your agency to continue to participate in the President's Recruitment One-Stop Initiative.

    To summarize, I am proud to announce that in the first week alone over 1 million talented Americans, many of whom are currently out of work, have responded to the President's call to public service. This success is the product of the hard work and dedication of public servants across the government. I encourage you to join OPM in our quest to build upon this success by continuing to provide us with honest, straightforward feedback on how USAJOBS can better serve your agency's mission.