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OPM: Federal Hiring Process Still Too Long

Nancy Kichak, OPM; Photo: opm.gov, jobapplication411.com

The average time to hire a federal worker is lower than it was before, but still not low enough, the Office of Personnel Management says.

OPM is set to start reviewing the federal hiring process by Nov. 1. The time it currently takes to hire a new federal worker is 110 days, The Federal Times reports, which has been reduced from a high of 140 days. The goal, however, is 80 days from first application to actual hiring.

OPM Assistant Director for Employee Services Nancy Kichak said the agency is looking at ways to reduce the amount of time the process takes, even as it has already made strides in the issue.

“The prior process is already faster,” she said, according to Federal News Radio. “From the time the president issued his memo telling us to get going, we’ve been going. A lot of agencies have already eliminated knowledge, skills and abilities. They have already simplified the job announcements, have done them in plain English and have done them in a way applicants can understand them.”

According to The Federal Times, the White House sent a memo in May, directing agencies to streamline the process, in part by removing essay questions from federal applications and keeping job seekers abreast of their applications.

Another possible fix for the lag time in hiring federal workers is a program called USAssess, which will launch in early 2011 and work in conjunction with the federal jobs website USAJobs.gov.

The assessment tool is hoped to better evaluate job candidates and was mandated by the White House memo.

And OPM is also looking at ways to streamline the firing process as well, though Kichak acknowledges it’s a “hard nut to crack.”

“There are so many appeal rights and two different forms to attack your removal notice,” she said of the federal dismissal process. “It’s complicated and a lot of that is wrapped up in statute.”

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