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Officials Pledge to Fix Federal Hiring Process

Officials Pledge to Fix Federal Hiring Process

Steve Vogel | The Washington Post via YellowBrix

September 07, 2009

Alan C. More, employer in residence for U.S. government programs at George Mason University in Fairfax, told panelists they face “a daunting task” in repairing federal hiring. More noted that, only three days into George Mason’s fall semester, he has been inundated with e-mails from students flummoxed by the federal job system.

A frequent complaint is that different divisions within an agency do not coordinate with each other. “This is something that frustrates them: talking to one element that doesn’t know what the other element is doing,” said More.

“That type of stovepipe approach to recruiting is a way to turn off talent,” Neal acknowledged.

“We have a lot of components, and at DHS we’re working with the components to remind them that, when they’re recruiting, they’re recruiting for DHS and not one component,” he added.

Panelists pointed to simple steps that the government could take to make public service more attractive; for example, describing openings at the agencies as “jobs” rather than “vacancies.”

“Nobody tells their friends, ‘Hey, I got a vacancy today,’ " noted Neal.

Neal expressed confidence that measures to streamline the process will be in place at DHS within a few months.

In the meantime? “For people who are looking today, they need to be persistent,” he said. “I would encourage people to stick with it, even though the process is cumbersome.”

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