USA — Obama Calls for Federal Government Hiring Reform

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2010 — Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma signed a mem­o­ran­dum today call­ing for a sweep­ing over­haul of fed­er­al gov­ern­ment recruit­ment and hir­ing prac­tices and cre­at­ing a “his­toric oppor­tu­ni­ty” for the Defense Depart­ment to revamp its out­dat­ed hir­ing sys­tem, a defense offi­cial said.

“To deliv­er the qual­i­ty ser­vices and results the Amer­i­can peo­ple expect and deserve, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment must recruit and hire high­ly qual­i­fied employ­ees, and pub­lic ser­vice should be a career of choice for the most tal­ent­ed Amer­i­cans,” Oba­ma said in the memo. “Yet the com­plex­i­ty and inef­fi­cien­cy of today’s fed­er­al hir­ing process deters many high­ly qual­i­fied indi­vid­u­als from seek­ing and obtain­ing jobs in the fed­er­al government.” 

The mem­o­ran­dum calls for, in part, the elim­i­na­tion of lengthy appli­ca­tion process­es, includ­ing essay-style ques­tions for ini­tial appli­cants; a reduc­tion in the time it takes to hire mis­sion-crit­i­cal and com­mon­ly filled posi­tions; and a greater involve­ment by man­agers in the hir­ing process. 

“Amer­i­cans must be able to apply for fed­er­al jobs through a com­mon-sense hir­ing process, and agen­cies must be able to select high-qual­i­ty can­di­dates effi­cient­ly and quick­ly,” the pres­i­dent wrote. “The abil­i­ty of agen­cies to per­form their mis­sions effec­tive­ly and effi­cient­ly depends on a tal­ent­ed and engaged work force, and we must reform our hir­ing sys­tem to fur­ther strength­en that work force.” 

Clif­ford L. Stan­ley, under­sec­re­tary of defense for per­son­nel and readi­ness, rep­re­sent­ed the Defense Depart­ment at an Office of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment news con­fer­ence today where the details for the new ini­tia­tive were announced, includ­ing the wide­spread impact on the department. 

The hir­ing reform is a “his­toric oppor­tu­ni­ty” for the depart­ment to elim­i­nate an out­dat­ed, bureau­crat­ic hir­ing sys­tem, said Mar­ilee Fitzger­ald, the Pentagon’s act­ing deputy under­sec­re­tary of defense for civil­ian per­son­nel policy. 

“Not since 1978, with the Civ­il Ser­vice Reform Act, has there been such an oppor­tu­ni­ty to acquire and devel­op our tal­ent with alacrity and con­tem­po­rary hir­ing and devel­op­ment prac­tices,” Fitzger­ald said in an Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice interview. 

“We have mar­velous tal­ent, and they can’t fig­ure out how to get to us because we have all of these rules and a pro­lif­er­a­tion of hir­ing author­i­ties,” she added. “All of these things dis­tract our appli­cants from com­ing to us.” 

The depart­ment is one of the largest civil­ian employ­ers in the world, Fitzger­ald said, hir­ing more than 100,000 employ­ees every year. This reform is vital to meet the department’s goals of attract­ing and retain­ing the high­est qual­i­ty tal­ent, she added. 

The hir­ing reform will spur exten­sive changes through­out the Defense Depart­ment, she not­ed, with impacts to the hir­ing process at every step. For job seek­ers, changes include: 

— An enhanced web­site at that will pro­vide job seek­ers a sin­gle, easy-to-use entry point to fed­er­al job oppor­tu­ni­ties;
— The use of a sim­ple resume and cov­er let­ter to apply for a job instead of pages-long resumes that bog down selec­tion process­es;
— Mod­ern assess­ment tools with sim­ple, quick ques­tion­naires rather than assess­ments that require long essay respons­es;
— Appli­ca­tion sta­tus feed­back at a min­i­mum of four points: receipt of appli­ca­tion, qual­i­fi­ca­tion deter­mi­na­tion, refer­ral sta­tus and result;
— Stream­lin­ing of job announce­ments from 10 to 12 pages down to about three pages. And rather than depart­ment jar­gon, the announce­ments will be writ­ten in sim­ple, easy-to-under­stand terms; and 

— Enhance­ment of the Stu­dent Train­ing and Aca­d­e­m­ic Recruit­ment Pro­gram, known as STAR, in which col­lege stu­dents are hired to assist the depart­ment with its entry-lev­el recruit­ment needs, offer­ing peer-to-peer, on-site information. 

For man­agers, the reform will put the focus on part­ner­ing with human resource prac­ti­tion­ers to devel­op staffing plans, with the over­all aim of reduc­ing hir­ing time­lines and pro­vid­ing access to the high­est-qual­i­ty candidates. 

Noth­ing is more dis­ap­point­ing, Fitzger­ald not­ed, than wait­ing for a refer­ral list and then dis­cov­er­ing none of the appli­cants fits the bill. “Often,” she said, “the lack of qual­i­fied can­di­dates is a func­tion of not plan­ning for the require­ment on the front end.” 

Human resources spe­cial­ists now will work with man­agers two to three years out from a job open­ing to exam­ine job require­ments and cre­ate accu­rate job descrip­tions, Fitzger­ald said.

And when the open­ing is at hand, they will encour­age man­agers to begin plan­ning imme­di­ate­ly to posi­tion them­selves for mak­ing a quick hire. Man­agers can take care of admin­is­tra­tive func­tions such as prepar­ing inter­view ques­tions and arrang­ing hir­ing pan­els up front, she explained. 

On the human resources side of the house, offi­cials are look­ing at how they can reduce time­lines on tasks such as can­di­date assess­ments and refer­ral list devel­op­ment. Con­tem­po­rary assess­ment tools, for instance, will help experts weed through appli­cants quick­er and more effec­tive­ly, Fitzger­ald explained. 

The department’s goal, she not­ed, is to reduce the time it takes to hire new tal­ent from the cur­rent 155-day aver­age down to 80 days. “And the short­er the bet­ter,” she added. 

Fitzger­ald pro­ject­ed the new assess­ments could be oper­a­tional by as ear­ly as the end of the year. 

In the mean­time, the depart­ment has launched a new hir­ing reform web­site — — that includes easy-to-digest infor­ma­tion cus­tomized for man­agers, appli­cants and human resources specialists. 

The tim­ing is right for these com­pre­hen­sive changes, Fitzger­ald noted. 

“Cer­tain­ly, the com­plex­i­ties of the department’s engage­ments at home and abroad demand a work force with the right mix of exper­tise at hand to prop­er­ly address these emerg­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and to thwart poten­tial threats that face us,” she said. “A work force with a broad port­fo­lio of capa­bil­i­ties with max­i­mum ver­sa­til­i­ty is a mis­sion imper­a­tive for the Depart­ment of Defense.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →