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Despite an unemployment rate that is hovering around 10%, the federal government announced that they are hiring and are looking to fill some 3000 positions nationwide!   The time is right for the announcement that came earlier this week that the government is going through reform in its hiring process.  These changes will be the most extensive changes in thirty years.  Many of the changes are schedule for November, 2010. Some of those changes will be a streamlined application process.

According to Director John Berry, US Office of Personnel Management, President Obama ordered a reforms initiative with the goal of bringing the federal government to a 21st century approach to their hiring system.  President Obama is requesting Federal agencies to overhaul their hiring practices within 180 days.

“Federal workers fill crucial roles that defend Americans from terrorism, infectious diseases, food-borne pathogens, forest fires and countless other threats. We can’t afford delays in filling these jobs, nor can we rely on a system that causes qualified candidates to give up in frustration. President Obama and I believe that we must cut the red tape clogging the Federal hiring process in order to bring aboard outstanding applicants quickly,” OPM Director John Berry said at the announcement event. “President Obama has undertaken a series of reforms today that aren’t so much steps, as leaps forward. I understand the frustration of every applicant who previously has had to wade through the arcane Federal hiring process. If qualified applicants want to serve our country through the Federal service, then our application process should facilitate that. These reforms are concrete, broad, and will help us do just that. They honor core merit system principles and the sacrifice of the men and women serving our country by preserving their veteran’s preference. And, these reforms will save the American taxpayer money and free up scarce resources that will allow Federal agencies to better serve our nation.”

“The best talent doesn’t wait around for 140 days – they find another job,” said Chief Performance Officer Jeff Zients. “We need to streamline our hiring process to make it more competitive and candidate-friendly. Across twenty years in the private sector, I’ve seen that the best performing organizations focus on people as their most important tool for improving performance.  It is time for the federal government to start doing the same.”

“These steps taken by President Obama align the Federal workforce with the best practices of the private sector in terms of recruiting and hiring talent,” said Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. “These reforms are straightforward and simplify the process for job applicants seeking to serve their country.”

“We should be encouraging the best candidates to enter Federal service, rather than dissuading them through an outdated, lengthy process that leaves both applicants and hiring managers frustrated,” said Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.  “The President’s reforms give me the tools I need to reduce the red tape in our Department.  The ability to process and assess applicants more efficiently saves the American taxpayer money.”

Director Berry outlined the steps that President Obama has taken to reform the Federal hiring and recruitment process.

Details from President Obama’s memorandum to Federal agencies:

  • The time between a job being announced and being filled will be reduced dramatically.
  • Lengthy essays will be eliminated from the initial application requirement.  Essays may be used later in the hiring process, but not initially.
  • Resumes will be accepted in lieu of submitted applications to outdated systems. 
  • Hiring managers will be able to choose from the best qualified candidates rather than limiting their choices to three names.
  • Applicants will be notified in a timely manner through  This new notification process will eliminate applicants feeling like they get no response to their application.
  • A plan for hiring and recruitment will be developed and submitted by the end of 2010.
  • High level officials visiting universities and colleges will incorporate discussions on career opportunities in Federal service to students.
  • A plan will be developed to recruit and hire diverse talent government-wide.
  • Within 90 days, make a recommendation on the future of the Federal Career Intern Program and the pathway for college students and graduates into Federal service.
  • Ensure best practices are developed and used within all government agencies.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management will also launch a web site to guide Federal agencies and hiring managers through this change at: 


This Business article was written by Kathy Clark on 5/17/2010

Kathy Clark is an MBA who is passionate about helping small business owners see their vision come to life through business development and growth. She writes for, and is the founder of The Thriving Small Business.