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As the federal government prepares to hire the next generation of civil service leaders, one common complaint among job applicants is the arduous and often arcane hiring portal of USAJobs. For the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), it is no secret the USAJobs website is grossly out of touch from modern hiring practices of the private sector – and nearly every OPM Director in recent history has made a point to promise critical process updates to the website. With the most recent round of updates to USAJobs, OPM stated that the website is slated for a comprehensive overhaul to be rolled out in the months ahead. OPM has stated that the intent of these updates is to make USAJobs a user-friendly experience while applying for a job using the website.
Among the list of changes OPM is including in this round of updates includes: new features to allow applicants the ability to track progress of their applications, seamlessly verify required documents without abandoning application progress, save progress on a pending application, more flexibility with active resume management and the ability to review final applications.
Another significant barrier OPM identified for new applicants is the use of agency and federal government jargon in the job qualification description. The technical nature of many position descriptions and job requirements has led to applicants unsure if they are qualified, and premature application abandonment. In an effort to address this problem, OPM is working with numerous agencies to make the use of more plain language in the process and clearly label the posting’s closing date and applicant cap.
“NFFE supports OPM’s efforts to make the USAJobs application process more user-friendly and transparent,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “In its current format, USAJobs can be frustrating for NFFE-IAM members that apply for jobs only to never receive an update or notification on the status of their application. We hope that OPM’s ongoing USAJobs update in the subsequent months will yield a more seamless application process that reduces the barriers for job applicants and encourages the next generation of leaders to consider a career in federal civil service.”
USAJobs has been marred with user-functionality problems for years