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Agencies Show Little Progress in Improving the Federal Hiring Process

OMB wants managers to be more involved in candidate selection, but they’re falling short of targets.

The Obama administration has set some lofty, and measureable, goals to improve hiring and recruiting at federal agencies.

Slowly, agencies are making progress. Very slowly, in fact.

In the recently released Chief Human Capital Officers management satisfaction surveys, agencies ticked up slightly in all of the key categories relating to hiring and recruiting. While the administration has emphasized getting managers more directly involved in the hiring process, the latest quarterly reports show agencies are still falling well short of their targets.

Just 45 percent of hiring managers said they “actively and personally” participated in recruitment and outreach for their job vacancies, a 1 percent increase over the baseline metric. The Office of Personnel Management, Office of Management and Budget and the White House’s Presidential Personnel Office, which collectively oversee the improvement effort, had been aiming for a 10 percent boost.

About 62 percent of hiring managers were satisfied with the quality of applicants for job openings, a 2 percent increase from the baseline but far short of the 70 percent target. Only 1 percent more managers said they were involved in the workforce planning process, up to 67 percent from the 66 percent baseline. The administration hopes to get that number up to 76 percent.

This assessment is based on limited information, however—just 24 percent of managers completed the CHCO surveys. While that’s up from the previous response rate of 18 percent, it’s far below the administration’s goal of having 85 percent of managers fill out the surveys.

The baselines were developed in fiscal 2014 as part of the ongoing “cross-agency priority goals” established by the 2010 Government Performance and Results Modernization Act. OMB and its partner agencies track progress on goals across government, from contractor performance to agency sustainability efforts, with results published on performance.gov

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