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Trump Administration to Expand Hiring Pilot Programs in 2020

Pilot program with simpler resumes and more input from subject matter experts in assessing candidates will reach at least five additional agencies this year.

The Trump administration signaled last month that it will expand a pilot program aimed at improving the federal hiring process later this year.

Last year, officials at the U.S. Digital Service touted the results of a six-month pilot program to hire IT specialists at the Health and Human Services Department and National Park Service. The effort made two major changes to how federal agencies assess job applicants: require jobseekers to submit a standard two-page resume, rather than the traditional “federal resume” that can range from five to 60 pages, and design a multi-step interview and assessment process with agencies’ subject matter experts to better assess applicants’ qualifications.

According to a December 2019 update to the President’s Management Agenda, the Digital Service, the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management hope to bring that pilot program to more agencies across the federal government, as well as to new occupations.

In the update, officials said the Digital Service, OMB and OPM have made presentations to 20 agencies and, so far, five agencies have agreed to participate in the pilot. OPM did not respond to questions regarding which agencies will participate this year.

Additionally, OPM and the Digital Service have enlisted 10 subject matter experts from six different agencies to develop a similar evaluation process for the Design Strategist occupation, which will be used as part of a “governmentwide hiring action.” All agencies throughout the federal government will be able to hire job candidates who are deemed qualified at the end of the interview process.

Last year’s pilot program produced 36 qualified candidates—nearly 22%—at HHS, and the department hired seven people. At the National Park Service, 11% of the 224 applicants were qualified, and the agency hired seven people. An additional six people were “selected” for federal service, which means officials sought to place them in jobs elsewhere in the Interior Department.

That hiring rate is well above the norm in the federal government. Ordinarily, more than half of job announcements posted on USA Jobs are cancelled without agencies extending a job offer. Additionally, HHS selected its new hires within 11 days of receiving the list of qualified candidates, while the National Park Service took 17 days to make selections. That figure is well below the average of 47 days governmentwide.

In the management agenda update, officials also said they are working to “prototype and test technology” to make it easier for subject matter experts to provide insight throughout the process.