Government job listings may not reach wide enough

The official job search portal of the U.S. government, a very effective recruiting tool by most accounts, could lose out on young job-seekers soon if it does not start sharing job listings with other Web sites, some management experts say., the government's centralized job-search Web site, is user friendly and easy to search, but it does not post its employment opportunities on major online job boards like CareerBuilder, Monster and HotJobs. Nor are its job openings typically searchable through popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN.

The government may need to consider reaching more eyeballs given that over the next two years, agencies project they will need nearly 193,000 new workers for mission-critical jobs. That figure comes from a July 3 report on federal job openings released by the Partnership for Public Service. Nearly a third of the full-time federal workforce is expected to leave in the next five years, as the baby boomer generation retires.

"You can't expect people to know where to look," in other words, "to look at USAJobs," said Patricia McGinnis, president and CEO of the Council for Excellence in Government. "Government needs to do a better job making sure that its postings not only come up, but get more attention when a job searcher is looking for a specific job function or even job title."

Stan Paul, general manager of's government services group, suggested that the federal government try CareerBuilder's own to attract more job candidates. On average, sees 1.2 million job searches each month for government jobs.

But the Office of Personnel Management is not interested in CareerBuilder's help or the assistance of any other job board.

"The premier site in our view is USAJobs. CareerBuilder, let me blunt, what they are, is a competitor to USAJobs," said Bob Danbeck, OPM's associate director for human resources products and services. "We usually get 8 million visits a month. In June, we had almost 9.5 million visits."

In a July 13 interview, USAJobs Program Director Steve Connelly said, "To give you some idea of the volume we're talking about" there are "in excess of 35,000 openings on the site [today]. It's an all-time record." Typically, the average number of listings per day is 24,000 on the site.

USAJobs is well-known in cyberspace and homes nationwide. The site itself immediately pops up on a Google search for "government jobs." Last year, the government started airing a series of television commercials in various areas of the country that spotlight a few of the careers available in the federal government. The TV ads are all captioned: ""

"With the videos, people are becoming more aware of USAJobs," Danbeck said. "I'm really comfortable with the fact that the site is known by people."

John Palguta, Partnership for Public Service's vice president for policy, said USAJobs is a good electronic job board in terms of the first place to go for finding openings, but the content of the job descriptions leaves much to be desired.

The site does not write the job announcements, leaving that responsibility to the 112 agencies that advertise their hiring needs. "Some agencies are still guilty of resorting to the use of acronyms and governmentese," Palguta said. "Each agency is kind of doing its own thing."

OPM's Danbeck said his staff is working with agencies to standardize the descriptions of generic positions like accounting professionals and administrative assistants. Just this month, USAJobs presented examples to agency personnel officers.

In the fall, USAJobs will offer a feature similar to the college community's "common application" -- one form that can be sent to a number of admissions offices. The site will permit aspiring federal workers to save up to five supporting documents that they can then submit to multiple agencies for multiple jobs.

Still, the government's current online recruiting methods are not built to withstand the coming wave of federal job openings, McGinnis said.

The Partnership for Public Service's take is that there is a big benefit to having one site where the public can view all government positions, but it also would make sense for individual agencies to publicize on through non-government job boards, as needed.

"The federal government must do a better job of attracting a higher percentage of Gen-Y, and must also target experienced managers, IT engineers and other professionals that will be in high demand," McGinnis said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.