Federal Hiring Expertise

Eric Holmes
One would think that with unemployment as high as it is, that for every job opening it would be extremely competitive,  and the hiring organization would be able to select the very best from a competitive field.  Maybe in the private sector this might be true; however in the federal government this isn't the case.

Many federal job openings are restricted to only other federal workers. Some might think this is fair -- that loyal employees should get preferential treatment.  Though with every social tweaking there will be consequences.

Imagine a career federal service employee, in this case a GS-15, retiring and leaving a vacancy.  This is great news for the deputy, the GS-14, who gets promoted to fill the vacancy. Now the agency promotes a GS-13 to fill that position. Eventually, the agency can't fill the next vacancy with anyone qualified. The job opportunity goes unfilled and the agency must manage with short staff.

The departments of Army, Navy, Agriculture, Treasury; and the IRS, NASA, and the FBI, all have openings with restricted hiring practices.

If the agency in question is the Department of Defense and there is qualified soldier who has been performing an almost identical position for years, would this federal employee be able to apply for this position? No, because being a Solider, Sailor, Airman or Marine does not count as being a federal employee.

Eventually the agency might get permission to hire from the outside. A potential job candidate applies on usajobs web site(http://www.usajobs.gov), attaches his resume, cover letter, college transcripts and is redirected to a specific agency web site. If the candidate is using a MAC he'll have a 50-50 chance of never advancing any further.  Internet Explorer users will all get to the next level questionnaire.

The first question, asked in a roundabout way, is are you an illegal immigrant? Next asks if the candidate applied for the selective service. What about those who never signed up because they enlisted in the Army instead? This is a way if weeding out some of the candidates.

Following this are the "diversity" questions.  This is necessary to insure that everyone is treated fairly and on an equal basis based upon merit and not any other factor. First is the gender question. Next is what is the color of your skin, though if your skin is brown due to being from northern Africa, or Middle East you must answer white. The last question is very simple: do you claim  to have lineage from Spain?  How sad to be from Portugal.

If you pass all of this, then your resume is passed through the magic key word scanner.  Last year I was trying to fill a vacancy for the Department of the Army. The magic scanner would supply us with 200 resumes all of which were 10 pages or longer.  By hand we sorted through these and found a half dozen we could interview, though in reality only one was really qualified. Through the grapevine we knew we had three or four good candidates which the magic scanner threw out.

Three times this year a former colleague called me and told me about a perfect position tailor made for me. Three times my application was tossed out before ever being seen by a human.  For six months these jobs were left unfilled. The agency couldn't find anyone qualified for the position.

This is how our federal government hires. Why would anyone even want to apply through such a system?  What are the chances the government is able to select the best candidates?  Is there any wonder of the reputation of our government employees?

If anyone is interested, the IRS and EPA have many openings.

One would think that with unemployment as high as it is, that for every job opening it would be extremely competitive,  and the hiring organization would be able to select the very best from a competitive field.  Maybe in the private sector this might be true; however in the federal government this isn't the case.

Many federal job openings are restricted to only other federal workers. Some might think this is fair -- that loyal employees should get preferential treatment.  Though with every social tweaking there will be consequences.

Imagine a career federal service employee, in this case a GS-15, retiring and leaving a vacancy.  This is great news for the deputy, the GS-14, who gets promoted to fill the vacancy. Now the agency promotes a GS-13 to fill that position. Eventually, the agency can't fill the next vacancy with anyone qualified. The job opportunity goes unfilled and the agency must manage with short staff.

The departments of Army, Navy, Agriculture, Treasury; and the IRS, NASA, and the FBI, all have openings with restricted hiring practices.

If the agency in question is the Department of Defense and there is qualified soldier who has been performing an almost identical position for years, would this federal employee be able to apply for this position? No, because being a Solider, Sailor, Airman or Marine does not count as being a federal employee.

Eventually the agency might get permission to hire from the outside. A potential job candidate applies on usajobs web site(http://www.usajobs.gov), attaches his resume, cover letter, college transcripts and is redirected to a specific agency web site. If the candidate is using a MAC he'll have a 50-50 chance of never advancing any further.  Internet Explorer users will all get to the next level questionnaire.

The first question, asked in a roundabout way, is are you an illegal immigrant? Next asks if the candidate applied for the selective service. What about those who never signed up because they enlisted in the Army instead? This is a way if weeding out some of the candidates.

Following this are the "diversity" questions.  This is necessary to insure that everyone is treated fairly and on an equal basis based upon merit and not any other factor. First is the gender question. Next is what is the color of your skin, though if your skin is brown due to being from northern Africa, or Middle East you must answer white. The last question is very simple: do you claim  to have lineage from Spain?  How sad to be from Portugal.

If you pass all of this, then your resume is passed through the magic key word scanner.  Last year I was trying to fill a vacancy for the Department of the Army. The magic scanner would supply us with 200 resumes all of which were 10 pages or longer.  By hand we sorted through these and found a half dozen we could interview, though in reality only one was really qualified. Through the grapevine we knew we had three or four good candidates which the magic scanner threw out.

Three times this year a former colleague called me and told me about a perfect position tailor made for me. Three times my application was tossed out before ever being seen by a human.  For six months these jobs were left unfilled. The agency couldn't find anyone qualified for the position.

This is how our federal government hires. Why would anyone even want to apply through such a system?  What are the chances the government is able to select the best candidates?  Is there any wonder of the reputation of our government employees?

If anyone is interested, the IRS and EPA have many openings.