Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senators Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) and George V. Voinovich (R-OH) introduced the Federal Hiring Process Improvement Act of 2009, a bill to streamline the federal recruitment and hiring process. 

“Too many federal agencies have built entry barriers for new workers and invented evaluation processes that discourage qualified candidates,” Senator Akaka said.  “Like the private sector, agencies need to take advantage of modern technology to find and hire the right candidates.  By streamlining and simplifying the hiring process, this bill will be an important step toward making the federal government the employer of choice.”

“Over and over, we hear of the problems in the federal hiring process. It takes too long; it is too burdensome, and so forth,” Senator Voinovich said. “The quality of technology has improved, but our processes have not. This does nothing to dispel any preconceived notions that the federal government is nothing but a bureaucratic system. It is time to convey to the thousands of men and women at all stages of their career looking for work that the federal government is more than just an employer, but a place where Americans can utilize and grow their skills in service to their nation.”

On May 8, 2008, the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia held a hearing entitled, “From Candidates to Change Makers: Recruiting the Next Generation of Federal Employees.”  Witnesses testified about problems such as passive recruitment strategies, unclear job vacancy announcements, and poor candidate evaluation tools.  Witnesses also testified that young people strongly desire to work in public service, but agencies need to develop strategies, such as using online resources and simplifying the hiring process, to attract the next generation of federal employees. 

Among other provisions, the Federal Hiring Process Improvement Act seeks to address these issues by requiring agencies to:

  • -Develop strategic workforce plans, including hiring projections and critical skills gaps in the workforce;
  • -Post brief, clear job announcements in plain writing;
  • -Allow applicants to submit resumes and cover letters, and no longer require “knowledge, skills, and abilities” essays;
  • -Provide timely notification to applicants on the status of their applications;
  • -Take no more than 80 days from the time a managers decides to fill a vacancy to the time an offer is made;
  • -Keep an inventory of all applicants who elect to be considered for other federal vacancies; and
  • -Measure the effectiveness of hiring efforts and reforms.

Senators Akaka and Voinovich are Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia. 

Senator Akaka’s Congressional Record statement introducing the bill is available by clicking here