Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted in favor of the Federal Hiring Process Improvement Act of 2009 (S. 736), as amended, to streamline the Federal recruitment and hiring process.  Senators Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) and George V. Voinovich (R-OH) introduced S. 736 on March 30, 2009. 

“Federal recruitment and hiring systems are broken,” Senator Akaka said.  “This legislation will streamline the process and require agencies to provide timely notification to all candidates.  It is crucial that the Federal Government improve the cumbersome, slow application process to maximize its ability to attract and hire talented individuals to public service.”

“Too often, applicants have heard the phrase, ‘I’m sorry, but that’s the way it’s always been done.’ But to be an employer of choice, the government must understand what the competition is doing and adapt to the changing environment,” Senator Voinovich said. “We know the challenges confronting the federal government, now we must make sure our processes result in hiring the right person, at the right place, at the right time, to get the job done. The Federal Hiring Process Improvement Act brings together common sense solutions to a government-wide management challenge.”

On May 7, 2009, the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia held a hearing to examine efforts by Federal agencies to recruit highly qualified candidates for public service in the current job market.  Witnesses testified about the need to attract the right candidates to fill critical skills gaps that will occur as a large portion of the Federal workforce nears retirement.  Witnesses also testified that unnecessarily complicated applications and lengthy waiting times may discourage qualified applicants from seeking a career in public service. 

Among other provisions, S. 736 requires agencies to:

  • Develop strategic workforce plans, addressing hiring projections and critical skills gaps in the workforce;
  • Post clear job announcements in plain writing;
  • No longer require “knowledge, skills, and abilities” essays, allowing applicants to submit resumes and cover letters;
  • Provide timely notification to applicants of their application status, taking no more than 10 business days after a position is filled to notify non-successful candidates;
  • Take no more than 80 days from the time a managers decides to fill a vacancy to the time an offer is made for the vacant position;
  • Keep an inventory of all applicants who elect to be considered for other Federal vacancies; and
  • Measure the effectiveness of hiring efforts and reforms.