After an overhaul of the user interface, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has made progress on improving the USAJobs website by tracking metrics, providing more clarity for applicants, and offering guidance to agencies for job postings.

The Government Accountability Office report, commissioned by Congress as part of the fiscal year 2020 budget, states that OPM’s updates have been positive for the main portal for job applications in the Federal government. Through user surveys and performance metrics, GAO found the agency is fulfilling OMB (Office of Management and Budget) Circular A-11 guidance, and almost fully meeting guidance on website performance and customer satisfaction.

“Since the agency’s redesign of USAJOBS in 2016, OPM has taken a number of actions in an effort to address feedback from these assessments and improve the USAJOBS user experience,” the report notes.

One key improvement has been the addition of “Hiring Paths,” which make it easier for applicants to find jobs by eligibility category. This addition was praised in interviews with GAO by officials at the Department of Education, who noted the paths make the process “significantly easier.” OPM plans to expand on the visibility for applicants by including a “Job Status” indicator that will share how many other people are applying to a position and each person’s application status.

On the agency side, the process has been improved by creating a Job Announcement Playbook that aims to help staff improve their postings. This guidance is supported by audits of postings to check for jargon or redundant information requests. OPM is looking to improve further by removing redundant requests that go separately to agency and OPM officials, and test a system that would match applicants with job opportunities based on their skills.

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MeriTalk Staff