DOD transitions to USA Staffing for hiring process
March 1, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Mar. 1, 2012) -- Those looking for employment with the federal government can say goodbye to "buzz words" and numerous application processes, and say hello to a "one-stop shop" on employment with the government.
People looking for government jobs at Fort Rucker will find a new system awaits them as of March 31 in the form of USA Staffing, which replaces the old Resumix system that thrived on picking potential candidates using key words, otherwise known as "buzz words," said Jacki Nelson, a human resources specialist with the local civilian personnel advisory center.
In response to President Barack Obama's presidential memorandum issued in May 2010, all federal agencies will use a common system to apply for federal jobs, and that system is now USA Staffing through USA Jobs at http://www.usajobs.gov, said Nelson.
"USA Staffing puts all federal jobs under one umbrella, if you will -- a one-stop shop," she said. "It's a streamlined process for all federal positions so people won't have to hunt around on how to apply for jobs."
Fort Rucker is on the tail end of the transition, although all non-appropriated fund jobs were listed under USA Staffing as of Jan. 31, and all agencies are supposed to be using the new system in April.
To explain the new system to potential applicants and also the managers who do the hiring on post, the local CPAC hosted multiple briefings in mid-February, and the feedback was positive, said Nelson.
"One thing managers were concerned with was how much more work it will be for them," she said. "And it will be more work, but it will also give them a lot more ownership in the hiring process."
Once a manager is ready to hire, they must now meet with a human resources specialist and discuss, in detail, what the job will entail, what requirements they need in candidates and also to develop a 15-30-question questionnaire that applicants will have to answer to be considered for the position, Nelson said.
"That is where management's major role up front will be," she said. "On the backside, the great thing for them now is whether they are sitting in their office or off on vacation, as long as they have access to a common-access card-capable computer, they will have access to the referral list so they can screen it, look at the applicants and return the referral -- they're no longer tied to their desks to do it."
Because this is a new system, Nelson encourages patience among managers.
"It's still a new system, for the Army and all the other organizations," she said. "It may be slow initially until everyone is up to speed and familiar with it, but the speed will come."
Feedback from other agencies, both in and outside of the Army, already using the system is largely positive, she added.
"Many people worried that applicants would overinflate themselves on their resumes and on the questions, but what people are finding is that most people are doing things the right way -- they're answering honestly," she said. "And managers still get to interview applicants, so they need to verify what people say during those interviews -- make sure what you're reading is what you're getting."
But managers aren't the only ones with more work to do with USA Staffing, as applicants must now upload all degrees, certifications and the like when they apply, and also answer the questionnaires, Nelson said. The uploads will stay in the system and applicants can attach them each time they apply for a position.
"The main thing with this new process is people really need to read the about the positions they apply for," she advised. "Be careful, be meticulous, and don't hesitate to go back and change answers if you need to before the closing date. People also really need to make sure their ducks are in a row when they apply -- make sure all the documentation is uploaded before the closing date because once it closes, no additions or changes can be made."
As for the questionnaire, people are asked to rate themselves A through E with A being not experienced and E being an expert on certain skills.
"Skills under Resumix were listing of specific skills and the questionnaire is the mirror of that," Nelson said. "If management wants oral communication as skill, in USA Staffing, the factor is oral communication."
So, the question may be something like, "Can you provide briefing to high-level individuals?" And in the answers the applicant can answer, 'I've read about it, I do it on a daily basis,' or 'I've heard how to do it,' and there will be three to five questions about that particular skill, she said.
There are benefits to the new system for applicants as people can maintain up to five resumes on the system that can be individually for diverse professional backgrounds, and people get to explain their qualifications in the questionnaire rather than relying on a computer to identify buzz words in a resume, Nelson said.
And the bottom line is the system is doing what it was designed to do.
"What we're hearing in other people's feedback is they feel they're getting a better quality of candidates with this system," she added.
For more on using the new USA Staffing system, call 255-9015.