The federal government’s central job listings website is set to get several improvements in coming months.
The Office of Personnel Management announced the revitalization of USAJobs.gov Monday as part of a new workforce initiative, called the Recruitment, Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion — or “REDI” — Roadmap. OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, joined by two experts involved in the site’s revamp, explained during a webcast how USAJobs.gov will play an integral role in REDI.
“A vital part of the roadmap is the work USAJobs is doing to enhance this job-seeking platform,” Archuleta said. “We are making USAJobs.gov a full-service career exploration site.”
Tracy Orrison, deputy program manager for USAJobs, expressed the same irritation many applicants and federal employees have felt when they have used the website.
“We know that this important gateway to federal service does not currently meet the needs of the very large and diverse groups of Americans who use it,” Orrison said.
To address to website’s flaws and hopefully correct them, OPM is bringing together Innovation Lab and the people in charge of USAJobs.gov to reach out to those who actually use the application system, conducting one-on-one interviews and focus groups around the country to gather user experiences.
Those insights, Orrison said, “are serving as the foundation for us to develop creative, targeted and effective ideas for improving the job-seeker experience online.” Over the coming year, OPM will begin to test the users’ input, “looking at the USAJobs experience from beginning to end,” she said.
Instead of holding all of the changes for one launch, OPM will incrementally release them in12-week cycles.
“There will not be one big-bang launch where one day USAJobs looks and works completely differently,” said Orrison, who leads user experience and data analytics teams within USAJobs. “This will allow users to more easily adapt to these changes as well as collect feedback from you along the way.”
Already, OPM has a tool ready for agency HR professionals and hiring managers. Called the Applicant Demographic Dashboard, the interactive feature is meant to address three of the biggest questions in federal hiring, said Graham Kerster, a data scientist with USAJobs.gov. “What does the applicant pool look like? Why are applicants abandoning the application process? And what do the demographic groups look like as they change throughout the hiring process?”
The idea behind tool was developed during a recent data jam between the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy and OPM that focused on the federal science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, workforce. The data, though, had been there for quite awhile.
“USAJobs has a lot of data related to the federal hiring process, which until recently has never been analyzed on a large-scale basis,” Kerster said. “Furthermore, it’s never really been shared with human resources professionals, managers, recruiters and job seekers to allow them to make data-driven decisions.”
The USAJobs team merged three data sets to create what he called “a tool that was flexible but also engaging in allowing the users to explore the information.” The dashboard consists of three tabs with visual analyses of those three initial questions Kerster and his colleagues set out to answer.
For the public, OPM also designed a federal civilian workforce map using data collected by its FedScope program. That map, which will launch in spring, gives the public the ability to search federal employment demographics geographically around the world.
USAJobs’ revamp is just one piece of the REDI Roadmap, which stresses the use of data to drive decision-making around attracting, developing and retaining federal employees. OPM has several other digital initiatives planned, including enhancing social media use for recruitment, expanding use of the Unlocktalent.gov and launching GovConnect, an interagency collaboration tool.