Interior reduces hiring time, manager paper cuts

Wednesday - 8/29/2012, 5:13am EDT

Rhea Suh, assistant secretary for policy, management and budget, Interior Department, Part 1

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Rhea Suh, assistant secretary for policy, management and budget, Interior Department, Part 2

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The Interior Department has reduced its hiring time by more than 100 days, thanks in part to less paperwork for managers, said Rhea Suh, Interior's assistant secretary for policy, management and budget.

When President Barack Obama ordered agencies to streamline hiring in 2010, "it took about just under 200 days for the average time of hire," said Suh. "And there were over 40 different actions within that stretch of time period that needed to happen, whether it be through [human resources] personnel, or through hiring managers themselves."

The department reduced its hiring time to just under 90 days and 12 actions, as of the third quarter in fiscal 2012, Suh told Federal News Radio. The governmentwide goal is 80 days.

Rhea Suh, assistant secretary for policy, budget and management, Interior Department (DOI)

"And we are still focused on trying to figure out on how to best streamline the process across the department — across all of the bureaus — in terms of the amount of actions that need to happen by individuals throughout the system, because that's really where the delays oftentimes happen. That's where you get the additional time added, through different people that have to have paperwork sitting on their desk for X number of periods of days for them to sign off on."

Faster hiring attracts high-quality employees

Suh also addressed concerns the government's push to speed up hiring has made it more difficult to find quality employees, saying that just isn't the case.

"I think there's a lot of, frankly, inefficiencies in the hiring system," she said. "And improving those efficiencies really should have nothing to do with the pool of candidates that you get in."

The effort to speed up the hiring process should produce a better workforce, Suh said.

"You're going to lose a lot of candidates if you take upwards of 200 days to try to bring [new hires] in," she said. "And so I believe strongly that the reduction in the amount of time to hire ... only increases our chance to get highly-qualified applicants actually hired and in the door."

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