OPM to enlist recruitment ambassadors

Friday - 5/6/2011, 9:32am EDT

WFED's Jason Miller on the Federal Drive

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By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

Every federal employee is a possible recruiter of the next generation of workers.

And that is why the Office of Personnel Management launched Thursday a new initiative called Federal Service Ambassadors. The idea is to take advantage of the 2 million employees who know firsthand the impact they and their agencies have every day, said Angela Bailey, OPM's deputy associate director for recruitment and hiring.

"We know for a fact that across the government there is a wealth of talent that is out there," Bailey said during a press conference in Washington. "There are federal service employees who are out providing all kinds of find and apply, how to find a job on USAJobs, what is veterans preference? We have military spouse education programs going on," Bailey added. "We have people who are conducting resume writing workshops. What we decided to do was harness all this talent and pull it all in."

Bailey said the ambassadors will get a "stamp of OPM's approval" and wear a pin that says Federal Service Ambassador. She said these ambassadors will have access to all of OPM's tools and learning materials.

Federal Service Ambassadors is part of a new recruitment portal, USAJOBSRecruit.gov.

The site, which is for federal employees with .gov, .mil and si.edu email addresses only and is up and running, brings together all the different information, training courses and tools that agencies are using throughout government.

Bailey said no matter the size of the agency, how much money they have for recruitment or their recruiting prowess, everyone now will have access to the same materials.

"It puts them all on a level playing field so that across the board they can all compete for that much needed talent," she said.

USAJOBSRecruit.gov is the second new tool OPM released in the past month. OPM recently announced the USAssess tool to help hiring managers evaluate candidates for specific jobs.

The online platform is focusing on 12 job categories, including accountants and financial analysts HR specialists, management and program analysts and IT specialists.

Through the recruitment portal, OPM wants to bring together a broad group of federal employees from human resource managers to executives who have hiring responsibilities to anyone who is interested in improving the recruitment process.

Bailey said she hopes the site builds a community of federal experts who will share best practices, share strategies on how to get the best talent and solve problems.

The portal includes blogs, chat rooms and checklists for different functions, including recruiting, agency branding and marketing and outreach.

Bailey said one of the most exciting parts of the new portal is the database of colleges, universities and technical schools that agencies can search for specific job skills and by state.

She added agencies can find recruitment opportunities they didn't know existed and can focus their search on historically Black or historically Tribal universities and colleges.

Additionally, the database highlights those colleges, universities and technical schools participating in the Partnership for Public Service's Call to Serve initiative.

"It was really important to us that we from a federal government standpoint we address all our needs and not just the college and universities you would think of," Bailey said. "For us, hiring from all segments of society and best and brightest may mean a machinist and not just a Harvard graduate."

The portal also includes a calendar of hiring and recruitment events, and eventually approved colleges, universities and technical schools will add their campus events to calendar for agencies to see.

Bailey said OPM developed the portal through a series of focus groups with agency HR managers around the country.

"One of the things hiring managers said for example is 'we really don't understand employer branding is, we don't understand what our role is,'" she said. "We created pages for them specifically designed to help them understand what their role is. We give them tools and an ability to blog and talk to each other and make sure they are clear on what some of this stuff is about."

OPM hired TMP Worldwide to develop the site under a separate contract than the one they have to run USAJobs.gov. Bailey did not readily know how much the contract was worth.

Now that the portal is available, Bailey said OPM is focusing on getting USAJobs.gov Version 3.0 out by October. She said there are other ideas the agency is considering as well.

"Some of the things would be a career discovery tool that would be available to the public," she said. "You had to build the foundation first of your assessments. You have to get USAjobs 3.0 up and running. You have to have a good foundation and then next will come even more tools for the applicants to use."

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