Career&Employment, Employment & Career

Why is the Federal Process so Cumbersome?

Many people get frustrated by the federal hiring process. They complain about the time it takes, the extensive documentation and resumes needed and just about everything else. They attack those who are involved in the process and assume the process should be more like the corporate world. What they forget is the whys to the process.

When a corporation receives 1,000 resumes, they can comb through or even use an Applicant Tracking System to narrow down the field. According to a number of studies, the first look at a corporate resume is from 6 to 20 seconds (TheLadders, 2012). Perhaps they only pick the first 10 resumes that are well qualified so only go through 200 or 500 of the 1,000 resumes. They are not required go through each and every resume. In the federal system, there is an occupational questionnaire to narrow down the field a bit, but after that, each and every resume must be reviewed. This is required. It is not an option, it is law. This means if 750 of the 1,000 resumes make it past the questionnaire, all 750 must be evaluated.

Think I am exaggerating? Check out the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) lengthy page discussing hiring authorities (Office of Personnel Management, n.d.). Or go to (Feds Hire Vets), they show 15 different links to the various portions of statues and regulations related to the hiring of veterans alone (Feds Hire Vets). On top of this there are other considerations, with the latest update to USA Jobs these are called “Unique Hiring Paths.” (USA Jobs, 2016) These paths range from former federal employee, to veterans to military spouses to those with disabilities. Even recent graduates and peace corps alumni. Within these unique hiring paths there can be multiple programs. When you look at all of this, you can better understand the length of the process.

The civilian personnel staff must ensure that every law, executive order and regulation are adhered to properly. The system is geared to ensure fair hiring occurs and that those with challenges, such as the disabled, are given fair consideration. Yes, it can be cumbersome, but understand the why’s instead of attacking the civilian personnel staff members.

Works Cited

Feds Hire Vets. (n.d.). Statues & Regulations. Retrieved 09 12, 2016, from Feds Hire Vets:

Office of Personnel Management. (n.d.). Hiring Information. Retrieved 09 12, 2016, from OPM.GOV:

TheLadders. (2012). Keeping an Eye on Recruiter Behavior. Retrieved 09 12, 2015, from TheLadders:

USA Jobs. (2016). USA Jobs. Retrieved 09 12, 2016, from Unique Hiring Paths:



Rose Holland is the spouse of an Active Duty Army Reservist and is an advocate for military and veteran families. She has three adult children and has been married to her husband, Michael, for 30 years. She is a certified Workforce Development Professional, Federal Career Coach and Job Search Trainer.


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