Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Federal Hiring Process: Best Qualified or Selected Hiring

With the return of our military members from overseas duty, or military members retiring, or leaving the ranks.  Many will be applying for federal positions and submitting their qualifications for positions that their qualifications surely will get them that interview.  The position was almost designed with you in mind.

How many times have you, or someone you know applied for a federal job, obtained a rating for the next step, to have their package submitted to the hiring group or individual, and never receive any further notice. 

Disappointing?

Then how disappointing is it that you've used your 5 or 10 point military service as a plus in our application, then to find out after being qualified that the position has been reposted under another job number, with a slight change in the qualifications, or completely removed from the OPM or agency system after you've applied the second time and been rated with no notification or any further written or verbal contact on your application in the hiring process. 

Then to make it even worse you find out that it was reposted again and someone else hired.

Are the best and brightest being selected for these positions?

As I review, and join many federal agency blog, facebook, other community of practice groups I find that these same agencies or departments are seeking 'new ideas' from the community, when those members from the community are the ones that were not hired.

Listed below is the OPM hiring process in a nutshell.  Each agency may have a seperate hiring process, and procedures in place to hire the best of the best.

OPM Hiring Process Model

This timeline tool presents the recommended number of days for each step in the hiring process.  Then it prompts you to insert the number of days your department and agency takes to complete each of those steps.  At the end, you’re asked to compare the length of your process with the recommended length, and identify the three steps that deviate the most from the ideal.

Step 1: Request Approval to Fill Vacancy

Maximum number of days: 2
The process begins when a vacancy is identified. This vacancy can be the result of:
  • Incumbent changing to a new job
  • Retirement
  • Workforce analysis that identifies the need for a new position
The selecting official then requests approval to fill the vacancy. This step should take no more than 1 day.  Approval of the request should take no more than 1 day.  The total is 2 days.  If the request is denied, the process ends.
Helpful Hints for improved timeliness:
Eliminate this step by having an annual Staffing Plan as part of the Human Capital Plan.  Agency Heads/Element Heads/Department Heads determine both composition and size of the workforce according to annual budget.  Position fill requests in accordance with an approved HC plan do not need additional approval.  Operational HR offices are fully familiar with the Workforce Plan and are prepared to act upon notification of the vacancy.

Step 2: Review Workforce Analysis and Understand Skill Gaps

Maximum number of days: 1
The selecting official and HR practitioner review the workforce analysis and identify any skill gaps for the position.  As part of this step, the position should be classified and method of recruitment identified.  The selecting official and HR practitioner determine the process to use for recruitment - merit promotion and/or competitive examining.  This step should take no more than 1 day.
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
Use preclassified position descriptions for mission-critical occupations or frequently filled infrastructure or administrative jobs.  Such as budget, HR, contracting or program support.  Career Pattern discussion is appropriate at this time.  This step should not take more than 1 day.

Step 3: Review Position Description for Alignment with Organizational Mission and Job Requirements

Maximum number of days:  1
The selecting official and HR practitioner review the position description for alignment with the organization’s mission and job requirements. This step should take no more than 1 day.
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
Update Workforce Plan and Organizational Staffing Plan annually.  Operational HR practitioners are consulted and briefed on the objectives of the organizations they service.  Standard and preclassified position descriptions validated during updates to ensure accuracy and alignment.

Step 4: Conduct Job Analysis

Maximum number of days: 3
The selecting official and HR practitioner conduct a job analysis to identify the knowledge/skills/abilities (KSAs) and competencies associated with the vacancy. This step should take no more than 3 days.
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
Develop job analysis library covering all mission-critical occupations, frequently filled positions, such as standard administrative and infrastructure support positions.  Validate job analysis annually during review of Staffing Plan.

Step 5: Create Candidate Assessment Tool

Maximum number of days: 2
The selecting official and HR practitioner select an assessment tool for screening candidates. The assessment tool may include:
  • Crediting plan
  • Structured interview
  • Written test
  • Panel
  • Subject Matter Experts
This step should take no more than 2 days. 
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
Crediting plans and interview questions are developed as part of the job analysis library for mission-critical occupations, frequently filled jobs, administrative, and infrastructure positions.  The HR Practitioner should be proactively engaged with selecting official during the period before the announcement is posted and be involved in the development of the annual Staffing Plan. 
Note:  Steps 1-5 can all be done on the same day if all the preliminary work is done.  Read all comments at each step.

Step 6: Choose Ranking Method

Maximum number of days: 1
The selecting official and HR practitioner determine the process to use for recruitment - merit promotion and/or competitive examining.  If public notice, decide whether to use category ranking or rule of three.  Career Pattern discussion is appropriate at this time. 
This step should take no more than 1 day.

Step 7: Draft and Approve Vacancy Announcement

Maximum number of days: 2
The selecting official and HR practitioner draft and obtain approval for the vacancy announcement.  This step should take no more than 2 days.
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
Use job announcement templates and standard language for frequently filled positions or mission-critical occupations.  Use job analysis and crediting plan criteria to populate announcement template.  Avoid lengthy lists of assessment questions.  Use 4 or 5 relevant questions that correspond to crediting plan.  Narrative responses provide information most easily validated for qualifications.

Step 8: Post Vacancy Announcement

Maximum number of days: 1
The vacancy announcement is posted. This step should take no more than 1 day.
OPTIMAL TIME FRAMES - Helpful Hint for improved timeliness on steps 1-7:
The processes described above can be completed in 12 business days.  As HR offices become more strategic and participate in developing the Workforce Plans and the annual Staffing Plans, they can shorten the time between vacancy request and announcement to 3 – 5 days.

Step 9: Perform Applicant Intake

No specific number of days recommended
Consistent with legal requirements, the nature of the position and the competency need determine the period of time a vacancy remains open. Agencies engage in outreach and other targeted recruitment during this period and should consider advertising deadlines, travel time, and staff resources needed to promote the job to suitable audiences.

Step 10: Close Vacancy Announcement

Maximum number of days: 1
The closing date for a vacancy announcement is the cut-off point for applications. In some cases, veterans may apply after the closing date (see the OPM Delegated Examining Operations Handbook for more details). Agencies notify applicants to acknowledge receipt of their applications. This step should take no more than 1 day.

Step 11: Screen Applicants for Minimum Qualifications/Selective Factors

Maximum number of days: 5 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
This is the first of an 8-step priority period that includes OPM's 45-day model for filling a position. During this step, HR professionals screen applicants for minimum qualifications and other selection factors. This step should take no more than 5 days.
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
The HR Practitioner can cut days off this process by screening applications prior to announcement closing so that the panel can be held within a day or two of closing.

Step 12: Rate Qualified Applicants

Maximum number of days: 5 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
HR professionals or a panel of subject matter experts evaluate qualified applicants in accordance with the assessment method(s) selected in Step 5. This step should take no more than 5 days.
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
If a panel is used, schedule the panel before the vacancy posts and obtain commitment from all members to hold the panel within 2 days of closing.

Step 13: Apply Veterans’ Preference, Rank Qualified Candidates, and Deliver Certificate(s)

Maximum number of days: 5 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
The HR professional applies veterans’ preference, ranks the qualified candidates, and delivers certificates. Applicants are then notified of their status.  This step can be done in 3 days, but should not take more than 5 days.

Step 14: Review Applications

Maximum number of days: 5 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
The selecting official reviews the applications and selects the candidate(s) to interview. This step should take 5 days.

Step 15: Schedule and Conduct Interviews

Maximum number of days: 15 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
The selecting official schedules and conducts interviews with the identified candidates. This step should take no more than 15 days.

Step 16: Check References

Maximum number of days: 5 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
An HR practitioner or designee confirms the interviewed candidates’ references. This step should take no more than 5 days. Applicants are then notified of their status.
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
References can and should be checked by the selecting officials during the interview process.

Step 17: Make Selection(s) and Return Certificate(s)

Maximum number of days: 2 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
The selecting official makes selections and returns certificates. This step can be done in 1 day, but should not take more than 2 days.

Step 18: Extend Job Offer(s)

Maximum number of days: 3 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
An HR practitioner extends a job offer to the selected candidate. If the candidate accepts, all other candidates are notified.  This step can be done in 2 days, but should not take more than 3 days.

Step 19: Conduct Background Check

No specific number of days recommended.
An HR Practioner or designee conducts a background check on the candidate who accepts a job offer. Depending on the job, this step requires a variable amount of time. After this step is completed, a firm job offer can be made and a start date arranged.

Monday, December 26, 2011

HBCU Customer Service: Still a valid concern?

Is this still a valid concern for students attending any HBCU within the U.S.    As a parent of a student attending an HBCU in 2011 I'm beginning to think this is still an issue that has never been addressed.

For the upcoming Spring 2012 semester my daughter has asked me to be actively involved in experiencing her plight in obtaining counseling for her course selection at a major HBCU outside of the Washington, D.C. area in Maryland.  Interesting that my daughter has the same frustrations and a similar experience at an entirely different HBCU.

Look for an upcoming posting, submission of this experience as an article in other publications, and future presentations for students and HBCU advocates.

 

http://www.ncatregister.com/theword/op_ed/hbcu-customer-service-or-lack-of/article_793985de-de5f-11e0-8674-0019bb30f31a.html

HBCU customer service, or lack of

Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 8:00 am | Updated: 11:37 am, Wed Sep 14, 2011.

The customer service on historically black campuses is so terrible. I hate to start with such a negative statement but my disgust has grown so much that there is no other way to describe my frustration with these institutions.

Everywhere from the library to the financial aid office, it is nearly impossible to find a department that is full of individuals that are going to be friendly and helpful to the student body. And quite frankly, I feel like enough is enough.
For years, historically black colleges and universities have been stuck with the stereotype of having terrible customer service. And instead of fighting the stereotype, we have basically embraced it. This year has been no exception.

Recently, yours truly took a journey to Brown Hall in an attempt to purchase a book for my class.
Long story short, I think it is amazing that if the bookstore makes a mistake and does not order the amount of books appropriate for the class, then why can’t students receive a discount on the book?
First of all, the prices are ridiculous to say the least. In addition to these crazy prices, SOME of the workers in the bookstore consistently lie and tell a student they already ordered the book (and in reality didn’t) and the book should be in by the end of the week. Such nonsense forces a student to wait three weeks to get the book for a class (putting an entire class behind).

Yet when the mistake falls back on the bookstore, why must the response to that student be “we don’t discount for text books.” And that was a direct quote from the manager of the bookstore.

If I go to any company in America, chances are my customer service complaint will be fixed and the company would just bite the bullet in most cases. However if you bring it to a department on this campus, you’re basically out of luck. And this is not a shot just at the bookstore, because we all know the most notorious gangster on this campus is of course the people in good ol’ Dowdy.

I think I could end that last statement exactly the way it is. The problems people face with financial aid, bookkeeping, administration, etc. can go on for days. And although some of the blame falls back on the students at times, the problems continue to grow year after year because the people in many of the departments give you poor customer service and place the blame solely on the customer, which in this case is the students.

Many students all over America, not just myself, can say they dread dealing with financial aid. And in a department that deals with student’s money and finances you would think that customer service would be a top priority. Well think again.

In a survey done last week, I found that after asking 50 random students who walked past me on campus, a whopping 88 percent felt that the two places they dread going to is Dowdy and Brown Hall. Ironically, these are the two places that no student can go four years without visiting.

I cannot emphasize enough that this is not just an A&T problem. This is a HBCU problem. Many of my friends and close associates feel that the problems we face at our HBCUs come from a lack of proper leadership and customer service. Many students feel that the response they receive from most departments on campus is “how dare you question the system we already have in place?”

A feeling of dissatisfaction and disgust seems to overwhelm many students when dealing with many departments on campus.

Now on the flip side, campuses such as High Point University have embrace the idea that they are in the customer service industry because they are providing a service to students who are paying thousands of dollars to the university that employs them.

While I often wonder if any of our major departments on campus have customer service training at all, many other universities are making it their main goal to accommodate their way of life to what best fits the students, not the staff.

When you have security guards at the door in the library that accuses every student of being a thief every time the metal detector goes off, there’s a problem.

When you have an institution where you can walk up to a person’s desk, receive no eye contact and their first words are “put in your banner ID” oppose to “Good morning how may I help you today?” clearly there is a problem with your employees customer service.

Any time a student feels they have been talked down to just because they are 18 or 19 years old, there’s a problem. Any time an institution that receives thousands of dollars from students has a bookstore with no policy on being able to purchase books due to a lack of quality customer service, there’s a problem.

Any time you walk out of the financial aid office more upset than you were when you first walked in, then clearly something needs to be done.

This article is in no way attempting to get anyone fired or thrown out of his or her departments. However, I do believe the customer service at this institution is slack, to say the least.

We as the student body are fed up with paying top dollar, for subpar service. I love my institution with all my heart and soul, however if this institution does not improve its customer service, then we will not see alumni willing to give back thousands of dollars to an institution that failed to show them the respect they deserved when they were students here.

-tlmccask@ncat.edu and follow him on Twitter: @TrumaineWasHere

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Free Training Opportunties: Trauma. Learning Center for Child and Adolescent Trauma

Course categories

Psychological First Aid Online 
 Psychological First Aid OnlineSummary
Military Families Learning Community 
 Military Families Learning Community - Master Speaker SeriesSummary
Special Topics 
 Child Welfare Trauma Training ToolkitSummary
 Trauma-Informed InterventionsSummary
 Toolkit for EducatorsSummary
FOCUS Independent Learning Curriculum 
 FOCUS: Basic TrainingSummary
 FOCUS: Advanced TrainingSummary
 FOCUS DMH-LAUSD Family Training
Learning Collaboratives 
 Using the NCTSN Core Curriculum: BSC 2011-2012This course requires an enrollment keySummary
 AF-CBT Learning Collaborative 2011 - 2012This course requires an enrollment keySummary
 CW Breakthrough Series Collaborative 2010 - 2011Summary
 CPP Learning Collaborative 2010 - 2011Summary
 TF-CBT Learning Collaborative 2010 - 2011Summary
Learning Communities 
 PFA Train-the-Trainer
 PFA Trainers OnlineSummary
NCTSN - Network Members 
New Grantee Orientation 
 New Grantee OrientationSummary
All Network Conference 
 2011 All Network ConferenceSummary
Continuing Education 
Current Speaker Series 
 Child Traumatic Grief Speaker SeriesSummary
 Family Systems Speaker SeriesSummary
 Implementing and Sustaining Evidence-based Practice Speaker SeriesSummary
 Zero to Six Child Welfare Speaker SeriesSummary
Previous Speaker Series 
 Child Physical Abuse Speaker SeriesSummary
 Child Sexual Abuse WebinarsSummary
 Complex Trauma Speaker SeriesSummary
 Culture and Trauma Speaker Series, Part I & IISummary
 Culture and Trauma Speaker Series, Part IIISummary
 Master Speaker SeriesSummary
 Partnering with Youth and Families in Trauma Settings Speaker SeriesSummary
 Schools and Trauma Speaker SeriesSummary
 Service Systems Speaker SeriesSummary
 Terrorism, Disaster and Children Speaker SeriesSummary
 Young Children and Trauma: Service System Collaborations Speaker SeriesSummary
 
 
The NCTSN is funded by the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and jointly coordinated by UCLA and Duke University.

..Haiti. We will not forget.

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