, Salem, MA


October 13, 2012

Online hiring systems frustrate applicants


Like the private sector, public agencies also rely on computerized tracking systems. HHS Careers, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recruiting system, posts federal job vacancies to USAJOBS, the government’s official online job site.

“Top talent is quickly identified, speeding up the federal hiring process,” according to the department’s website.

But many applicants who regularly use the system complain that applications rarely move on to hiring managers and never lead to interviews.

Applicants said the government system offers little chance to highlight their strengths and provides little or no feedback.

Elaine Sarao, a Washington resident who has worked in foreign affairs since 1994 and currently serves as a Franklin Fellow in the U.S. State Department, said she has applied for both lower- and upper-level federal jobs at various agencies since 2007.

“I have not gotten one interview,” Sarao said. “They are so narrow in the way they look at people. If they are looking for a lima bean counter and you’ve counted pinto beans and black beans, they’ll say they can’t hire you because you’ve not counted lima beans.”

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