The Government Employment Process. Or: Frustration in a Can.

Do you ever get the urge to rip the head of the next fuzzy and cute thing that wanders your way.?
One of These Will Die If I Have to Do This Again

In the spirit of list-based comedy, I’m going to explain why trying to find your first federal job equates to forcing an enema on a pack of rabid coyotes circling the weak remains of a unicorn in heat.

5. How Many Websites Can You Make?
I’m currently on 13. Yes. Each agency has its own website you have to apply for, and each one requires you to register an account, fill out a resume from scratch, and answer and endless series of psychological questions and short essays. I had to create so many different accounts, I actually had to download a program to manage my user names and passwords. Why you ask? Because I can’t remember login information for NGA, NGO, DIA, FBI, NSA, Navy, State Department, Department of Justice, Department of Treasury, USAJobs, Avuecentral, FSOT registration, application manager, and ICVCF. Yes, those are all real. And they all claim to be the service to use to find a job.

Seriously government? Does it require this many websites to maintain an applicant pool? I know there is a lot of turf wars going on between the agencies, but its time to knock it off and make it easier for the people who want to work for you.
I'm going to get it as some point

4. You Want Me to Wait How Long?
Okay, I understand you have a lot of applicants. I understand you want to screen them. But 6-8 months? I’m apply for work because I need it now. Or reasonably soon. I’ll even take a 3-month wait. I can hold out that long. But wait, you want me to wait 8 months before even responding to my application?
Me, in 8 months
This could be me in 8 months. Seriously. I don’t have the ability or the funding to wait that long to hear back from you. It would be nice to be able to laze about all day until I get the word that I am ‘being considered for the next round’ and then wait several more months for an interview, but I can’t. I need food in the interim. Food costs money. You know the stuff that I usually get in exchange for my work?

3. Experience Experience Experience
Four years of college. Classes, projects, papers, internships. All because we are told that is what we do to get a job. Bbuuuuuuttttt when I actually try and find jobs that look like something I can do, guess what. They want 9 years of experience and a PhD. The available job sites tell me that I am qualified for the position of …….. wait for it…………

File Clerk.
That Guy

And, if you’re good, after 52 weeks, and not before that, you can move up in pay grade.

I imagine it looks something like this:

Why can’t I just find an entry level position in a field that I want to work in that does not require years of prior work experience. Just a heads up to employers – I can’t get any experience if everyone requires me to have experience before working for them. Find a way to fix that.

2. Lack of Transparency
This kind of relates to number four. So, after I fill out an application, submit my resume, and go through the questions, my application package disappears. Completely.

I send it out to the internet and there it goes down the tubes. My best guess is that the hiring process is actually a wormhole which teleports my applications directly into a black hole.

The above represents where my applications go.

I would like some kind of reminder. A little word every now and then. Just let me know where my application is. Is it rejected so I can move on? Is it in a committee reviewing my credentials? Is it just sitting in an application pool? Let me know. I would like to find out how my application is moving along. What I don’t want to do is send something out and find out that I was hired after the sun has consumed earth.

Occurs before I hear back from anyone.

1.Question 1 … Question 7982736
I would consider a normal application process to consist of me researching the company, drafting a cover letter, and then mailing it with my resume to the desired work place. Then, after some follow ups, hearing back with a positive or negative. The government makes this process impossible, since rarely is there a direct contact number to follow up with, and many such opportunities rely on nepotism and the good graces of contacts.

The one thing that really gets me though, and gets me over and over and over is the questions. Almost every application I fill out has supplemental sections. Qualifying questions, psychological profiles, personal narratives, experience measurements, interest forms, personal history narratives. All kinds of forms. Hours of them. These applications may take upwards of three hours to fill out due to the sheer immensity of answers the agency may require. If I want any chance at all at landing a job, I probably shouldn’t be physically and mentally exhausted after one application. Just sayin’.

So government – get rid of the endless questions. The resume you’ve had me submit eight different times by now should answer every question you have. If you want more information from me because my resume says I have the experience matched to the job, then you should call me for an interview, not request an additional three hours of forms. I can answer any question you want in person, but don’t waste my time with endless forms when they are unnecessary.

That is all.

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2 Responses to The Government Employment Process. Or: Frustration in a Can.

  1. Laura says:

    Good to look in the private sector too – I had 2 jobs already after waiting for the government application, which they did, but I needed to move on.

    And btw, my first job after undergrad was the complaint handler with Dole Foods. I’m not sure if that is worse than a file clerk, but it did get me “in” and I did get promoted 6 months later. Thank goodness, or I may have just died in that job!

  2. Janette Paull says:

    I can really sympathize. Finding work is tough right now. And the online applications are a joke! Hang in there though and keep applying.

    Have you looked at University job lists? I have seen entry level jobs there.

    There is always substitute teaching. You can get temporary certification in most states for this with an undergrad degree.

    Also nonprofit organizations like people with liberal arts degrees. They don’t pay a lot but its a job.

    Send me your resume Alex.

    Janette Paull

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