A recent survey of Inspectors General offices by the Association of Government Accountants highlighted just how much agencies are being hindered by the federal hiring process.  Among the challenges noted:

  • The hiring process doesn’t provide a qualified pool of candidates 30% of the time
  • Initiating the hiring process is “long, cumbersome, and inefficient” according to IGs
  • It isn’t clear whether a writing sample can even be required to apply
  • Even when qualified candidates are identified, they often accept other positions while awaiting hiring approval

Overall, only 12% of respondents said that the hiring process they’re currently using allows them to hire staff in a timely manner.

And unfortunately, the hiring challenges go all the way to the top of the organization.  Thirty percent of all IG posts requiring Senate approval are unfilled, even though two-thirds of those unfilled posts have nominations waiting in Congress.  These unfilled positions affect many more agencies than you’d expect, because 85% said that the anticipation of Congressional approval delays impacts the ability to fill IG vacancies.  The most qualified people for these positions are highly accomplished, and are unlikely to want their career to hang in limbo for months – or years.

With a single party soon to control both legislative bodies and the executive branch, many IG offices will likely be anxiously waiting to see if their agency head is among a flurry of appointments to vacant posts.  The convoluted hiring process that spans all agencies of the federal government, unfortunately, will definitely take more than a few months to improve.