Federal Hiring: USA Staffing System Supports Hiring Needs, but Actions Are Needed to Strengthen Training and Program Management

This post first appeared on GAO Reports. Read the original article.

What GAO Found

The Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) USA Staffing system is one of several talent acquisition systems available to federal agencies. USA Staffing assists with recruitment, assessment, and evaluation of potential job candidates and is designed to accommodate a range of federal hiring flexibilities, authorities, and agency and office processes. Agencies that choose to use USA Staffing enter into an interagency agreement with OPM.

Interagency Agreement Process for Federal Agencies Selecting USA Staffing

The Department of the Treasury (Treasury), the Department of the Interior (Interior), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) chose USA Staffing as their talent acquisition service for a variety of reasons. Interior and Treasury found that USA Staffing offered the best value for their agency, and NASA citing expanded features. These agencies have practices in place to help them assess USA Staffing’s performance to ensure it meets their hiring needs and reported general satisfaction with its functionalities. However, the National Park Service (NPS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) do not routinely solicit feedback on the USA Staffing training they provide to staff. Staff feedback could enhance NPS’s and IRS’s understanding of training participants’ experiences, help identify problems, and improve training resources.

While OPM generally implemented cybersecurity risk assessments for USA Staffing in accordance with federal guidance, it did not fully identify control weaknesses. Specifically, some agreements with agencies connecting systems to USA Staffing had expired. As a result, OPM was unaware of the security state of those systems connected with USA Staffing. GAO alerted OPM to this discrepancy and OPM took steps to assess this risk and implemented new monitoring processes to help ensure the timely renewal of agreements.

OPM provides a variety of support to customers, including account management services and a help desk feature. OPM also collects feedback through surveys and its system enhancement process. However, OPM has not documented its process for updating its manual records, including the roles, responsibilities, and procedures for conducting certain quality control tasks for managing interagency agreement data. This would help OPM ensure it is sharing quality information with those responsible for making decisions regarding USA Staffing.

Why GAO Did This Study

USA Staffing provides talent acquisition services that assist with federal hiring efforts. The federal hiring process is a key element of strategic human capital management, which has been on GAO’s High Risk List since 2001.

GAO was asked to review OPM’s USA Staffing program. This report examines 1) selected agencies’ experiences with selecting and implementing USA Staffing, 2) OPM’s cybersecurity risk assessment processes, and 3) OPM’s processes and procedures for managing USA Staffing.

GAO interviewed officials from Treasury, Interior, NASA, IRS, and NPS about their experiences selecting and using USA Staffing and related training resources. GAO selected these agencies based on the total dollar value of their interagency agreements for fiscal year 2022—the most recent data available—and their organizational structures. GAO analyzed data and documents from OPM and interviewed agency officials.

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