IRS shortens hiring cycle, but TIGTA says more could be done

The Internal Revenue Service has managed to cut its overall timetable for filling vacancies, say auditors, but the agency's hiring process still isn't setting any speed records.
In highlighting a success story, for example, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration notes in a recently released Nov. 27  report (.pdf) that the IRS's information technology division now gets new employees on board in an average of 90 days.
To be fair, that's close to the IRS goal of 80 days – and dramatically faster than the 218 days the IT hiring process took in November 2009.
The Small Business/Self-Employed Division is less successful in meeting goals, according to TIGTA. Its efforts to gain efficiencies by hiring and training large groups of new employees at a time mean it takes an average of 200 days to get new employees on board, the audit finds.
TIGTA also found problems with report data compiled by the IRS Human Capital Office, complicating efforts to measure progress toward meeting the 80-day hiring goal. At TIGTA's suggestion, the hiring office has taken action to correct those errors.
The IRS's hiring picture is complex. It's a big agency, with 100,000 employees, and hires large numbers of seasonal employees for tax season, the report notes – 19,000 in fiscal 2011 alone. The IRS also has a hiring freeze for most positions, except for those required during filing season.
In June 2009, ad hoc hiring from outside the government agencywide took an average of 157 days, the IRS said. That was down to 54 days by the third quarter of fiscal 2012, according to the report.
Automating parts of the hiring process through the IRS's Career Connector computer system helped, TIGTA says. So did establishing processes for monitoring hiring in progress, including reviewing job announcement, hiring status reports and developing hiring timelines. But TIGTA says more work is needed.
The example of improvement in IT hiring is important because the division hires more new employees for individual positions than any other in the IRS. The IT organization worked with IRS HCO to develop Career Connector templates for 98 percent of its positions, cutting the time to rate and rank job candidates from 32 days to less than one day, according to the report.
The organization also uses IRS HCO in-process inventory reports to actively follow up with hiring managers when people aren't hired after 14 days for internal job announcements and 24 for external announcements. The reasons for any hiring delays are reported and used to identify and correct problems that pop up frequently.
For more:
- read the TIGTA report, 2013-10-007
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