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    Da Gubamint

    (April 16, 2002) - Here's a gem. The Federal Government (recently seen to be 'embracing online recruiting') is about to revamp it's online jobs site through an innovative approach. The chosen contractor will get the opportunity to pay for the development of the project in its entirety. Compensation for the development will flow as a direct result of the cost savings associated with the use of the system.

    According to FCW.com:

    OPM officials acknowledged March 21 that they plan to transform the USAJobs Web site into a fully interactive online recruitment site via a share-in-savings contract, in which the contractor puts up all or most of the funds for a system and is then "paid back" by the agency according to an agreed-on percentage of the savings realized through the use of the new technology.

    A quick look at the jobs listing page of USAJobs ("the United States Government's official source of job and employment information") will give you a preliminary sense of the complexity of the task. Although there are similarities, the hiring requirements of each Agency in the State, Local and Federal Government vary just like employers do in the private sector. One immediately wonders about the government's ability to actually deliver on the promise of cash flow from cost savings. 

    Just for a moment, let us notice that the government must not be reading its own statistics. Faced with a tremendous looming labor shortage, the notion that recruitment is going to get less expensive because a job board is in place is ludicrous. Before we venture into the insanity of the 'you build the bridge, you collect the tolls' method of infrastructure development, we need to underline the facts. Federal Recruitment (like all forms of recruitment) is going to get more expensive because there are fewer people to hire. Hiring in the government is further crippled by the fact that they don't pay very well for most jobs.

    That sounds like a hell of a risk for a potential contractor, particularly when sized against the recent contract win by NCS Pearson Inc. They won a $103.4 million contract from the Transportation Security Administration to build an automated, Web-based system to *help* hire the more than 30,000 security workers the agency must bring on board by year's end. Even Monster can acquire candidates at under $3000 per.

    The requirement that the service be funded by the winning organization effectively limits the playing field to two or three possible competitors, at most. We wonder if other large customers won't ask for similar efficiencies. After all, if the government can essentially demand that industry finance its slow moving innovations, why shouldn't industrial customers be able to ask the same from their suppliers. If this mind-numbing silliness actually goes into place, we suggest that you demand equal treatment if your supplier agrees to subsidize development costs for a specific customer. We promise to run a headline on the day of contract award that says XXXX Offers To Pay For Customer Development.

    Let's see if we can make our tired, ages old point one more time: The internet is not cheaper. Recruiting can not get cheaper in a market of scarcities. How hard do you suppose that is to grasp? By the time that the 'new' system is in place, National Unemployment will be under 4% and the government workforce problem will have begun in earnest.

    All of this is not to say that there is no interesting government business to be done. Just that the current crop of geniuses found some of that five year old Kool-Aid and took a big swallow. If you want a crash course in the government market, give a careful look at the links that follow.


    Interesting Associated Links

    - John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.


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