HR Strange But True!
May 09, 2002

The federal government is fessing up: Its job-vacancy announcements are just plain hard to read.

Those who aren't up on federal lingo might very well throw up their hands at terms like "KSA," "SF-50," "pay band" and "grade-in-service."

So OPM is bringing in two private-sector experts to help spruce up government job ads, according to The experts are: Dave Russo, CEO of Empliant, an Internet-based human resource management software company and former head of human resources at the SAS Institute, a North Carolina-based software company; and, Renee Lerche, a professor at the University of Michigan and a former senior human resource official at Ford Motor Company in Detroit.

Russo and Lerche will help agencies write better announcements by explaining how to present information in a format that provides critical information but also makes the federal government look attractive as an employer, said Dick Whitford, OPM's acting associate director for employment.

"We all know our vacancy announcements are less scintillating than the latest Harry Potter books," Whitford said. "We have gotten lots of feedback on announcements over the years; they are very long, they can be negative and they are not helping us put our best foot forward."

Among other things, OPM wants to tackle wordiness in job vacancy announcements, Whitford said. "We did a survey recently, and people read announcements that were currently available in the system and told us at the very end that they had no idea what job the government was trying to fill."


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