Expensive overhaul of USAJobs website leaves users frustrated, private companies offering help
The federal government’s Office of Personnel Management rolled out a freshly overhauled USAJobs.gov website on October 11. But it has failed to dazzle federal job seekers, prompting private companies to offer to bail out the government.
A massive number of complaints have been reported since the change from the previous Monster.com-powered version — ranging from failed login attempts to the site’s confusing layout and inaccurate search results.
Monster.com announced Wednesday it will be offering free job posting to federal agencies for 30 days as the OPM continues struggling to operate and maintain the relaunched site.
One frustrated user posted on USAJob’s Facebook wall: “’The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server.’ This is what I have been getting for the past hour, every time I try and edit my resume. Every time I try and save, I lose all the work I have just done. It is so frustrating!”
OPM Director John Berry said in a statement that 94 percent of USAJobs users are consistently being served, leaving out 6 percent of users at a time. While OPM explains away the problems with the website on high traffic volume, scores of complaints fill the USAJobs Facebook page that sound more like unfriendly user design than traffic overload. Several posts ask USAJobs to roll back to version “2.0.”
“OPM wasted two years and $20 million taxpayer dollars to build a website with less functionality than it had to begin with,” declared Linda Rix, co-CEO of Avue Technologies, a job-search website that also offers free job postings for federal agencies, in an Oct. 12 statement.
“It’s long past time for OPM to get out of the software and technology business and get back to its core mission as a policy agency for HR,” Rix said.
Computerworld reported that OPM Associate Director Angela Bailey said it cost $6 million over the past year to build the new USAJobs.gov. When asked by The Daily Caller, Monster.com opted not to comment on OPM’s job performance. Monster did, however, corroborate Bailey’s statement.
Not everyone is convinced the $6 million price tag is justifiable.
“I might make some people mad if I say this, but without knowing the specifics of the contract I can’t really see something like this costing over half a million dollars,” said Zach Katkin, President and CEO of Atilus, a Florida-based Web development firm.
“There’s not that much data on USAJobs,” said Katkins. “There are some pretty awesome tools, but it’s slow and broken. It looks like there’s also some pretty sophisticated software, but is it worth $6 million? I don’t think so.”
USAJobs announced Wednesday on Twitter that 141,289 job applications had been submitted using the new site as of 4:00 p.m. Tuesday.