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USAjobs.gov struggles after feds take it back from Monster.com

User complaints mount as site's availability takes a hit. Former operator Monster offers free job ad postings to government agencies

October 21, 2011 06:00 AM ET

Computerworld - The federal government's central website for posting thousands of federal job openings, USAjobs.gov, has seen performance problems and complaints about searches since the government took it back this month from Monster.com, which had been running the site for years under a contract.

The U.S. employs some 2.6 million people, which makes USAjobs.gov a popular place to look for work.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management officials have acknowledged site availability issues and other problems, and have pledged to "work around the clock to assure USAjobs 3.0 provides the best customer service," the agency said Thursday. It has added new server capacity to the federal jobs site, dubbed version 3.0 and launched Oct. 11.

The operation of USAjobs.gov may well be one of the more visible tests of a federal IT department's ability to take over work previously farmed out to a contractor with a promise of doing it as well or better and at less cost.

Customer complaints have been piling up on OPM's official Facebook page for USAjobs.gov, even as the agency reports that thousands have successfully filed job applications since the transition from Monster.

Wrote one user on Facebook: "website is now the most un-userfriendly website I have used in long-term memory." Another user asked: "Why is it when I search I can get several jobs, then a few hours later no jobs, then a few hours later the several jobs are back?"

Frustration is a common theme. "I am more than fed up with the new site!! It has automatically signed me out 3 times, once while I was editing my resume. The site is slow..," one user wrote.

Another user said: "OK there is definitely something wrong with your search engine. I am looking for jobs in Germany and I always get jobs for DE which is Delaware NOT Germany and I do select the Europe option and the Germany option but your search engine thinks that Germany is DE, which is Delaware ..."

OPM Director John Berry, in a posting Wednesday, said the site has been getting more than expected traffic. The government is now "adding additional server capacity to support this extremely high volume," he said.

"While the number of people trying to use the system fluctuates from hour to hour, we're consistently serving at least 94% of them," said Berry. The others receive a message asking them to try again later.

OPM, in an email response late Thursday to a Computerworld query, said it is now serving users "100% of the time."

Despite the complaints of some users of the jobs site, OPM said the site is allowing people to file applications for jobs.



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