The Data Briefing: An Interview with USAJOBS on New Changes to Their Data Services

The Office of Personnel Management released a new look and functionality to USAJOBS in February. I recently contacted Michelle Earley, the USAJOBS Program Manager, to ask about the changes to USAJOBS and the data it provides.

Screen capture of the desktop version of the U.S.A. Jobs website homepage

1. What are the priorities this year for the USAJOBS team and the site?

“The priorities for this year include:

  • Unifying the experience
  • Incorporating a comprehensive content strategy to transform the readability of the website
  • Improving the Job Opportunity Announcement (Represents the agency)
  • Improving the User Profile (Represents the job seeker/applicant)
  • Improving Search, which is the mechanism that brings together the job seekers and agencies

USAJOBS hopes to continue to act as a trusted public service career platform that creates a responsive and transparent experience for its users. USAJOBS will help applicants identify exciting opportunities to join the government that best match their unique capabilities.”

The Map Search page of the U.S.A. Jobs website shows a data visualization map of the globe with 8,521 available positions worldwide on March 29, 2016.

2. What kind of data is available in USAJOBS that would be of interest to app developers?

“One kind of data that is available in USAJOBS that would be of interest to app developers would be the Job Opportunity Announcements API. USAJOBS continues to explore its data sets and is working to publish future aggregated data sets towards the end of the calendar year 2016. We want to deliver raw data, as well as data visualizations, that describe how job seekers, applicants and agencies use the USAJOBS website.”

3. How did you use OPM’s Innovation Lab and design thinking to create the new USAJOBS data visualizations?

“We leverage the Innovation Lab at OPM to facilitate human-centered design research, design architecture and Web design to create new visualization tools that are being utilized in the Agency Talent Portal. They have helped us to gain a deeper understanding of the needs of our users and have supported a more holistic approach to Web design that allows USAJOBS to more accurately represent and meet those needs.”

Screen capture of the mobile version of the U.S.A. Jobs website homepage on an Android smartphone.

4. Any plans to update the USAJOBS mobile app?

“No, USAJOBS has moved away from the mobile app and has transitioned to a fully integrated responsive website. The responsive website allows users to interact with the website directly on their phones and smart devices, and the display adjusts to the device screen per its specifications.”

5. Any plans to include data such as badges in USAJOBS applications?

“While there are currently no active badges in USAJOBS, this is something that the design team is exploring further—especially in light of the emphasis to recruit and attract cybersecurity talent. The design team will consider this functionality when we work on the user profile and resume features.”

6. What will USAJOBS look like in 2020?

“In 2020, USAJOBS will continue to operate in an agile environment that makes iterative improvements that best represent the needs of the users and the federal government. The hope is to continue innovating and always working towards improvements.

It is USAJOBS’ ambition to serve as the connector to match job seekers with the right jobs so agencies can reduce mission critical gaps by efficiently hiring and on-boarding the right talent to fill vacancies. Also, our vision is to create a career management platform for new talent to identify their fit in the federal government as well as shape career paths for existing federal employees.”

USAJOBS is probably one of the most used and visited sites of the federal government. What I find especially interesting is how the USAJOBS team used human-centered design to not only improve the look and functionality of the site, but also the way data is delivered through APIs and data visualizations. Thanks to Michelle Earley and the USAJOBS team for great work and for sharing their vision of the new USAJOBS.

Each week, The Data Briefing showcases the latest federal data news and trends. Dr. William Brantley is the Training Administrator for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Global Intellectual Property Academy. You can find out more about his personal work in open data, analytics, and related topics at BillBrantley.com. All opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of the USPTO or GSA.

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