I received a notice of results (NOR) from a federal agency informing me that I was not selected for a position that I applied for. The reason given was that I had uploaded inappropriate content or classified information. I began thinking to myself, “Did I upload a ‘cherished photo’ in a haze as I applied for employment on USAJOBS(.)COM???!
Struggling for a way to figure out how I may redeem myself, I called the personnel center responsible for filling that position. I embarrassingly asked, “What was the inappropriate content?”
Wait for it….
It was my inserted hyperlink in my resume to Linkedin!
Now how many jobs have I applied for over the years with the Linkedin hyperlink? – ALL OF THEM! In fact, MOST employers REQUIRE social media information these days.
I laughed and hung up the phone!
I would have accepted the truth a whole lot better… “You were the most qualified person, and along with your veteran status, we would have had to hire you had you passed a paltry interview. But General Snuffy’s nephew Dugan needed a job, so we looked for a reason to hire him – and that meant first finding a reason to disqualify YOU!”
Having spent 25 years in the Federal Government in the US I can tell you it doesn't make sense and it is not fair, but not always the way you think.
1) I applied for a supervisor job once and was told the job really wasn't about supervision, even though the Job Title was Sandblast Supervisor. Seems I put too much information about my supervision experience and not enough about my hands-on experience in Block A, the screen out element. Block A said "Describe your ability to supervise employees in the trade." So in HR speak it meant to talk all about your experience in the trade and not about your supervision experience. AND even though I had said missing experience listed in Blocks B & C they (HR) couldn't look an inch down in my application because A was the screen out element.
2) I worked at an agency where they created their own rule that violated federal practices. I had to show HR the error of their ways.
3) I once had an HR system figure my pay out wrong and they paid me too much. Even though I showed them in the regulations their error they kept insisting that "We know what we're doing!" They refused to pay me less so I kept it and then transferred out at the higher pay a few months later.
4) I was once denied an OPPORTUNITY to apply for an INTERNAL promotion because HR had a policy that said All jobs posted internally had to be open for a minimum of 30 calendar days. There were only 29 days left until the end of the fiscal year. They had another rule that said all open positions had to have a name associated with them before the end of the fiscal year or the position would be lost. So my boss had to pick a name from a stack of resumes and associate it with the position or else lose the position.
5) I once had a higher graded employee in my dept (of only 2 people) retire. My boss and I waited for HR to post the job opening only to never see it come. When my boss asked HR what happened to the position the HR person said they didn't know but it was gone. Yes, gone to a friend of another division head in a different dept and job series. It went from a Computer Operator to a Loss Prevention Specialist. Nowhere near similar jobs but the same pay rate.
6) Now I have also been on the benefit sometimes of these stupid government rules. I once was the second choice of the selecting official. Seems they had posted the job requirement as having to have the CISSP. #1 guy didn't have it, but I did. #1 told them he wasn't going to get it, EVER! They only had 2 choices, rescind the job announcement and repost it without the requirement, but stand a chance to have it hit the stopper list (displaced employees from other agencies) or go with the number 2 choice. They went with me.
7) I also saw a situation where the current supervisor was retiring and asked her employees who wanted to take her job, which was one level higher. Only one person did. For 6 months this person shadowed her and watched her every move, for the remaining 6 months the supervisor stepped back and let the employee fill in and do everything she normally did. When it came time to pick her replacement, HR said, "Oh! This other guy has been a 13 before so we will just pick him instead of promoting a 12."
8) I have also heard of other government places where 2 IT directors had an unspoken but also unwritten pact to not hire each others employees, even if it benefitted the employee through a promotion. That sucked. You were stuck and didn't even know it. Turns out one of the directors figured out a way move his girlfriend up the ladder quickly while denying promotions to others who deserved them. When they started investigating him, he killed himself. He knew the paper trail was ugly.
I also posted this response below in another post: https://community.isc2.org/t5/Career/How-to-become-a-more-effective-security-practitioner/td-p/7668/...
I agree with you about the government hiring process, it is a joke. "Here, fill out this questionnaire and self rate yourself on these questions. If you rate yourself high enough we will pass your name on for consideration." It is a system that penalizes honesty or people without huge egos (most people do not like to brag about themselves when applying for jobs). Perhaps that is why DoD has a higher percentage of ego maniacs, because the hiring system is set up to reward people with huge egos, people willing to lie because they know how to play the system or people who know how the system works and plays by the rules they are given. I have had more than my share of secretaries and grave diggers apply for IT positions and they rated themselves highly on the IT questionnaires without having the requisite IT experience in their resumes to back it up. I did part-time federal resumes on the side for a few years and helped people "play the game the way the government wanted to play it". It is a lousy system.