The Defense Digital Service Tuesday awarded a contract worth up to $7 million to five companies to participate in a pilot program designed to revamp the way the Pentagon recruits top technical talent.
The Civilian Hiring as a Service Pilot, or CHaaS, was borne out of a necessity for the Pentagon to attract cutting-edge talent in cybersecurity, user experience design, product management and computer science to compete with foreign adversaries.
Today’s federal hiring system—anchored by the USAJobs.gov portal—is too passive and “isn’t meeting the growing need for talented technical people,” according to a statement from DDS. Tech recruiting problems are exacerbated by lengthy hiring times—the Office of Personnel Management lists the average hiring time at 105 days—lower public sector pay rates for techies and an aging federal tech workforce.
“The government doesn’t utilize common private sector practices, and government hiring often creates hurdles, poor candidate experience, and lengthy timelines which can deter talented technical people,” DDS officials said in a statement. “Now we are working to help the DOD rethink how it approaches cyber hiring and pilot a new way to recruit tech talent and fill critical positions. If we are going to bring in the best talent, it must become far easier for these people to join.”