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My paper will explain a little history behind the Custom Border Protection (CBP), the hiring practices for the Custom Border Protection (CBP) Human Resources Department (HR) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The reason I chose CBP as my subject for this paper is that I have been working with CBP for about a year now and am interested in their hiring procedures. My previous employer was the Department of Defense (Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, VA.). This paper will analyze how my employer, CPB, fills vacancies, job postings, recruitments, employee selections, resume selections, interview processes, selection processes, hiring processes, background selections and evaluation process.
The main objective of any HR department when it comes to recruiting, is to ensure they recruit qualified candidates for the right positions. Along with this responsibility, HR must ensure that they are adequately staffed in order to operate in an efficient manner. Vacancies happen all sorts of ways. This could be the result of a newly created position, employee retiring or resigning a position. HR departments are tasked with the role of filling these positions to meet CPB’s missions.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employs over 60,000 employees and is one of the world’s largest law enforcement agencies. CBP was established July 31, 1789 when it was known as the U.S Customs Service. During that time, it was composed of numerous federal bureaus and agencies. CBP has been maintaining the integrity of the U.S. borders since Congress authorized the hiring of Border Patrol personnel on May 28, 1924. In addition to this core of specialties and responsibilities present at CBP’s founding, CBP also developed an air and marine monitoring capability with the formation of its third uniformed division, the Office of Air and Marine on Jan. 17, 2006. The uniformed ranks are only a portion of CBP’s specialized corps. They are joined by forensic scientists, international trade specialists, public affairs officers and cadres of other specialists and employees who work together to make CBP’s processes more secure, cost effective and efficient. Because of the work the staff of CBP performs, the nation’s borders and the American communities around them have never been more secure. But there is more that needs to be done. As CBP progresses into its second decade, the nation will see a fully integrated approach to international security, trade and travel that makes the world safer and facilitates international travel and trade. This drives the continuous improvement of CBP’s operations.
As the United States’ first unified border entity, CBP takes a comprehensive approach to border management and control, combining customs, immigration, border security, and agricultural protection into one coordinated and supportive activity. The men and women of CBP are responsible for enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws and regulations. On a typical day, CBP welcomes nearly one million visitors, screens more than 67,000 cargo containers, arrests more than 1,100 individuals, and seizes nearly 6 tons of illicit drugs. Annually, CBP facilitates an average of more than $3 trillion in legitimate trade while enforcing U.S. trade laws (Securing America’s Borders, n.d.). On March 1, 2003, U.S. Customs and Border Protection became the nation’s first comprehensive border security agency with a focus on maintaining the integrity of the nation’s boundaries and ports of entry.
According to the Encyclopedia of Management (2009), there are certain steps that needs to be followed for a good Human Resources (HR) Departments to accomplish their recruitment goals (Employee Recruitment Planning p.250).
These steps include:
Identifying the job opening-HR department should often plan for future openings both short and long term. By interjecting these projections and implementing proper recruitment strategies they won’t fall in the trap of fast hiring practices.
Deciding how to fill the job opening– There must be vacancy open in order to fill them. Identifying the target population-An important job for the section is to inform HR, that a position needs to be filled.
Notifying the target population– When choosing a specific way to notify the target population, different recruitment methods may be used. Some popular options are internal job postings; newspaper, radio, and television advertisements; trade magazine advertisements; Internet job sites; college campus interviews; and current employee referrals.
Finally meeting with the pentanal candidates– Finally, the most qualified candidates are brought in for interviews and other assessment procedures. This process helps HR get a chance to further assess the candidates’ qualifications and learn more about employment opportunity.
As stated in the Encyclopedia of Management (2009), “organizations should attempt to identify job openings well in advance of an announced resignation” (Employee Recruitment Planning p.250). Waiting to the fill these positions can sometimes cause CBP’s mission to slow down due to lack of manpower. In addition, some job postings are created due to an increase in workload or a need to fill an existing position due to an employee resigning or leaving for promotional reasons. CBP HR Department must get information from the departments that are requesting to fill a position. Once HR determines a position is needed, it will requests a job description along with required credentials for the job by the section(s) that are requesting candidates.
Once vacancies are approved and posted, HR makes them available for applicants to file for the job posting. In order to better evaluate candidates for the positions HR uses a self-assessment questionnaire as a screening tool to determine if you have the minimum qualifications for the job. This assessment questionnaire is designed to ask specific questions about your skills and it is setup as multiple choice. It is important that an applicant answers the questions honestly. The Self-assessment questionnaire supports the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) required for the position. The number of questions can range anywhere from 10 to 80, depending on the HR specialist who is managing the recruitment (Designing an Assessment Strategy n.d.). The questionnaire is critical piece for HR, it reduces the number of applicants who are not qualified for the position. A score of 70 or better is required for the questionnaire. If you score between 70 and 90, you will be considered among the best, but not the best qualified. In order to be consider the Best Qualified for the position, you must score 90 (Designing an Assessment Strategy n.d.). It is import to ensure the applicants resume matches the questionnaire and KSA’s for the job vacancy in order for the Best Qualified personnel to be selected. CBP’s HR believes that applicant responses to these scenarios will give them a better sense of what to expect when it comes to employee work performance, personality traits, and experience with various subject matters. When I filled out the questionnaire for my current job, the questions were based more on education rather than job experiences. The KSA normally decreases the number of applicants by about two-thirds. The applicants will disqualify themselves by not uploading the required documentation such as, resumes and transcripts, SF50’s or DD214’s (Designing an Assessment Strategy n.d.).
Resumix is the system that is used by most federal agencies to help filter resumes. The Resumix system is a keyword system, which outlines featured keywords and searches terms used by the human resources specialists and supervisors in the Job posting. HR and the hiring supervisors will only see the resumes of the Best Qualified. In some cases, if a resume is not deemed to be qualified, this will be detected by the Resumix system. In special instances HR and supervisors can make a request to push all or recommended resumes to make the next step which is the interview process.
Some agencies may require you to conduct two or three interviews before an applicant is given a tentative offer. I was only required to attend one interview with CBP. When I was selected for an interview with CPB, I was first contacted via email by the supervisors of the department to see what would be the best available times for me to attend the interview. There may be other positions within CPB, which may require more interviews. It depends on the department supervisors. My interviewer mentioned to me during the interviewing process that I was one of two candidates that were being interviewed for the position. Once the interviewing process is complete, the supervisor makes their selection and sends the name of their first choice for the position to HR. If they feel that more than one applicant is qualified, they then make alternate selections in case the first applicant doesn’t except the job. Once I was selected, the HR department contacted me to inform me that I was selected and at that time a job offer was extended to me. It came with a clause of conditional employment pending me passing a background check. If you accept the conditional employment, you are able start work with the agency before the background check has been completed. Once the background check is complete and it is favorable, then you convert to a career status. If the background check shows unfavorable information the applicant could be out of a job.
According to CBP’s and OPM HR all federal employment background checks are designed to make sure each person hired to a government job is “reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and loyal to the United States.” At a basic level, these background checks usually include criminal history searches and credit history checks. If the position does involve access to sensitive or confidential information, then the person being hired must also obtain a government security clearance. All security clearances require additional checks that may include interviews with spouse, roommates, neighbors, friends, work colleagues, family members, or acquaintances. There are three levels of security clearance that may be required for a federal government job: Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret. The depth, length, and details of a government background check will vary depending on the level of security clearance as well as the requirements of the job.
CBP’s evaluation process involves much more than just rating an employee, it deals with a goal-oriented evaluation, that they hope will set you up for success and advancement in the organization (Designing an Assessment Strategy n.d.).
Theses steps involve and are not limited to:
- Planning-giving your employees goals that are obtainable and setting up for success.
- Monitoring-asking employees how are they doing and providing feedback if necessary, in order to identify any potential problems.
- Developing-increasing the capacity to perform through training, giving assignments that introduce new skills or higher level of responsibility, improving work processes, or other methods.
- Rating-each employee has a voice in there rating which is considered a plus when going over your performance plan with the supervisor in order to obtain the rating you deserve
- Rewarding-giving incentives to those employees that go above and beyond the call of duty.
CBP’s HR hiring process seemed to work well for me, from the recruitment process to me being hired. I thought it was well planned and it allowed the HR department to narrow down its best candidates with the use of technology. Although I didn’t mention in the beginning of my paper due to word limitation, I am a veteran and I completely agree with CBP and the government policies on hiring veterans. Veterans are recognized for their sacrifice to the United States of America. Congress enacted laws to prevent veterans seeking Federal employment from being penalized for their time in military service. Veterans’ preference recognizes the economic loss suffered by citizens who have served their country in uniform, restores veterans to a favorable competitive position for Government employment, and acknowledges the larger obligation owed to disabled veterans by giving them a hiring preference for hire (Designing an Assessment Strategy n.d.). Although my experience was great, when I got hired, some have voiced their displeasure with the system in its current state. They believe that the current system requires excessive amounts of documentation to prove that the people who are referred for selection and who get the jobs are the “best qualified.” The reason given by this article was; there is no way anyone can be considered the “best qualified” because it just is not true. This is because managers may be looking for different types of people. One may believe technical qualifications are most important. Another may believe people skills are more important. Another may believe institutional knowledge is critical. Even the same manager may look for different skills at different times (Neal, 2017). Although I have only been with CPB for little over a year my experience has been great. My position with CBP was a promotion and I truly enjoy my job of helping defend our border and protect the environment.
- Designing an Assessment Strategy. (n.d.). Retrieved July 15, 2019, from https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/assessment-and-selection/assessment- strategy/
- Employee Recruitment Planning. (2009). In Encyclopedia of Management (6th ed., pp. 250- 253). Detroit: Gale. Retrieve 12 July, 2019 from http://link.galegroup.com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/apps/doc/CX3273100088/GVRL?u=umd_umu c&sid=GVRL&xid=deb4b904 https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/about/index.html
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Securing America’s Borders. (n.d.). Retrieved July 16, 2019, from https://www.cbp.gov/
- Neal, J. (2017, September 28). What’s Wrong with the Federal Hiring Process? Retrieved July 15, 2019, from https://chiefhro.com/2017/03/28/whats-wrong-with-the-federal-hiring- process/
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