Cost of Examinations To Fill Anticipated Vacancies Could Be Reduced

GGD-81-63: Published: Mar 26, 1981. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 1981.

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The U.S. Postal Service's system for examining, grading, and selecting applicants for employment was reviewed at the Chicago Post Office and the National Test Administration Center. The eligibility registers and hiring worksheets for four Chicago Post Office announcements of written examination for employment and the costs of examining and grading applicants were examined.

Many more applicants were examined and graded than were needed to fill anticipated vacancies. It was estimated that the cost of examining and grading approximately 54,000 applicants was nearly $95,000. Of the applicants who took the examination, almost 38,000 passed. The Chicago Post Office considered about 5,000 of these applicants and hired less than 1,900. The large number of applications examined for Postal Service vacancies results in examinations not being given within the required timeframe of 30 days and creates a grading backlog at the Postal Service's National Test Administration Center. GAO believes that the Postal Service could significantly reduce the cost of examinations to fill anticipated vacancies.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status:

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Postal Service should explore the possibility of changing its hiring procedures to (1) allow applicants to file applications for employment at any time; (2) examine applicants in the order applications for employment are received; and (3) examine only the number of applicants needed to fill anticipated vacancies. (The Chicago experience indicates a ratio of 4 to 1.)

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service


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