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Improving the federal hiring process is critical given the increasing number of new hires expected in the next few years. Congress asked GAO to report on the (1) status of recent efforts to help improve the federal hiring process and (2) extent to which federal agencies are using two new hiring flexibilities--category rating and direct-hire authority. Category rating permits an agency to select any job candidate placed in a best-qualified category. Direct-hire authority allows an agency to appoint individuals to positions without adherence to certain competitive examination requirements when there is a severe shortage of qualified candidates or a critical hiring need.

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