The White House and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) this week initiated major changes in how the federal government will hire workers.  OPM Director John Berry stated in a joint OMB/OPM news release that the new hiring reforms will bring the federal hiring process into the 21st century.  The federal government, Berry said, “must cut the red tape clogging the Federal hiring process in order to bring aboard outstanding applicants quickly.”   The reform was detailed in a memo from President Obama directing agencies to overhaul the federal hiring process within 180 days.  The memo called for a “commonsense hiring process” that allows agencies “to select high quality candidates quickly and efficiently.”  The direction addresses two common complaints about the current hiring process:  the length of time it takes to hire, and the complicated and often confusing application process.  According to federal officials, the goal of the new process is to reduce the average time it takes to hire workers from 140 to 80 days or less.  And in a major break with the current application process, resumes will replace the much-maligned knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA’s) essays.  The new system will have shorter job announcements.  And in another major change, managers will be allowed to hire from a group of best qualified candidates, rather than selecting from the “top three.”  Managers will also be fully involved in the hiring process by helping to plan workforce requirements, identify necessary skills for the job, and engage more actively in recruiting prospective employees.  OPM also announced that it is launching a web site that will guide agencies and managers through the reform process.