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Feds Take USAjobs.gov Back From Monster, Performance Tanks 175

Posted by timothy
from the regression-testing dept.
dcblogs writes "Complaints about the performance of USAjobs.gov, the government's central website for job applicants, are piling up after the U.S. took control this month of the site from Monster.com. The government's official Facebook page has seen nothing but negative comments from users about lag time, search engine failures, and other problems since the U.S. Office of Personnel Management built a new site. The government employs more than 2.6 million people. Linda Rix, the co-CEO of Avue Technologies Corp., a federal contractor who has tested the site, said this about the federal effort: 'They are a personnel management agency, they are not a technology company, and this clearly demonstrates that they don't have the technology skills to be able to do this.'" They're working on it, though — one of their recent Facebook updates says, "Quick update: The three new blade servers have increased our capacity and the system is running smoothly."
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Feds Take USAjobs.gov Back From Monster, Performance Tanks

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  • Does that mean three racks of blade servers, or three blade units into a single enclosure?

    By comparison, how many servers does Slashdot run on? I remember that something like twelve years ago it was only two...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 21, 2011 @09:19PM (#37800878)
      Well when Taco left he took everything but the commordore 64s so he could run his 'services'.
      • by TWX (665546)

        Well when Taco left he took everything but the commordore 64s so he could run his 'services'.

        Then it's safe to say that Slashdot is very efficient...

      • by PerlJedi (2406408) Works for Slashdot

        Well when Taco left he took everything but the commordore 64s so he could run his 'services'.

        Maybe but we are squeezing every last drop of compute power out of that commodore 64. :-)

      • But they're really nice C64 blades.

      • That explains the lack of an edit button!

    • It read pretty clearly to me, 3 blades - 3 blades should serve quite a few job seekers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        In this day and age, you need at least 5 blades to get close....

      • by nabsltd (1313397)

        It read pretty clearly to me, 3 blades - 3 blades should serve quite a few job seekers.

        Maybe, maybe not.

        If the system had 30 blades running it with the crappy performance, then 3 more won't do much. If it had 3 blades before, then maybe 3 more will help, unless, of course, the poor performance is not caused by lack of CPU resources. If it's because of disk or network issues, throwing more CPUs at it will probably make it worse. Or, perhaps the individual blades are underpowered.

  • by Oriumpor (446718) on Friday October 21, 2011 @09:18PM (#37800870) Homepage Journal

    And it becomes slow, unresponsive, and costly. ...
    Nope. No Surprises here.

    • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @12:15AM (#37801762)

      Just so we're clear:

      1) If Government 'outsources' its IT costs to a cloud service they're idiots wasting money who got conned into an unreliable and insecure buzzword.

      2) If the Government brings tech back in house and doesn't use a cloud service they're slow, unresponsive and stupid.

      I'm sorry, is there a third option that we're thinking they should adopt?

      • Yes, the third option is that they should run a good service cost effectively.
      • Oursourcing is not the same as cloud. It can be, but not always.

        Cloud is not the same as insecure, or unreliable. It can be, but not always.

        In house is not the same as cheap and responsive. It can be, but not always.

        Hope that clarifies things.

      • by perlchild (582235)

        It's simple... the biggest difference between a cushy consulting gig and a government job is the job security and the money. The combination of job security and lower money for government jobs means it's where skilled people go to die...

        They need to do two things:
        1) remove the job security
        2) pay market wages for the same work

        But it'll only work if they do both at once...

    • by squidfood (149212) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @07:54AM (#37803032)
      Let me fucking ask you something. What's more slow, unresponsive, and costly for any large company:

      1. A single, unified intranet with various services and uniform oversight.

      2. A patchwork of outsourced-to-the-lowest-bidder Daily-WTF worthy enterprisy "commerical" websites for every separate service (HR, Payroll, Benefits, travel, documents, petty cash etc. etc.). Because that's my reality in the system. Uniform interface? Uniform security policy? Uniform uptime? Try three-times daily outage notices from one-system-or-other, weekly password resets (every one with different rules), piss-poor interface design, etc.

      It's not about size-of-government or any other libertarian bullshit fantasy; even a government shrunk by 90% would still need these services. It's the constant drive to privatize these functions driven by the "ooh, the private market is magic and never does anything wrong" mantra that leads to this ugly, wasteful, and inefficient patchwork. Inefficient government? No, it's a government that only gets exactly what this idiot-driven free-market religion allows it to pay for.

      • 1. A single, unified intranet with various services and uniform oversight.
        You mean a big one size fits all ram a square peg through a round hole, b/c no one can change anything. Lot's of companies have stuff like that it's called SAP and it is why shit always takes twice as long as it should.
      • It's the constant drive to privatize these functions driven by the "ooh, the private market is magic and never does anything wrong" mantra that leads to this ugly, wasteful, and inefficient patchwork. Inefficient government? No, it's a government that only gets exactly what this idiot-driven free-market religion allows it to pay for.

        When you look at the cluster-f**k of contractors in just Iraq...just goes to show if anything businesses will bend you over every time they get the chance. For instance...the Pentagon has no idea where billions disappeared to in these war zones...except knowing it was paid out to government contractors. When you have Halliburton built buildings electrocuting soldiers while taking showers and professional/over-priced thugs killing civilians this nation "claims" to be helping in the name of who can steal mor

  • Can't wait.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Majik Sheff (930627) on Friday October 21, 2011 @09:21PM (#37800892) Journal

    until these clowns are in charge of my health care. There's nothing bureaucracy can't screw up!

    • being sad about health care is a pre existing at lest there plan does not have any of that BS and give you choice or you want the McDonalds mini med that costs like $1000 year for a max pay out of $2000.

      One of the problem with health care in this country is the lack of availability of insurance plans except by what the employers offers.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday October 21, 2011 @11:27PM (#37801540) Homepage Journal

        One of the problem with health care in this country is the lack of availability of insurance plans except by what the employers offers.

        You're partially right.

        The problem with health care in this country definitely involves insurance.

        Why do we still use "insurance" for health care, anyway? Does any other developed country base distribution of health care on "insurance"?

        Nobody in the US goes through life without using health care at some point. It's silly to have a system where every single dollar spent on health care has 20% taken off the top for "insurance".

        And I certainly agree that getting health care should not have anything to do with your job, because when employers are involved with health care, because your employer really doesn't give a fuck about you, unless you work for your father. They wouldn't hesitate to watch you suffer in excruciating pain or die of mesothelioma at age 66 if it meant an additional .004% in profits. It's just not the way they're made.

        Our health care system was a lot better when all hospitals were non-profit and doctors were part of the middle class. That's not to say that there have not been technological advances. But the system itself will only get worse to the extent that profit becomes the primary driving force behind supply.

        • by DRJlaw (946416) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @12:49PM (#37804590)

          Our health care system was a lot better when all hospitals were non-profit and doctors were part of the middle class.

          Doctors are not part of the middle class?

          My wife started college at 16, didn't fool around, and managed to graduate from medical school at 24 with around $130K in student loan debt. She then worked 80+ hours per week in an internal medicine residency for 3 years earning 45-50K/yr. She then took a fellowship for 2 years working 70+ hours per week earning $50K/yr. At age 29, she began a split fellowship/academic instructor position that finally began to pay a salary approaching reality for the level of training involved - $100K. Student loan debt is still around $120K due to deferments.

          If you ignore all the investment to get there, she's "rich" in the eyes of left wing extremists like yourself. However, considering that she's had to accumulate more debt, dive into a hardcore and extensive higher education, work far longer hours for a merely median wage, and do that for 9 years longer than the typical BA, you're not going to get any sympathy from me.

          Doctor's income is not wealth until sometime in their mid 40s. Doctor's income is DEBT SERVICE in their 30s, starting a family in their late 30s or early 40s, and only then becomes something that puts them above middle class.

          It's also stupid to argue that some of the most highly trained people in our society (0.3% [nationmaster.com]) ought to be compensated as "the middle class." If you want more family practitioners, pay them for God's sake. Otherwise, there's simply not enough altruists to go around, and you cannot command for there to be more...

          • by radish (98371)

            I agree with the grandparent that healthcare shouldn't be (exclusively) private, so I'm probably a "left wing extremist" in your eyes (which would be a hysterical description to anyone who knew me). But $100k is not "rich" (depending largely on where you live, it certainly isn't around here) and your wife should be both applauded and compensated for her dedication (as should teachers, like my wife). She also shouldn't have to share the money spent on healthcare with the insurance companies. They're nothing

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            My wife started college at 16, didn't fool around, and managed to graduate from medical school at 24 with around $130K in student loan debt. She then worked 80+ hours per week in an internal medicine residency for 3 years earning 45-50K/yr. She then took a fellowship for 2 years working 70+ hours per week earning $50K/yr. At age 29, she began a split fellowship/academic instructor position that finally began to pay a salary approaching reality for the level of training involved - $100K. Student loan debt is

    • Re:Can't wait.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taikiNO@SPAMcox.net> on Friday October 21, 2011 @09:29PM (#37800948)

      Yeah, because Cigna, Kaiser and Blue Cross are all known for their tip top efficiency.

      • As far as I know, my whole family (including grandparents on both sides, and aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) are all on Kaiser and I haven't heard a single awful story about them. My grandfather had 3 heart attacks in 3 years and Kaiser helped him get better every time... then he had a massive stroke and Kaiser helped him learn to talk again (at age 84) until Alzheimer's and more strokes got the best of him and he died early this year.

        I'm on Cigna because my employer is retarded (you can choose Cigna or Kaiser

        • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

          by jittles (1613415)
          Well consider yourself lucky. I have a nephew on Kaiser. He was apparently born with a heart defect that manifested itself around his 1st birthday. Kaiser does not have a specialist who is licensed and board certified to perform heart surgery on a child under 2 years old. So, rather than pay the cost to have him get the surgery the acknowledge he will definitely need, they make him stay in the hospital for 5 weeks while they try various medicines that are somewhat dangerous to take, until they found a m
          • by St.Creed (853824)

            Son of a friend was in the same position except at 6 weeks old. They tried medicine first as well but it didn't work (problems were too big). So he had surgery. This is the Netherlands btw so you get surgery when you need it (but mandatory insurance here). Anyway they had licensed surgeons (academic hospital) and still they tried medication first, because that was what would be the best for the child.

            Heart surgery for kids under 2 years of ages is a high-risk game. We were told the kid had an 80% survival c

      • by Rakishi (759894)

        Kaiser is considered one of the better health insurance companies in the US (this from people who deal with health plans for a living) and their plans in fact cost less than those of competitors. So yes, they're very efficient.

        Plus they actually give a damn about preventive care.

    • by DesScorp (410532)

      The poster has a valid point. In America, health care is a consumer service. For all of our complaints, were health care to be turned over to a federal bureaucracy, it would almost certainly get worse.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's flamebait because there isn't an "I disagree" option. I accepted the karma burn when I posted it. Sometimes the truth hurts. In this case it's gonna hurt a lot when people find out just how screwed we are when the realities of rationed health care hit home.

        • by radish (98371)

          It's ALREADY rationed, there are plenty of people out there who can't get the care they need. Making the provision of healthcare dependent on need rather than how much you can afford is such an incredibly obvious thing to do that I simply can't understand those who are against it. I've lived under both systems and it's no contest which is better.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by DesScorp (410532)

            It's ALREADY rationed, there are plenty of people out there who can't get the care they need.

            By that definition, everything from food to housing to cars are"rationed".

            Which is to say, it's not. Your definition is false. Rationing occurs by a central government authority who decides to distribute a good or service based on a criteria. Medical care... like food, housing, and cars... is a combination of goods and services in a market. It's not rationing when someone can't afford something.

            You would have been accurate had you said "plenty of people can't afford to pay for medical care" (just as many pe

    • Are the majority of government supplied services in the USA really so bad that it is a common opinion among non-radical anti-government people that the government can do nothing right?

      I live in BC, Canada, and most government services are supplied very effectively, and generally without much waste. There are issues with bonuses that are not deserved (a whole large service related to group homes for disabled people just had all their bonuses removed due to perceived abuse), cushy pensions, the occasional

  • personnel management agency = HR

    And HR does not get IT that much and hiring based on key words does not help.

    • by bryan1945 (301828) on Friday October 21, 2011 @09:54PM (#37801098) Journal

      Don't forget the requirement to have 20+ years of Java experience (or whatever that number was back when they were just pulling numbers out of their asses.).

    • by todrules (882424)
      'They are a personnel management agency, they are not a technology company, and this clearly demonstrates that they don't have the technology skills to be able to do this.'

      From the quote above, it sounds like they actually had the HR people building the website.

      It really doesn't matter what kind of company it is. It could be a furniture, clothing, or car company. They can all have good websites. You hire the people to do the job for you.
  • by ExtremeSupreme (2480708) on Friday October 21, 2011 @09:27PM (#37800936)
    Oh look at those idiots in govt.... with their job security, and their benefits, and their pension... clearly only the stupid people are the ones that apply to govt jobs! there's no way it's the most clever of us who work in govt...
    • Grammer Natzi sez: It's Cue, not Queue.

      • Huh. How about that. Thanks!
      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        And you would be wrong. Queue is a perfectly acceptable English word, derived from the French word for "tail".
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by afabbro (33948)

          And you would be wrong. Queue is a perfectly acceptable English word, derived from the French word for "tail".

          And you would be wrong. The idiom is "cue", not "queue", though both happen to work depending on how flexible one is on the meaning.

          Given this is supposedly (though rarely actually) a technology discussion site, I think "queue" in this context could be clever. I doubt it was meant as such, however.

        • by radish (98371)

          Sure it's an acceptable English word. It's just the wrong one.

      • by sjames (1099)

        Unless he is rather cleverly suggesting that he expects a great many negative comments and would like the process to be orderly.

        • I considered that, but there was nothing in the post to suggest anything other than a simple phonetic transposition of the word "Cue" which he likely learned verbally in context, with the word Queue which he likely learned written on a programming exam.

          • So what should one write in order to invoke this pun in a way that even grammar national socialists will recognize? Would this work: "Cue the negative comments. In fact, queue them because there'll be so many."
            • So what should one write in order to invoke this pun in a way that even grammar national socialists will recognize? Would this work: "Cue the negative comments. In fact, queue them because there'll be so many."

              If that was the desired pun, then, yes, that would work... except that /. stores comments in a tree instead of a queue...

    • Im not going to deny that there are some clever people in the government-- the NSA, for example-- but large swaths of government are NOT those people, and it doesnt tend to encourage efficiency. My experience-- even at a local level-- has been that the tendency is far more to throw money at a problem than to actually try to do things properly.

  • No surprise. Everyone always thinks that scaling is easy, and then spends months dealing with a long series of choke points and cache overflows. This is bearable if you can scale slowly, but not if all the traffic Is dumped on you from day one.

    The question is, will it still suck in three months? Will their IT folks learn?

    • by fluffy99 (870997)

      No surprise. Everyone always thinks that scaling is easy, and then spends months dealing with a long series of choke points and cache overflows. This is bearable if you can scale slowly, but not if all the traffic Is dumped on you from day one.

      The question is, will it still suck in three months? Will their IT folks learn?

      The scaling part was easy. They slapped in some blades and expanded the cluster.

      What they goofed on was capacity planning. The Navy stopped using their CHART system and shifted over to using USAJobs. I think some other agencies standardized on using USAJobs at the same time as well. So the shear number of job listing went way up. Double the listing translates into much more than double the site visits.

  • THREE!?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 21, 2011 @09:36PM (#37801004)

    Sounds like Monster was butt-hurt when Uncle Sam ditched them, so they had a stooge write a sob story for Computer World.

    What I read: Organization ditches outsourced vendor, launches redesign, massive traffic, servers strained, iron and squids are added, site is back.

    Wake me when /. has some real news.

    • Sounds like Monster was butt-hurt when Uncle Sam ditched them, so they had a stooge write a sob story for Computer World.

      What I read: Organization ditches outsourced vendor, launches redesign, massive traffic, servers strained, iron and squids are added, site is back.

      Wake me when /. has some real news.

      Except that it wasn't just "some organization". It was the government. The only butt-hurt here seems to be your anger at people pointing out the obvious and saying "after the government took it over, it sucked".

      • by yoshi_mon (172895)

        The only butt-hurt here seems to be your anger at people pointing out the obvious and saying "after the government took it over, it sucked".

        The problem comes in when, and you have not said but you very likely are, people who hate the idea that the gov can do anything right would just gloss over when...

        X company is doing something for the gov and then loses the contract for lets say cost issues and it goes over to company Y. Company Y has some issues getting everything back to the level of functionality that was provided by a company that had been doing the job for a while. And for less money! But company Y eventually gets everything all set

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 21, 2011 @11:19PM (#37801496)

      I agree.
      I typically browse usajobs.gov and the site was terrible before. You couldn't press your back button, it would nag you to use IE6, the search sucked, selecting options was futile and the performance was terrible.

      The new site is ten times better. Anyone that thinks the old site was better is delusional or being paid by Monster.

    • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Saturday October 22, 2011 @12:03AM (#37801708)

      Sounds like Monster was butt-hurt when Uncle Sam ditched them, so they had a stooge write a sob story for Computer World.

      Yes indeed. And, the Monster site was a serious piece of shit itself.

      Here's the thing: Uncle Sam *just recently* took it back, we should EXPECT some bumps in the process. This is to be expected.

      Most people here, not being gov employees probably haven't experienced what USA Jobs replaced. Essentially, each arm of the government had their own site for job seekers.

      I can only tell you about about the Air Force site that Monster's USA Jobs replaced... The Air Force site was easy to navigate and easy to apply for jobs. Tracking your progress in the process was very straight forward.

      Before I accepted my current Air Force position, I applied for perhaps a dozen different jobs, was called back for telephone interviews on perhaps half, and was able to track my progress with all - such as the reason for being passed over (important information for a job seeker).

      The Monster experience was beyond convoluted to the point that I simply gave up trying to find and apply for jobs. Out of the 30 or 40 I applied for, I never got any call-backs, and it was impossible to track progress or determine reasons for for being passed over. It was just a huge waste of time.

      Seriously folks, we all KNOW how Monster works. This "story" is just sour grapes from Monster for losing a fucking GRAVY TRAIN of a contract.

      DISCLAIMER: I am a career Civil Servant with the Department of Defense.

      • it was impossible to track progress or determine reasons for for being passed over.

        Maybe that's on purpose. Some human resource departments have been burned by discrimination lawsuits in the past. So I guess some companies' legal counsel have advised HR to say nothing more detailed to candidates than "you were not qualified" or "you were qualified but we chose a different candidate".

        • That's not how civil service job hunting works. By various regulations based on law, you have exactly a right to know why they passed you over. Most of the process is automated right up to the point where the "hiring official" gets a list of candidates and decides how to proceed.

  • Incomplete Article (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 21, 2011 @10:15PM (#37801210)

    To be fair, USAJobs.gov's performance also sucked when monster ran it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 21, 2011 @10:39PM (#37801336)

    We're Doing Five Blades

  • USAJobs filter (Score:4, Interesting)

    by trout007 (975317) on Friday October 21, 2011 @11:01PM (#37801436)

    Their job filter sucks. I know someone that was a government contractor and the people he worked for wanted to hire him as a federal employee. So they set up a listing that was well defined to fit his skills. He submitted his application but couldn't make it through the filter so he couldn't be hired.

    I saw an opening for a job and I knew the people that put the request in. I just copied and pasted the entire job requirement and description under other information and I sailed past the filter. When I was interviewed they thought it was a computer errror that caused the ad to print at the end of my application. I told them the truth and they laughed and I got the job.

  • by backslashdot (95548) * on Friday October 21, 2011 @11:04PM (#37801450)

    The GOP's stated policy is that anyone working for the federal government is shit and deserves pay cuts.
    The GOP thinks that federal government employee salaries are not based on competitive pay. I mean, normally if a job pays a certain amount you will get applicants who would be willing to work for that pay .. and therefore you'd get competitive applicants who are worth that much. If I offered a job that pays 1 million, presumably I'd get applicants who are worth around that .. yes sure along with people worth $10K .. but the point is the fed gov salaries are advertised and people who are working in only slightly less paying jobs looking for an upgrade will switch to it .. meaning if they paid less .. they'll get less qualified/competent applicants.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 21, 2011 @11:22PM (#37801518)

      Conservatives run on a platform of government failure, then once elected, set about proving it to be true.

    • I don't think the GOP is really against government, they're just against functional government. If someone brought a bill to congress that proposed slashing all those pointless "Homeland Security" positions that were created post-9/11 the GOP would be quick to oppose (and unfortunately so would most Dems).

      Regarding the less pay part: there are perks that government employees get that can make it worth it. Vacation, pension, holidays, job security. Would you rather a high salary job with some tech startup th

    • by jfengel (409917)

      Everybody in DC does breathe a guilty sigh of relief when Republicans win. Not because they'll do a better job (from the point of view of the GS-10s, it's all kind of the same), but because the level of whiny wailing drops somewhat.

      The ringing in your ears usually begins to decrease by midterms, just in time for the GOVERNMENT BAD! screeching to start up again.

  • 'They are a personnel management agency, they are not a technology company, and this clearly demonstrates that they don't have the technology skills to be able to do this.' Pure FUD. If the problem was that all the toilets were always blocked up, you wouldn't accept an excuse that the company is clearly not a plumbing company, and doesn't have the skills to manage basic plumbing. That could be resolved with a simple phone call to folks that do actually have some experience with that field. Now, if you want
  • by gQuigs (913879) on Friday October 21, 2011 @11:33PM (#37801570) Homepage

    The old site was one of the worst job sites on the internet. I'm not sure if it's any better, but I don't think it could have gotten worse.

  • by RazorSharp (1418697) on Friday October 21, 2011 @11:42PM (#37801608)

    Aside from my bafflement that the government leased one of its domains out to monster.com, the thing that stuck me as most odd about this is that the government has a Facebook page. Why?

    It's getting to the point where abstaining from Facebook ostracizes one from society. It's like the internet's turning into AOL all over again, but worse.

    • by JBMcB (73720)

      Aside from my bafflement that the government leased one of its domains out to monster.com,

      Outsourcing a hiring website to the largest, most popular, most experienced job-finding website to run it? Yeah, I'm amazed the government would do something that smart. Usually, on a project like that, they spend millions on reinventing the wheel (poorly.)

  • The Department of Labor has turned this over to Facebook - http://www.myskillsmyfuture.org/ [myskillsmyfuture.org]
    See http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/10/facebook-labor-department-job-seekers.html [latimes.com] for the details.
    I think this site has no future.
  • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @04:01AM (#37802410)

    Figures. [netcraft.com]

  • Just about any end-user service currently under contract is likely to be pulled back to see if the agency can do it cheaper. So then you get management, unsure what hardware and personnel are required, but with a strong motivation to under budget.

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