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Finding a state government job is getting a little easier with a new job application website, state officials said.

Missouri government is promising a much more user-friendly job application system that spans its 16 executive departments — and the results are already available for applicants to use for themselves.

MoCareers, Missouri's new state government job application website, was launched Jan. 6, and the first hires have already been made.

Out of the 16 new hires for the state through the new platform since Jan. 6, the first person hired using the new website is a part-time tax assistant with the Department of Revenue, and the first-hired full-time employee works for the Department of Mental Health, said Casey Osterkamp, the Office of Administration's director of personnel.

There are numerous ways the new website is noteworthy and superior to previous application systems, state officials said Tuesday as they announced the launch of MoCareers.

The new website is mobile-friendly, and applicants can direct one uploaded resume or other document to more than one job posting, no matter whether one job is in a different state department than another.

"The cool thing for the job seeker is once they fill out that online profile, it's done. So they can come back in two weeks, and they can apply for another job with the click of a button," said Dawn Sweazea, OA's director of talent acquisition.

Applicants can also self-schedule job interviews and be contacted directly from the web platform.

Those are all front-end benefits for job applicants, but the new system offers many new capabilities behind the scenes that the state is hoping to use to better recruit and retain employees going forward.

"One of the things that this technology's allowing us to do is to take a visual snapshot of where we are. For example, one of the expectations that I've talked to recruiters (about) already is we should be reviewing applications within 24 hours. Within 24 hours of someone applying, we should be making some initial determinations on how we're going to move that person through," Sweazea said.

She said most state departments have not tracked how long it takes to fill a job opening, "and if they were tracking it, everybody was using a different definition." She added she's set a goal of 45 days.

Osterkamp said the state is used to the procedure of not looking at applicants until a job opening closes. However, if that position's open for a month, "you've just lost a month of opportunity," people who've already moved on to other job opportunities in a tight market.

"That's a big change for folks," Sweazea said of the new expectation of expediency.

Even until recently, "most departments actually did not have a single full-time recruiter," said Drew Erdmann, the state's chief operating officer.

It's also a major change that state departments will be able to see an applicant who may have only applied for a different department's opening, but may be better-suited for their needs.

"The idea that you applied in one department and someone in another department has visibility into that, and it might be a better fit, that's good from an enterprise perspective," Erdmann said.

Sweazea said that could introduce some amount of competition between departments to hire high-quality applicants — "and I think that's a good thing, too. The early bird gets the worm."

As more data is entered into the system, she said, they'll learn more about how candidates hear about job openings, what jobs tend to attract what kind of applicants, and what individual applicants' histories are.

"I can 'star' candidates, I can 'heart' them if I want to create a watch list. To your point, maybe there are candidates that aren't going to make it for this job fill, but I know if I have this job open again, I want to come back to some of these people, so I can create my own watch list," Sweazea said.

"We also have the ability to add in comments, so that I could say 'I interviewed this person. They were actually my second choice, would totally recommend them to be considered again,' and then if someone else posts a job, they can then see that I would recommend that individual, or maybe the reverse is true. Maybe there was something in our assessment of that candidate that we would not want to forward them on," she added.

"And the push-back we received around sharing this information across departments, the reality is applicants think we're already doing that," Osterkamp said.

"We have said that more information is better, so we're going to be more collaborative," Sweazea said.

There was an initial cost of approximately $55,000 to launch the new site, and there will be an annual cost of $360,000, Osterkamp said.

The site is hosted by a Missouri-based vendor.

Sweazea said the goal in this first year is to drive people to the platform. "Let folks know that there's a different application experience for them," she said. "Perhaps if they had tried before, try again, because it's going to be a completely different system now."

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