Writing the RFP for San Francisco’s applicant tracking system


After a few months hiatus from public updates, we’re excited to be back and share some recent Hiring Modernization developments.

New team

HMP workspace

Under new executive leadership from Kate Howard, the Department of Human Resources has established a project team that will lead this initiative moving forward. Anne Marie Monroe and William Miles have been leading this project since the end of the Summer. They are both current City employees and have extensive government HR, project management and systems experience. Over the past months, they’ve done a tremendous job representing the project internally and balancing the vision of this project with the realities and nuances of government hiring rules. David and I have also re-joined the project, as external consultants, under a new contract that focuses less on discovery and more on technical expertise and implementation. The four of us have been working closely over the last few weeks.

What we’ve been up to

Since we’ve come together, we have been focusing on writing the RFP for an applicant tracking system. Due to procurement rules and constraints, we unfortunately cannot share much more about that process, but you’ll be hearing more very soon.


It has always been our goal throughout this project to be as transparent as possible, so we’ve included a rough timeline below. Please note that our RFP has to go through several rounds of approvals from several departments and thus this timeline could change, but we are aiming for:

  • Projected publish date: ~ February
  • Projected close date: ~ April
  • Project award date: ~ May

The next iteration of hiring modules

We learned a lot over the past year and have a next version of CCSF’s hiring modules which will be explained in detail in the RFP. For now, here is a visualization:

Updated hiring modules

One clear distinction we made was isolating the eligible list creation and certification processes. Creating an eligible list involves calculating exam scores and standardizing them using a series of statistical analyses based on the type of exam (e.g., pass point, standard deviation, etc). The certification process is ensuring the right subset of eligible candidates are made available to hiring managers for hire. This is contingent on several factors, but the top three include:

  1. Approved positions: data coming from the number of hires needed by role module
  2. Eligible candidates in rank order: data coming from the eligible list creation module
  3. Cert rules: a rule negotiated with unions that dictates how many candidates can be made visible to consider for hire based on how many approved positions there are

Further defining and isolating these pieces of the hiring process has reaffirmed our need to move in a more modular direction. While we recognize that applicant tracking systems offer some core functionality (and we need that), we cannot stress enough the need to work with a vendor (or vendors) that allow our system to be extensible. With this foundation in place, CCSF is excited to be able to continue modernizing HR practices (not just hiring) and continue building on its HR infrastructure.

What’s next

We will be pushing forward and doing our best to hit our targeted milestones, and we’ll be sure to include any major updates on this page. As many of you might know, the procurement process has a formal question and answer period during which we welcome any and all questions and we will be happy to address them at that time. It has been very exciting for us to see much of the Hiring Modernization discovery work become a reality through this procurement process and we are excited to continue seeing how it materializes! More to come!

- Monique



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