Federal Manager's Daily Report

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A bipartisan bill (HR-6967) newly offered in the House would expand and put into law several changes to hiring policy already underway downplaying the role of educational credentials in job qualifications and the role of self-evaluations in assessing candidates.

A 2020 executive order with those goals has proven to be one of the few Trump administration policies on federal employees that the Biden administration has not revoked or otherwise set aside. OPM last year told agencies to continue carrying out those directives and in January told them to be in full compliance by the end of this year.

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The new bill defines acceptable job assessments used in competitive-service hiring to include skills-based assessments; authorizes agencies to use subject-matter experts to administer skills-based assessments; allows agencies to share their applicant assessments; and directs agencies to have a group of staff who specialize in supporting the development of skills-based assessments, improving examinations, and otherwise carrying out the requirements
Sponsors said the changes would free agencies “to focus on candidates who actually can perform on the job”’ give “a greater voice to agency officials who can best distinguish practical performers from the field of candidates” and increase “the likelihood that, once a good candidate proves to one agency they can practically perform, they will indeed be hired by the federal government.’

Outside bodies such as the MSPB have questioned reliance on self-assessments as creating an incentive for candidates to over-rate themselves and have said that over-reliance on educational credentials can freeze out candidates who are otherwise well qualified, including in fields such as IT where candidates may have certifications rather than college degrees.

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2022 Federal Employees Handbook