Federal Manager's Daily Report

Newly posted statistics highlight several problems with competitive service hiring processes that agencies can learn from to improve their hiring outcomes, the Partnership for Public Service has said in a blog posting.

It points out that a new dashboard, for example, shows that in more than nine-tenths of competitive, open to the public job announcements in 2020, agencies relied only on candidate self-assessments to determine their eligibility. Job offers were extended to just 53 percent, though, below the rates when self-assessments were used in conjunction with the USA Hire tool available from OPM or when subject matter experts assessed candidates.


“Why are these hiring assessments so ineffective? One reason is that candidates tend to either overrate or underrate their own skills when filling out self-assessment questionnaires,” it says.

“Additionally, HR specialists who review federal resumes—which can be up to 20 pages long—are typically not technical experts in the applicant’s field. Applicants who can figure out the best answer and how to create a federal style resume tend to do the best in the process over those who are really qualified,” it says.

The posting meanwhile noted that “some of the most frequently announced jobs left vacant were quite critical. For example, agencies posted more than 8,800 announcements for nurses in 2020 and only 59% of these announcements led to a job offer.”

It said that “instead of posting 60 announcements in a year for an IT specialist with no selections, it’s better to do one high-quality hiring action with higher quality assessment hurdles” such as involvement of subject matter experts.

It also encouraged agencies to use their authority to share competitive certificates with each other, so that when more highly qualified candidates are identified than are needed by the posting agency, those candidates may be more readily hired by other agencies with the same need.

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