Federal Manager's Daily Report

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In its guidance on transitioning to a “skills-based” approach in federal hiring, OPM noted that the new qualification and assessment policies will not apply in all settings.

A question-and-answer document for example says there will be no change to non-competitive actions such as reassignments and transfers of current employees. In such actions, agencies must determine that selectees meet the education and/or experience requirements described in the qualification standard for the occupation at the grade level of the position being filled.


“Agencies have the option to verify, through use of a passing grade assessment, that an individual has the right KSAs [knowledge, skills, abilities]/competencies to be successful in the position. This additional assessment is optional,” it says.

Also, when using direct hire authority, agencies must only determine whether a candidate meets qualification standards and has “the level of proficiency needed to perform the work of the position being filled. This may be done through the use of a passing grade assessment. The provisions governing direct hire waive rating and ranking, so agencies should not be making a further assessment of an applicant’s relative ability to perform the duties of the position.”

When using special hiring authorities, agencies similarly must only determine whether a candidate meets qualification standards “and through use of a passing grade assessment that indicates an individual has the needed KSAs/competencies to be successful in the position, if used. Additional assessment for rating and ranking purposes would depend on the requirements of the appointing authority used.”

Pathways Program authorities for hiring interns and recent graduates and for filling Presidential Management Fellows positions are unchanged, it said.

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