Federal Manager's Daily Report

A test at two departments of having subject matter experts work with HR specialists in the hiring process has proven successful and “can be scaled across the government to help agencies get the talent needed to achieve their critical missions,” according to the latest quarterly update of the President’s Management Agenda.

That was one of the concepts stressed in a recent OPM memo to agencies telling them to assess their options for assessing candidates and to rely more on those that are the most successful for them. That memo in essence suggested that they downplay candidate self-assessments and bring in subject matter experts instead before sending candidates to hiring managers for consideration.

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The PMA update said that pilot projects at HHS and Interior used criteria worked out between the SMEs and HR to test the theory “that with SMEs completing these assessments before HR specialists considered an applicant qualified and eligible for veterans’ preference, hiring managers would receive higher quality certificates and make more selections.”

The pilots “achieved the promised results. Hiring managers agreed they received a list of applicants who can all do the job. At HHS, out of 165 applicants, 36 were qualified, including 4 veterans. At DOI, out of 224 applicants, 25 were qualified, including 5 veterans. In fact, a DOI selecting official said this process was the best way to find and hire a qualified veteran,” it said.

The pilot was featured in the quarterly update of two of the prongs of the PMA, improving customer service and creating a “workforce for the 21st Century” which has as a subgoal a “simple and strategic hiring process.”