hand pointing at jobs, skills, knowledge (Alexander Supertramp/Shutterstock.com)

OPM’s draft hiring changes expected Aug. 21

The Office of Personnel Management plans to issue draft changes to General Schedule qualification policies by Aug. 21, to eliminate "unnecessary obstacles" to federal employment by focusing on skill assessments over credentials like college degrees.

In a July 31 memo to agency heads, Michael Rigas, acting head of OPM, told agencies to name points of contact for discussion of the new policy and get ready to participate in "listening sessions" with human resources leaders inside and outside of government.

The memo follows a June 2020 executive order to reform the federal hiring process by expanding the use of competency-based assessments and lessening the importance of educational qualifications, with the exception of jobs requiring certain scientific, technical or professional knowledge.  Agencies must rewrite job descriptions to emphasize the specific skills and competencies required to perform the work of the position successfully. Education is an allowable substitution for experience, according to the EO, only when it “directly reflects the specific skills or competencies necessary to perform the job.”

Rather than relying solely on self-evaluations of qualifications when considering potential candidates for competitive service positions, agencies will be required to use validated assessment tools such as cognitive ability tests, work samples, situational judgment tests, job knowledge tests and structured interviews.

Final changes to the General Schedule qualification policy are scheduled for Oct. 26, and implementation of the new policy is slated for Dec. 24, 2020.

Reader comments

Wed, Aug 5, 2020 Tiffany

Many are able to gain experience by obtaining jobs because of WHO they know and not WHAT they know. My concern is focusing on skill assessments OVER credentials like college degrees. If you have a first generation US citizen or other person who doesn't have the pleasure of knowing someone and getting OTJ experience, they may only have their educational credentials to rely on. Let's not value one credential OVER the other but instead focus on the values they both bring! Inclusivity is the key.

Wed, Aug 5, 2020

It is about tim...now you have to convince the NSA and other IC agencies...

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