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Frequently Asked Questions Assessment Policy

I have access to only one or two people who can serve as Subject Matter Experts (SME) – is that acceptable?

It's not the ideal situation, but we do realize that is the reality at times (e.g., when a position is new and has therefore never been filled, or a job is being modified and only a few people are aware of the expected changes). 

While the number of SMEs needed to represent a job will depend on the nature of the work and characteristics of the workforce, it's always advisable to gather as many SMEs as possible.  Anyone (first-level supervisor, superior incumbents, former supervisors or incumbents with recent experience, etc.) with bona fide expert knowledge about a particular job can serve as an SME.  If – and when – possible, reach out to as many resources as you can to increase the number of SMEs.  A larger number of SMEs not only ensures you are capturing all of the key requirements of the job, but it also provides multiple points of view regarding the criticality of the tasks and competencies.

For more information regarding job analysis, please visit OPM’s Assessment and Selection website,, or contact us at

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