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Frequently Asked Questions Assessment Policy

Is there guidance available regarding using recency of experience as part of specialized experience?

Recency is typically defined by the number of years that have elapsed since the job-relevant training or experience was acquired.  The implication is that those lacking "recent" experience (however that term is defined by the employer) may be  given less credit in the assessment process. 

However an employer, or agency, decides to use recency, under the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (http://uniformguidelines.com/), it is imperative a selection procedure's method of application or use must be justified.*  It is conceivable that recency may be a job-related factor for occupational areas subject to rapid change (e.g., medicine, information technology, and engineering) or for skills or knowledge that decay from lack of use.

A recency requirement is no different from any other selection procedure used as a basis for disqualification.  In each case, the employer or agency must provide evidence of a demonstrable relationship between the employee selection procedure and job performance.  In terms of a recency factor, justification may involve providing evidence of major changes in the nature of the work (e.g., in terms of basic theory, practice, or subject matter) or degradation in critical job competencies over time. 

*See Uniform Guidelines at 15c(7), http://uniformguidelines.com/:  

"(7) Uses and applications. The methods considered for use of the selection procedure (e.g., as a screening device with a cutoff score, for grouping or ranking, or combined with other procedures in a battery) and available evidence of their impact should be described (essential). This description should include the rationale for choosing the method for operational use, and the evidence of the validity and utility of the procedure as it is to be used (essential)."

For additional information regarding the use of recency in assessments, please contact Assessment_Information@opm.gov.

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