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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 19, 2022
Contact: Office of Communications
Tel: 202-594-6827

OPM Releases Skills-Based Hiring Guidance

Guidance encourages federal agencies to value applicants based on what they can do—regardless of where they learned it

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released guidance regarding the implementation of EO 13932; Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates. 

OPM’s guidance represents a major step towards the federal government’s adoption of skills-based hiring practices and is an important innovation in federal hiring, which has historically relied on education and candidate self-assessments as a proxy for a candidate’s ability to perform in a job. This new approach helps hiring managers recognize and value skills regardless of where they were acquired, whether in a formal degree program, on the job, or on one’s own. 

“Given today’s booming labor market, the federal government must position itself to compete with other sectors for top talent,” said Kiran Ahuja, Director of OPM. “By focusing on what an applicant can do—and not where they learned to do it—skills-based hiring will expand talent pools by making it easier for applicants without a bachelor’s degree to demonstrate their skills and will help remove barriers to employment for historically under-represented groups. By drawing from the diversity of this country, agencies can be better equipped to tackle the challenges before us.” 

Skills based assessments will also support agencies as they prepare for the future of work.  As technology changes the economy and the way government services are delivered, the skills necessary for success in any job are changing rapidly. Skills based assessments can inform agency upskilling, hiring, and onboarding approaches to position the government for long term success.  

“The Department of the Interior strives to be a leader in skills-based hiring across fields as diverse as our missions, including by attracting scientists, park rangers and land managers, engineers and law enforcement officers. In particular, this new guidance will help steer our efforts as we increase capacity to deliver on the promise of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau said. “As part of this all-of-government approach, the Interior Department will continue to lead on skills-based hiring and ensure efficiency and equity as we attract the best talent.” 

“We are excited to see a move toward competency and skills-based hiring across government, a critical best practice for ensuring that teams are appropriately equipped to accomplish the important work at hand,” said Mina Hsiang, Administrator of the U.S. Digital Service. “At U.S Digital Service, we have from the beginning used the skill-based hiring approach to identify and hire talent, as it has become the standard approach in the technology sector, based on its ability to hire skilled professionals no matter their formal background. This hiring practice will also expand the government’s reach with diverse and historically unrepresented candidates, as well as increasing the number of individuals with the right skills and experience to do the important work. U.S. Digital Service has a diverse and inclusive staff due to the intentional use of skills-based hiring, with the necessary high levels of skill to execute the important work at hand, and our work product showcases it.” 

“All NASA jobs require a unique set of technical and non-technical competencies for success, regardless of grade or duties,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. “Using competency-based talent assessments allows NASA to more easily identify a select pool of highly qualified applicants who are likely to perform well and make significant contributions to our mission, from interns to astronauts.” 

“I am proud to support the expansion of skills-based hiring in the federal government,” said Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary John Tien. “DHS is successfully utilizing a multi-hurdle assessment process to evaluate candidates for IT positions. Modernizing and reforming the assessment and hiring of employees for federal jobs will allow agencies to better identify and secure top talent, while expanding applicant pools to draw from a diverse set of backgrounds and perspectives.” 

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OPM leads and serves the federal government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit OPM.gov or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.


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