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Use strong assessments to identify candidates who are genuinely qualified for positions with the competencies and skills that agencies need.

The partnership among human resources, hiring managers, and subject matter experts is essential. The group should collaborate to identify and validate critical duties and competencies and determine best assessment methods. Effective applicant assessments are critical to identifying genuinely qualified candidates (not candidates who merely meet minimum qualifications) who are capable of effectively performing the duties of the position. This means including a mechanism for establishing and determining who meets a passing grade. Using the appropriate assessment will reduce the degree of error in making hiring decisions. Well-developed assessment tools allow agencies to specifically target and reliably identify candidates who possess the competencies and skills they seek.

Things to Consider

An assessment strategy will help HR professionals tailor the assessment to the specific hiring situation by identifying what to assess (e.g., tasks, competencies):

  • describe the hiring situation (e.g., budget, time frame, volume of applicants);
  • determine how to assess (e.g., which competencies to include and which assessment tool to use); and
  • determine the assessment process (e.g., passing grade plus relative scoring options or order of administered assessments)

Plays for Assessments

  • Leverage governmentwide competency data (Multipurpose Occupational Systems Analysis Inventory — Close-Ended (MOSAIC) Competencies)
  • Expand the use of better assessment options to improve the quality of hires.
  • Use the resources provided in the Assessment and Selection section of to improve the assessment of technical skills.
  • Target key job series or competency areas driven by agency mission for the development of assessments.
  • Leverage assessment experts to develop professional assessments.
  • Reduce reliance on self-rated questionnaires solely and promote the use of a variety of assessments and/or multiple hurdles, which may include:
  • Review assessment criteria for barriers to federal employment for underserved communities.
  • Provide selection panels and hiring officials training on how to conduct inclusive interviews that limit bias.

OPM’s Roadmap to Improving the Use of Assessments in Federal Hiring Processes

Create a Climate of Change

  • Encourage and promote the use of assessments
  • Raise awareness of the full range of hiring authorities and assessment options
  • Supporting Activities and Resources:
    • OPM Memo 9/13/2019, Improving Federal Hiring through the Use of Effective Assessment Strategies to Advance Mission Outcomes
    • EO 13932, Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates
    • OPM Memo 7/31/2020, Implementation of E.O. 13932; Determining Qualifications and the Use of Assessment Tools When Filling Positions
    • OPM Memo 5/7/2021, Interim Guidance - E.O. 13932; Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates
    • OPM HRS Assessment Viewcast
    • Agency Engagement

Engage and Enable

Implement and Sustain

  • Review and analyze the use of educational initiatives, assessment tools, and policy guidance to increase quality hires governmentwide
  • Provide evidence-based data to support the use of assessment policy, practices, and tools for flexible staffing options
  • Supporting Activities and Resources:
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