Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Federal Hiring Process: Best Qualified or Selected Hiring

With the return of our military members from overseas duty, or military members retiring, or leaving the ranks.  Many will be applying for federal positions and submitting their qualifications for positions that their qualifications surely will get them that interview.  The position was almost designed with you in mind.

How many times have you, or someone you know applied for a federal job, obtained a rating for the next step, to have their package submitted to the hiring group or individual, and never receive any further notice. 

Disappointing?

Then how disappointing is it that you've used your 5 or 10 point military service as a plus in our application, then to find out after being qualified that the position has been reposted under another job number, with a slight change in the qualifications, or completely removed from the OPM or agency system after you've applied the second time and been rated with no notification or any further written or verbal contact on your application in the hiring process. 

Then to make it even worse you find out that it was reposted again and someone else hired.

Are the best and brightest being selected for these positions?

As I review, and join many federal agency blog, facebook, other community of practice groups I find that these same agencies or departments are seeking 'new ideas' from the community, when those members from the community are the ones that were not hired.

Listed below is the OPM hiring process in a nutshell.  Each agency may have a seperate hiring process, and procedures in place to hire the best of the best.

OPM Hiring Process Model

This timeline tool presents the recommended number of days for each step in the hiring process.  Then it prompts you to insert the number of days your department and agency takes to complete each of those steps.  At the end, you’re asked to compare the length of your process with the recommended length, and identify the three steps that deviate the most from the ideal.

Step 1: Request Approval to Fill Vacancy

Maximum number of days: 2
The process begins when a vacancy is identified. This vacancy can be the result of:
  • Incumbent changing to a new job
  • Retirement
  • Workforce analysis that identifies the need for a new position
The selecting official then requests approval to fill the vacancy. This step should take no more than 1 day.  Approval of the request should take no more than 1 day.  The total is 2 days.  If the request is denied, the process ends.
Helpful Hints for improved timeliness:
Eliminate this step by having an annual Staffing Plan as part of the Human Capital Plan.  Agency Heads/Element Heads/Department Heads determine both composition and size of the workforce according to annual budget.  Position fill requests in accordance with an approved HC plan do not need additional approval.  Operational HR offices are fully familiar with the Workforce Plan and are prepared to act upon notification of the vacancy.

Step 2: Review Workforce Analysis and Understand Skill Gaps

Maximum number of days: 1
The selecting official and HR practitioner review the workforce analysis and identify any skill gaps for the position.  As part of this step, the position should be classified and method of recruitment identified.  The selecting official and HR practitioner determine the process to use for recruitment - merit promotion and/or competitive examining.  This step should take no more than 1 day.
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
Use preclassified position descriptions for mission-critical occupations or frequently filled infrastructure or administrative jobs.  Such as budget, HR, contracting or program support.  Career Pattern discussion is appropriate at this time.  This step should not take more than 1 day.

Step 3: Review Position Description for Alignment with Organizational Mission and Job Requirements

Maximum number of days:  1
The selecting official and HR practitioner review the position description for alignment with the organization’s mission and job requirements. This step should take no more than 1 day.
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
Update Workforce Plan and Organizational Staffing Plan annually.  Operational HR practitioners are consulted and briefed on the objectives of the organizations they service.  Standard and preclassified position descriptions validated during updates to ensure accuracy and alignment.

Step 4: Conduct Job Analysis

Maximum number of days: 3
The selecting official and HR practitioner conduct a job analysis to identify the knowledge/skills/abilities (KSAs) and competencies associated with the vacancy. This step should take no more than 3 days.
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
Develop job analysis library covering all mission-critical occupations, frequently filled positions, such as standard administrative and infrastructure support positions.  Validate job analysis annually during review of Staffing Plan.

Step 5: Create Candidate Assessment Tool

Maximum number of days: 2
The selecting official and HR practitioner select an assessment tool for screening candidates. The assessment tool may include:
  • Crediting plan
  • Structured interview
  • Written test
  • Panel
  • Subject Matter Experts
This step should take no more than 2 days. 
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
Crediting plans and interview questions are developed as part of the job analysis library for mission-critical occupations, frequently filled jobs, administrative, and infrastructure positions.  The HR Practitioner should be proactively engaged with selecting official during the period before the announcement is posted and be involved in the development of the annual Staffing Plan. 
Note:  Steps 1-5 can all be done on the same day if all the preliminary work is done.  Read all comments at each step.

Step 6: Choose Ranking Method

Maximum number of days: 1
The selecting official and HR practitioner determine the process to use for recruitment - merit promotion and/or competitive examining.  If public notice, decide whether to use category ranking or rule of three.  Career Pattern discussion is appropriate at this time. 
This step should take no more than 1 day.

Step 7: Draft and Approve Vacancy Announcement

Maximum number of days: 2
The selecting official and HR practitioner draft and obtain approval for the vacancy announcement.  This step should take no more than 2 days.
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
Use job announcement templates and standard language for frequently filled positions or mission-critical occupations.  Use job analysis and crediting plan criteria to populate announcement template.  Avoid lengthy lists of assessment questions.  Use 4 or 5 relevant questions that correspond to crediting plan.  Narrative responses provide information most easily validated for qualifications.

Step 8: Post Vacancy Announcement

Maximum number of days: 1
The vacancy announcement is posted. This step should take no more than 1 day.
OPTIMAL TIME FRAMES - Helpful Hint for improved timeliness on steps 1-7:
The processes described above can be completed in 12 business days.  As HR offices become more strategic and participate in developing the Workforce Plans and the annual Staffing Plans, they can shorten the time between vacancy request and announcement to 3 – 5 days.

Step 9: Perform Applicant Intake

No specific number of days recommended
Consistent with legal requirements, the nature of the position and the competency need determine the period of time a vacancy remains open. Agencies engage in outreach and other targeted recruitment during this period and should consider advertising deadlines, travel time, and staff resources needed to promote the job to suitable audiences.

Step 10: Close Vacancy Announcement

Maximum number of days: 1
The closing date for a vacancy announcement is the cut-off point for applications. In some cases, veterans may apply after the closing date (see the OPM Delegated Examining Operations Handbook for more details). Agencies notify applicants to acknowledge receipt of their applications. This step should take no more than 1 day.

Step 11: Screen Applicants for Minimum Qualifications/Selective Factors

Maximum number of days: 5 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
This is the first of an 8-step priority period that includes OPM's 45-day model for filling a position. During this step, HR professionals screen applicants for minimum qualifications and other selection factors. This step should take no more than 5 days.
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
The HR Practitioner can cut days off this process by screening applications prior to announcement closing so that the panel can be held within a day or two of closing.

Step 12: Rate Qualified Applicants

Maximum number of days: 5 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
HR professionals or a panel of subject matter experts evaluate qualified applicants in accordance with the assessment method(s) selected in Step 5. This step should take no more than 5 days.
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
If a panel is used, schedule the panel before the vacancy posts and obtain commitment from all members to hold the panel within 2 days of closing.

Step 13: Apply Veterans’ Preference, Rank Qualified Candidates, and Deliver Certificate(s)

Maximum number of days: 5 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
The HR professional applies veterans’ preference, ranks the qualified candidates, and delivers certificates. Applicants are then notified of their status.  This step can be done in 3 days, but should not take more than 5 days.

Step 14: Review Applications

Maximum number of days: 5 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
The selecting official reviews the applications and selects the candidate(s) to interview. This step should take 5 days.

Step 15: Schedule and Conduct Interviews

Maximum number of days: 15 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
The selecting official schedules and conducts interviews with the identified candidates. This step should take no more than 15 days.

Step 16: Check References

Maximum number of days: 5 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
An HR practitioner or designee confirms the interviewed candidates’ references. This step should take no more than 5 days. Applicants are then notified of their status.
Helpful Hint for improved timeliness:
References can and should be checked by the selecting officials during the interview process.

Step 17: Make Selection(s) and Return Certificate(s)

Maximum number of days: 2 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
The selecting official makes selections and returns certificates. This step can be done in 1 day, but should not take more than 2 days.

Step 18: Extend Job Offer(s)

Maximum number of days: 3 (Based on OPM’s 45-day model)
An HR practitioner extends a job offer to the selected candidate. If the candidate accepts, all other candidates are notified.  This step can be done in 2 days, but should not take more than 3 days.

Step 19: Conduct Background Check

No specific number of days recommended.
An HR Practioner or designee conducts a background check on the candidate who accepts a job offer. Depending on the job, this step requires a variable amount of time. After this step is completed, a firm job offer can be made and a start date arranged.

..Haiti. We will not forget.

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