Federal agencies will now have until the end of 2022 to fully comply with requirements that their hiring processes include more than self-assessments when determining candidate qualifications, under a memo issued by Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja Dec. 29.

On June 26, 2020, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order calling on agencies to stop using educational qualifications as a means of determining a job applicant’s viability for an open position and instead transition to broader assessment capabilities.

The order required agencies to have job applicants pass other assessment hurdles besides the simple self-assessment and to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of their assessment strategies. Agencies were required to make new job listings available within 180 days of that order.

OPM initially extended the EO implementation until Dec. 31, 2021, and this new extension provides agencies with an additional year to reach full compliance.

“By May 30, 2022, agencies need to comply with these requirements in at least 50% of the instances in which they assess individuals for jobs,” Ahuja wrote. “By December 31, 2022, they should be at full compliance. OPM will work with your agency assessment leads and hold quarterly meetings to check on your progress.”

According to the federal hiring assessment dashboard, 97% of competitive, open-to-the-public job announcements relied exclusively on a self-assessment to determine whether an applicant was eligible for the position. Of those listings, 53% resulted in a hiring manager moving forward to make a selection.

Using both a self assessment and an off-the-shelf competency assessment fared slightly better, with a 57% selection rate.

The most successful method, and also the most drastically under-used at just 12 job listings, was the use of subject matter experts to review assessments, interviews and resumes, which resulted in a 100% selection rate.

OPM currently uses additional assessments the most, with 54% of its job postings including more than just a self assessment. But some of the largest agencies, like the Department of Defense, use additional assessments for just 1% of their job listings.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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