Last week in part 1, we discussed the importance of having an accurate position description and the need for it to describe the skills needed to be successful in the position. The next thing I do is work with the manager to ensure a plan is in place that differentiates among applicants and to gets the best applicants to the selecting official. Review at the merit promotion plan, crediting plan or whatever it is you use to outline the process and establish the guidelines for selection. It’s probably a combination of things. I can’t count how many times a manager has told me they want to select someone other than who was referred to them. The key to getting the right list of highly qualified applicants to the selecting official starts before the vacancy is announced. It includes a couple different tools that work in unison.
- Merit promotion plan. Although the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) requires every agency to have a merit promotion plan, the merit promotion plan is the plan for the entire organization and they can be somewhat generalized.
- A must consideration is any collective bargaining agreements (CBA) the agency may have with one or more unions. Obviously, anything you do cannot conflict with the CBA.
- The last tool is a crediting plan specific to the position you are announcing. This is the piece to the puzzle that helps select the right applicant. I’ve seen many different crediting plans, but the ones I like best are detailed and describe how the applicants will be evaluated. It should include a detailed description of the processes to reach the best-qualified (BQ) list and ultimate selection. It should also include any knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA), interview questions, work sample exercises or any other methodology that will be used during the process to differentiate among applicants. It should also show how each method is scored. The key to getting the best applicant to the selecting official is to make sure the KSA’s and interview questions are tailored to the position and address the skills and experience needed to be successful in the job being announced. Developing a detailed crediting plan requires a lot of front end work, but will ensure your getting the high level candidates for the position.
The time and effort put forth in hiring for a position deserves the attention needed to get the right applicant in the position. A poor selection can be costly to the organization both financially and from a workflow standpoint. I have found that to minimize the risk of a poor selection, the organization should have a structured hiring plan in place that uses a structured interview process such as performance based interview questions and a work sample exercise. These two items would be defined within your crediting plan and used together helps you make that bulletproof selection.
Next week we will talk go over part 3 of the series: Defending the Selection.