[IPAC-List] Job Qualifications

Mueller, Lorin LMueller at air.org
Wed May 12 15:58:37 EDT 2010

Some thoughts from 9 or so years of peering over the shoulders of federal hiring managers.

1) Even is KSA statements are more valid than résumé -based decisions, it doesn't matter much if they discourage applicants or if applicants select-out before decisions can be made. The most common complaints among my federal clients is that they get a certificate of eligibles, start calling to arrange interviews, and everyone withdraws because they have already found other jobs. And these are folks who filled out the application in the first place.

2) I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that KSA statements are more valid than point-based T&Es. I think the problem with point-based T&Es is that we don't have a way to score them that is consistent with reality. These things aren’t additive, they are configural. Early in the federal hiring process, we just want to know whether someone has the basic qualifications to perform the work successfully. That typically requires one of many combinations of education and experience that we believe confer KSAs. In our SIOP workshop, Steve Ferrara and I presented (in brief) a potential method for matrix-based resume scoring that I think is more reliable, valid, and legally defensible than other approaches. It still may not be the equal to the validity of KSA statements in a lab setting, but it lowers the time investment for highly qualified applicants. In short, I think there are valid ways to score résumés that are valid for making basic qualifications decisions, but it’s not exactly a sexy research area (just try to do a lit review on the topic).

3) All of the above presumes that KSA statements are completed by the applicant. A common complaint among hiring managers is that they get applicants who were obviously coached on what to write in their KSA statements. Not surprisingly, this is a common complaint among applicants as well - that KSA statements are coached or the questions are slanted to a particular candidate.

I am not saying this is what I would have done (agencies who have flirted with résumé based hiring have had their won problems), but it does address some common complaints regarding the federal hiring process. I see our role as I/O psychologists and HR professionals is to propose and promote best practices to maximize the reliability, validity, fairness, and legal defensibility of the new processes.

Lorin Mueller, PhD, SPHR
Principal Research Scientist
American Institutes for Research

From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org [ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org] On Behalf Of Bryan Baldwin [Bryan.Baldwin at doj.ca.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 9:31 AM
To: ipac-list at ipacweb.org; Mark.Hammer at psc-cfp.gc.ca
Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] Job Qualifications

Not to sound overly cynical, but why does it seem like when organizations use a valid selection method (e.g, behavioral consistency T&Es) but implement it poorly (e.g., using said instrument for thousands of applicants), the solution is to replace it with something much less valid (e.g., resumes/applications, point-based T&Es)? Or is this just one more example of the rush to make the selection process as fast as possible, regardless of the impact on utility (supported by their suggested, highly suspect, metric of time-to-fill)?

On a related point, how exactly do they intend to get managers and supervisors "more fully involved in the hiring process, including planning current and future workforce requirements, identifying the skills required for the job, and engaging actively in the recruitment and, when applicable, the interviewing process"? I mean more power to them, but I gotta think this is something many of have been struggling with for years.

Kudos for trying to modernize the federal hiring system, but I wonder if there is an appreciation for the enormity of what is being suggested and the resources it will require.

End rant.

Bryan Baldwin
Staff Services Manager II
California Department of Justice
Division of Administrative Support
Personnel Programs
(916) 322-5446

>>> Mark Hammer <Mark.Hammer at psc-cfp.gc.ca> 05/12/10 6:16 AM >>>


Here is the link to the White House memorandum - http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-memorandum-improving-federal-recruitment-and-hiring-process Makes for interesting reading.


IPAC-List at ipacweb.org

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This communication with its contents may contain confidential and/or legally privileged information. It is solely for the use of the intended recipient(s). Unauthorized interception, review, use or disclosure is prohibited and may violate applicable laws including the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender and destroy all copies of the communication.
IPAC-List at ipacweb.org

More information about the IPAC-List mailing list