[IPAC-List] veterans' preference

Wilkening, Kurt WilkeningK at HillsboroughCounty.ORG
Thu May 5 14:14:49 EDT 2011

Florida Vet Pref law states that preference or consideration should be given to eligible Veterans at each stage of the hiring process. From our local Civil Service perspective, we screen all candidates the same and build out eligibility lists with qualified veterans highlighted on the list. It's up to the individual hiring authorities from that point forward to comply with the FL state law, to include keeping all documentation describing the preferences given and justifications for their hiring decision.

>From a personal perspective, in past recruitments I've given preference to qualified veterans by inviting them to interview for vacant positions within my own department, even though other candidates looked better on paper. While hope springs eternal, it's been my experience that the candidates who looked better on paper also interviewed/scored better as well. I at least felt good about the preference I gave to eligible veterans that I would not have given to other less qualified non-vets. Having said that, it's also been my gut feeling that many of our hiring authorities don't provide a preference to eligible veterans, and/or don't even know what a preference is. At least the OR legislation will make it clear what the preference will be.


Kurt Wilkening, Division Chief
Recruiting, Testing, and Certification
Hillsborough County Civil Service Board
601 E. Kennedy Blvd., 17th Floor
Tampa, Florida 33602
(813) 274-6764 (Direct)

-----Original Message-----
From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org [mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org] On Behalf Of Partain, Steven C.
Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2011 10:57 AM
To: 'ipac-list at ipacweb.org'
Subject: [IPAC-List] veterans' preference

The Oregon legislature is considering a bill to obligate public employers to interview all veterans who qualify for preference under state law. The rationale behind the effort apparently is to get veterans past initial screening and give them a chance to articulate how they might have transferable skills that are worthy of consideration. As much as we and other public agencies support veteran reintegration and the challenges of mapping military experience to the civilian world, we have a number of concerns about the notion of forcing interviews. Our biggest concern is that we have increasingly opted against using oral interviews as a selection tool, choosing instead other selection tools such as situational judgment tests, simulations, etc. We typically do conduct an interview, but that's usually at the very end of the series of selection steps. And for civil service positions, that interview phase isn't even part of the process to establish the eligible list (for exampl
e, entry-level firefighter). Being obligated to advance all veterans to that step would likely force us to rethink our process. We're working with the sponsors of the bill to clarify that only veterans who meet the minimum qualifications would advance to interviews, which will help some, but not entirely.

I'm wondering if folks on this list have any helpful comments from the perspective of selection theory and best practices that relate. The main proponents of the bill have the perspective that the interview is the lynchpin of the standard selection process, that it occurs as initial step just after applications are screened, and our agency is an outlier in putting it so late in the process.

Is anyone else facing similar efforts in other states?


Steven Partain
HR Manager
Human Resources
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue
11945 SW 70th Avenue, Tigard, Oregon 97223
Ph. 503-259-1292
Fax. 503-974-2235

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