On June 26, the President issued an Order to modernize and reform the hiring
process for federal work candidates.
In the introduction, President Trump wrote, “America’s private employers have
modernized their recruitment practices to better identify and secure talent through
skills- and competency-based hiring. As the modern workforce evolves, the Federal
Government requires a more efficient approach to hiring.
“Employers adopting skills- and competency-based hiring recognize that an overreliance on college degrees excludes capable candidates and undermines labor-market efficiencies. Degree-based hiring is especially likely to exclude qualified candidates for jobs related to emerging technologies and those with weak connections between educational attainment and the skills or competencies required to perform them.
“Moreover, unnecessary obstacles to opportunity disproportionately burden low-income Americans and decrease economic mobility.
“My Administration is committed to modernizing and reforming civil service hiring through improved identification of skills requirements and effective assessments of the skills job seekers possess. We encourage these same practices in the private sector. Modernizing our country’s processes for identifying and hiring talent will provide America a more inclusive and demand- driven labor force.
According to the President, this effort “…directs important, merit-based reforms that will replace degree-based hiring with skills- and competency-based hiring and will hold the civil service to a higher standard — ensuring that the individuals most capable of performing the roles and responsibilities required of a specific position are those hired for that position — that is more in line with the principles on which the merit system rests.
The President is directing the heads of the Office of Personnel Management and
Office of Management and Budget, the Assistant to the President for Domestic
Policy, and the heads of agencies, to review and revise all job classification and
qualification standards for positions within the competitive service, nd that changes
to job classification and qualification standards shall be made available to the
public within 120 days. Reforms include the following:
An agency may prescribe a minimum educational requirement for employment in the Federal competitive service only when a minimum educational qualification is legally required to perform the duties of the position in the State or locality where those
duties are to be performed.
Position descriptions and job postings published by agencies for positions within the competitive service should be based on the specific skills and competencies required to perform those jobs.
Section 3 of the Order addresses “Improving the Use of Assessments in the Federal Hiring Process.”
“(a) In addition to the other requirements of this order, the Director of OPM [Office
of Personnel Management] shall work with the heads of all agencies to ensure that, within 180 days of the date of this order, for positions within the competitive service, agencies assess candidates in a manner that does not rely solely on educational attainment to determine the extent to which candidates possess relevant knowledge, skills, competencies, and abilities. The heads of all agencies shall develop or identify
such assessment practices. (b) In assessing candidates, agencies shall not rely solely on candidates’ self-evaluations of their stated abilities. Applicants must clear other assessment hurdles in order to be certified for consideration. (c) Agencies shall continually evaluate the effectiveness of different assessment strategies to promote and protect the quality and integrity of their hiring processes.
“For purposes of this order: (a) the term “assessment” refers to any valid and reliable method of collecting information on an individual for the purposes of making a decision about qualification, hiring, placement, promotion, referral, or entry into programs leading to advancement;…”
The Order is available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidentialactions/executive-order-modernizingreforming-assessment-hiring-federal-jobcandidates/