The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is extending the deadline for agencies to adopt skills-based hiring assessments, according to a memo from OPM Director Kiran Ahuja.

In the memo released on Dec. 29, 2021, Ahuja outlined the implementation of Executive Order (EO) 13932, Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates. The EO, originally issued in June 2020,  reminds “agencies of their legal obligation to use valid, competency-based assessments and directed them to scale back reliance upon educational qualifications as a substitute for competencies in the Federal hiring process.”

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In May 2021, OPM extended the deadline for agency compliance through the end of the year.  In OPM’s latest update on Dec. 29, Ahuja said that by May 30, 2022, agencies should comply with the EO requirements in at least 50 percent of the instances where they assess individuals for jobs. By Dec. 31, 2022, agencies should be at full compliance with the EO, OPM said.

Meanwhile, OPM said it is finalizing guidance for the EO, and plans to issue that guidance soon.

The EO requires the following:

  • Agencies are directed to refrain from relying solely on candidate self-assessments of their qualifications in assessing candidates. Applicants are to clear other assessment hurdles to be considered qualified in examinations and thus eligible for preference and referral; and
  • Agencies are directed to continually evaluate the effectiveness of different assessment strategies to ensure quality and integrity of their hiring process.

“In addition, earlier this year, as part of the OMB Passback, agencies shared their planned assessment strategies with OPM and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) outlining how they will work toward compliance with this EO,” wrote Ahuja. “OPM will work with your agency Assessment leads and hold quarterly meetings to check on your progress,” she added.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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