Fedblog FedblogFedblog
Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

KSA Quandaries


Our readers apparently have pretty different views of whether Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities statements are useful. KC says they can be faked:

C'ommon people! How could you know that the applicant even wrote the KSA? There's no guarantee. I was in a panel and read someone's writing scoring the max points. Was in the interview and let me tell ya: no way that woman talking wrote the KSAs I scored for that position. I didn't recommend this woman but a guy; my boss hired her. Six months later, my boss was able to "transfer" her out because she discovered she was not who she portrayed to be, and hired the guy I recommended originally. We found out later (with another writing piece) that her husband wrote things for her as she admitted. I said to my boss: "Told ya! I knew this woman didn't speak they way her KSAs were written..." I rest my case. I applaud that the stupid KSAs are finally gone; sometimes they asked the same thing using different words. Time-wasters! If management is interested in seeing someone's writing, they should ask the last 2-3 candidates interviewed to submit KSAs as a deciding factor. There, that's a simple solution.

But Fed HR Employee says it's unclear how resumes differentiate candidates enough to narrow down the pool to candidates who should be asked to write KSAs:

This is reactive medicine. Who is going to screen 1,000 or more applicants for a single position to determine who should fill out the KSA's??? AND BASED ON WHAT? How will managers be able to determine from a generic resume, who is best qualified to interview. I like the elimination of the rule of 3 (and I cannot think of a SINGLE hiring official that would support continuing the rule of 3 despite what the article says). I am VERY concerned that someone is out of touch with reality when I see that type of statement!!! You think "cronyism" was happening before? Now wait until you aren't even asked to submit a KSA in round 2. Based on what? No substantial documentation to support or defend anything.

I do wonder if having folks write KSAs later in the process might help prevent fraud, if only because then interviewers will have a better sense of a candidates' style.

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.