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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.

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