HRDG 4030 - Category Rating - Section B

HRDG 4030 - Category Rating - Section B

Subchapter 4030
Category Rating
Section B - Category Rating Methods/Options

 

 
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What Category Rating Methods are Available for Use?

The following category methods are authorized for use within MRP:

  • Score-Based Method
  • Manual Method


These methods are described below. Either of these methods may be used to evaluate candidates under the MRP category rating procedures.

Score-Based Method 

Under this method, the hiring manager and/or Subject Matter Expert (SME) identify applicant assessment questions that are directly related to the competencies/KSAs. Applicants are placed into quality categories based on their scores obtained through the automated applicant assessment system
(e.g., Hiring Management). Quality categories are defined by the following score ranges:

  • Best Qualified* - Applicants who have a score between 95 and 100.
  • Well Qualified** - Applicants who have a score between 85 and 94.99.
  • Qualified - Applicants who have a score between 70 and 84.99.

* The cut-off score for the Best Qualified category may be raised or lowered, as appropriate. The decision to raise or lower this cut-off score must be based on the considerations outlined under Section A of this Subchapter. All cut-off scores must be identified prior to issuing the job announcement.

** The cut-off score for the Well Qualified category (85 points) is consistent with MRP's Well Qualified cut-off score under the Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) . 

When defining quality categories using numerical scores you must:

  • Ensure that the applicant assessment procedures are consistent with the technical standards in the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (see 29 CFR part 1607, Section 14, http://www.uniformguidelines.com/), and
  • Comply with the laws, regulations, and policies of merit selection (see 5 U.S.C. 2301 and 5 U.S.C. 2302).
Manual Method 

Under this method, the HR practitioner will work with the Hiring Manager and/or SME to:

  • Create and distinguish three quality categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified, and
  • Define each quality category, prior to the job being advertised, through a job analysis that uses level of job competencies/KSAs required for the job as a basis for each definition.


Quality category definitions should be written to:

  • Reflect requirements to perform the job successfully, and
  • Distinguish differences in the quality of candidates' job-related competencies/KSAs.


Each quality category will have eligible candidates who have demonstrated similar levels of proficiency on the critical job-related competencies/KSAs.

Some factors to consider when developing quality categories may include:

  • Breadth and scope of competencies/KSAs,
  • Increased levels of difficulty or complexity of competencies/KSAs,
  • Successful performance on the job, and/or
  • Level of the job.


The knowledge, skills, and abilities described in the official position description will provide the primary basis for candidate evaluation. Chapter 5 of OPM's Delegated Examining Operations Handbook provides additional information on the evaluation criteria, the basic principles of the examining process, the methods and techniques used for rating and ranking applicants, and the documentation required: http://www.opm.gov/deu/Handbook_2007/DEO_Handbook.pdf (PDF).
 

What are the steps for developing the evaluation criteria?

 

Evaluation Criteria Development Process

Step Action
1 Use the job analysis process to identify competencies/KSAs
2 Identify the indicators of proficiency for each of the competencies/KSAs identified in Step 1
3

Identify the level of proficiency required by the level of the position

OPM provides two methods for identifying required level(s) of
proficiency:

  1. Based on demonstrating possession only of the competencies/KSAs (applicant's specific level of proficiency does not matter; the applicant either possesses the competency/KSA or he/she doesn't), or
  2. Based on specific level of proficiency for each competency/KSA (applicant's specific level of proficiency in each competency/KSA does matter).

4

Define the overall categories (Note: this step only applies to the level of specific level of proficiency method) 

 

Following are examples of the two methods described in Step 3 of the evaluation criteria development process:
 

Example of Possession Only Method

Accountant, GS-0510-12


Step 1: Use the job analysis process to identify competencies/KSAs

  • Oral Communication
  • Technical Knowledge
  • Project Management
  • Interpersonal Skills

 

Step 2: Identify the indicators of proficiency for each of the competencies/KSAs identified in Step 1

  • Oral Communication
    • Makes presentations
    • Influences others
    • Answers technical questions
  • Technical Knowledge
    • Financial analysis
    • Accounting
  • Project Management
    • Manages multiple tasks simultaneously
    • Reviews budget cycles
    • Uses project management software
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Develops and maintains relationships
  • Shows understanding of others

 

Step 3: Identify the level of proficiency required
 

Category Competencies/KSAs
Best Qualified Qualified candidates who demonstrate possession of the following: 1, 2, 3, 4
Well Qualified Eligible candidates who demonstrate possession of the following: 1, 2, 3
Qualified Eligible candidates who demonstrate possession of the following: 2, 3

Example of Specific Level of Proficiency

Accountant, GS-0510-12


Step 1: Use the job analysis process to identify competencies/KSAs

  • Oral Communication,
  • Technical Knowledge,
  • Project Management, and
  • Interpersonal Skills.


Step 2: Identify the indicators of proficiency for each of the competencies/KSAs identified in Step 1

  • Oral Communication
    • Makes presentations
    • Influences others
    • Answers technical questions

Technical Knowledge

    • Financial analysis
    • Accounting
  • Project Management
    • Manages multiple tasks simultaneously
    • Reviews budget cycles
    • Uses project management software
  • Interpersonal Skills
    • Develops and maintains relationships
    • Shows understanding of others


Step 3: Identify the required level(s) of proficiency

Competency/KSA #1: Oral Communication

 

Category Benchmark Benchmark Definition
Best
Qualified
5 Communicates or explains complex ideas or information clearly (e.g., interprets new regulations; presents technical information at professional conferences)
Well Qualified 3 Communicates or explains moderately complex ideas or information clearly (e.g., explains changes in regulations; describes available services to clients)
Qualified 1 Communicates or explains basic ideas or information clearly (e.g., explains non-technical procedures or routine information)

 

Use this format to define and develop levels for remaining competencies/ KSAs.

Step 4: Define the overall categories

Once all the levels of proficiency have been defined and developed, you must define the overall categories. For example:

 

Category Definition
Best Qualified Candidates who received a score of “5” in all four competencies/KSAs
Well Qualified Candidates who received at least a score of “5” on competency /KSA 2, and at least three scores of “3” or higher on the remaining competencies/KSAs
Qualified Candidates who receive any other combination of ratings

 

Note: The table above just represents one of several possible options for defining the overall categories. Here's another example:

 

Category Definition
Best Qualified Candidates who received a score of “5” on competencies/KSAs 2 and 3, and at least a “3” on the other competencies
Well Qualified Candidates who received at least a score of “5” on competency /KSA 2, and at least two scores of “3” on the remaining competencies/KSAs
Qualified Any candidate who did not receive a score of “5” on competency/KSA 2

 

What is an example of an inappropriate quality category?

  • The following is an example of an inappropriate quality category:


A manager is seeking to fill a job that requires an employee to lift 40 pounds. Candidate A can lift 70 pounds and Candidate B can lift 45 pounds. Because both candidates have the necessary strength to meet the lifting requirements of the job, they are indistinguishable with respect to this factor.

You should not put Candidate A into a higher quality category than Candidate B because Candidate A can lift more weight.



 
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