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  • Step 1

APPLICATION REVIEW: A Personnel Staffing Specialist will review your package to make sure you have completed the application correctly by including all of the appropriate documentation requested (lots of people don't make it past this point). If the application is correct, they will review your resume to decide if you have the basic qualifications for the position.

  • Step 2

RESUME REVIEW: The staffing specialist will then review your application to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for the job. You can find this qualification information on every vacancy announcement. If you are qualified for the position, they will usually decide if you are QUALIFIED or HIGHLY- QUALIFIED. If you are either of these, then the KSAs are reviewed.

  • Step 3

KSA RATING AND RANKING: Each KSA will be reviewed by the Human Resources Staff and assigned a numerical score using a crediting plan or "scorecard". The scale is generally based on a point system. Ex: 5 points for barely successful, 15 points for successful and 20 points for highly successful. Each level has a description of benchmarks, which are examples of tasks a candidate would perform at that level. Agencies may emphasize the most important aspects of a job by assigning relative weights to each KSA. Others will designate particular KSAs as being Mandatory (M) or Desirable (D). Obviously the job applicant will want to focus the most effort on responding to the more heavily weighted KSAs or the mandatory ones, but it is important to remember that you need to address every one on the list. If a vacancy announcement makes no distinction among the position’s KSA, the applicant should assume that all KSAs are equally important. Factors affecting level of credit your KSA is given include: complexity of duties, circumstances, impact, variety, duration and people contacted. Panel members take into account experience, education, training and awards as they relate to the factors. Once the total score (responses to KSAs, performance appraisal and training) is determined, you will be ranked among other applicants. If your KSAs are scored in the range of the highest scores, you will have your name included on the Best Qualified List. This group of Best Qualified candidates will go forward to the Selecting Official or hiring manager for consideration, who ultimately makes the selection for the vacancy.

A key point to remember about all KSAs is that they must be job-related. An agency cannot ask for anything in a KSA that is not in the job’s position description.

Understanding the personnel review process and the importance of good KSAs is critical to your success in being hired by the Federal government.

Effective KSA Writing

Revised June 5, 2006

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