Getting Started

After deciding to use the SME-QA process to find qualified applicants, plan your hiring action.

  • HR Specialist
  • Hiring Manager
HR Outcomes
  • Baseline data on recent delegated examination (DE) hiring actions
  • A classified position description (PD) at the proper GS level
  • A complete list of the vacancies to be filled for the hiring action
  • An identified hiring manager and project manager
  • SME selection criteria, created with the hiring manager for the hiring action
  • A list of sufficient best in class SMEs for the size of your hiring action

Identifying Appropriate Positions

Start by selecting a specialized position with multiple openings.

Selecting Subject Matter Experts

The success of your hiring action depends on the strength of your subject matter experts (SMEs). Your strongest potential SMEs likely have many responsibilities; however, their time investment will result in a stronger certificate.

Estimating Time Commitment

Use the reference information (which presumes a hiring action of 150 applicants and 8 SMEs) to estimate the time required for your hiring action from subject matter experts, hiring managers/selection officials, and HR specialists.

Planning Your Timeline

Using the reference information, set up a tentative timeline for your hiring action. Having a dedicated project manager and HR specialist will help you go from posting the announcement to issuing a certificate in under 6 weeks.

Collecting data

Collect qualification, referral, and selection data on previous hiring actions that used the same hiring authority. By accessing your baseline data, you can better evaluate your results.


A SMEQA hiring action has multiple roles involved.

Hosting a Kickoff

Host a kick off meeting with SMEs, HR, and hiring managers to ensure everyone is on the same page about the process, goals, and time commitment.