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This site details the SME-QA hiring practices and pilots discussed in the 2019 OPM memo on Effective Assessments.

Subject Matter Expert Qualification Assessments

The Subject Matter Expert Qualification Assessments (SME-QA) process introduces subject matter experts (SMEs), in partnership with HR specialists as guides, to create and conduct job related assessments before an applicant is considered qualified. HR specialists protect merit principles and ensure the integrity of the process.

The SME-QA Process

A vertical representation of each phase of the SME-QA hiring process

During a typical competitive delegated examining hiring process, human resource (HR) specialists review resumes and occupational questionnaires to determine whether applicants are minimally qualified for a role. Agencies often conduct outreach and recruitment for technical positions and are concerned when they receive certificates without qualified applicants.

With the SME-QA process, subject matter experts (SMEs) partner with HR specialists to create and conduct job related assessments before considering an applicant qualified and applying Veterans’ preference. SME-QA is recommended for specialized positions with multiple vacancies for the same role.

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The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) memorandum "Improving Federal Hiring through the Use of Effective Assessment Strategies to Advance Mission Outcomes" encourages HR to use SMEs to determine whether applicants are qualified.
The "Executive Order on Modernizing and Reforming the Assessment and Hiring of Federal Job Candidates" removes self-evaluation as a solitary method for evaluating applicants.

Is SME-QA right for you?