A SMEQA hiring action has multiple roles involved.

Hiring Manager

Hiring managers participate in job analysis and then make selections using a SMEQA hiring certificate.

The hiring manager initiates the hiring action and may be the sponsor of the action. The hiring manager participates in initial meetings and in the job analysis, though they should generally defer to SMEs currently in the position. Following job analysis, the hiring manager is not involved in the action until the certificate is issued, at which point the hiring manager receives the cert and makes selections. Except for rare circumstances, a hiring manager is not allowed to serve as a SME.

HR Specialist

The HR specialist ensures that the hiring action adheres to merit system principles and controls all messaging to applicants about the hiring process. As with all hiring actions, the HR specialist is responsible for any HR functions related to the hiring action.

The HR specialist ensures that prohibitive personnel practices are trained against and monitored for throughout an action and trains/monitors SMEs such that SMEs can conduct assessment activities independently with HR review of case file materials. Depending on the nature of assessments used, an HR Specialist may be assisted by an I/O psychologist. In a multi-agency action where certificates are shared with other agencies (per the Competitive Service Act), the HR specialist handles the mechanics of sharing the cert with other agencies. The HR specialist should have a designated backup in case of unexpected outages and must be DE certified to run a competitive action using SMEQA.

Project Manager

The Project Manager is responsible for delivering the hiring action by tracking required actions, scheduling meetings, and supporting the other roles.

The project manager works closely with the sponsor and with the HR specialist throughout the action. This includes coordinating the moving pieces, setting up trainings, tracking SME participation, and managing the document flow for the action - along with the other steps described throughout this site. They may have an HR background but may also be new to hiring work and be designated by the sponsor, the hiring manager, or the HR specialist. The HR specialist may serve as the project manager for an action, however, often a separate individual is designated to this role.

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

SME information is covered in depth on this page..

Sponsors leads the cohort of hiring managers and SMEs, supporting the action via funding and/or participation in the hiring process. A sponsor might provide SMEs, engage stakeholders, and/or assist with job analysis. The sponsor "makes the call" with HR leadership on the specific grade levels/position for an action after gathering agency needs in the space. In conflicts between SMEs, the sponsor or their designee resolves those conflicts, in partnership with HR.

Note: In a single agency action, a sponsor is typically the individual or representative of an entity that initiaties the action or is appointed as sponsor by a senior official. In a multi-agency or cross-government action, a sponsor might be a representative/leader in a CXO Council, working group, or other entity initiating and partnering on the action.

Throughout a hiring action the sponsor may –

  • Help identify possible participating agencies, offices, or SMEs.
  • Share information about the possible hiring action with appropriate stakeholders (eg CXO Councils, interagency groups, etc)
  • Help identify positions/grade levels for inclusion on an interest survey
  • Contribute to or send out SME messaging throughout the process aligning to that audience
  • Assist in gathering materials (e.g. PDs, job announcements, competencies), that can be used for job analysis
  • As needed, participate in job analysis activities to help the group achieve consensus. (more important if the SME group is not aligned)
  • If needed, work with HR to remove SMEs from the action because they are not responsive to training or for poor conduct
  • Join regular meetings with the hiring team to answer questions, provide input on process and outreach language, advise on timeline given broader situational issues, and engage stakeholders as necessary
  • Assist in the marketing of the job announcement once it is posted (share with CoPs, agencies, outside organizations, etc)
  • Encourage agencies/offices to participate in the hiring action or use the shared certificate
  • Provide additional input and insights as needed throughout the process