Office of Personnel Management

Offer Lower Grades to Qualified Job Candidates

My idea has to do with a personnel policy that causes Federal agencies to choose between being budget-conscious or hiring the most qualified workforce. The policy prevents agencies from achieving both goals simultaneously. When candidates apply for a Federal job with a career ladder, for example, a GS 12/13/14, many candidates apply only for the higher grades. According to Human Resources professionals, the hiring official may not make a job offer to a candidate for a lower grade than that under which they chose to apply. For example, if a candidate applies only for the GS-14 grade, it is not possible to offer them the job as a GS-12 or 13. This policy is potentially causing a lot of wasted taxpayer dollars and inefficiency in the Federal government. This is because if the most qualified candidate applies only at a higher grade, the agency must either hire the most qualified candidate at that higher grade or hire a less qualified candidate who chose to apply for a lower grade. Either situation causes waste for the government. If the most qualified candidate is selected at the higer grade, it adds to problems of "grade inflation" in Federal agencies. On the other hand, if agencies are budget-conscious or desire to give higher grades only to employees who have proven themselves on the job, it forces agencies to hire candidates who are less qualified but chose to apply at a lower grade. This policy should be changed. If a candidate applies for a higher grade, the hiring official should be allowed to offer them a lower grade within the career ladder advertised in the job announcement. The candidate is then free to decide if they want to accept the lower grade. This policy is potentially happening throughout the entire Executive Branch, and is preventing agencies from hiring the best workforce for the best value.

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Idea No. 2234