1e. Plan a Candidate Evaluation Strategy

PooPlanning your candidate evaluation strategy at this point in the hiring process helps set the stage for attracting quality candidates and ensures a smooth interview process. All criteria used for assessing candidates must be linked to job requirements. An assessment strategy can then be developed based on a clear identification of the competencies that are critical to successful performance on the job.

TSA managers, supervisors, and local Human Resources representatives are responsible for developing the evaluation strategy in compliance with TSA Management Directive No. 1100.30-26 Interviews and/or Other Final Selection Processes. You can find this MD at:

TSA MD 1100.30-26, Interviews and/or Other Final Selection Processes

Handbook to MD1100.30-26, Interviews and/or Other Final Selection Processes

The Hiring Manager and HR representatives should work together to review the requirements for the specific job opportunity and familiarize themselves with the approved process that has been developed for the occupation. All assessment tools and selection processes (such as Hiring Manager’s interviews, Selection Recommendation Panels, reference checks, etc.) applied in filling TSA positions will be utilized in accordance with TSA Management Directive No. 1100.30-26 Interviews and/or Other Final Selection Processes and all other policies, procedures, and guidance issued by the Assistant Administrator for Human Capital, including any position-specific candidate assessment and selection. TSA officials are prohibited from using any assessment tool that was not issued or reviewed, and authorized for use as specified by appropriate staff in OHC.  

After candidates complete an application and submit all required paperwork, such as a resume, they will be evaluated to determine if they meet the minimum qualifications for the job.  The minimum qualification requirements are the specialized experience and/or education requirements (if applicable), which are part of a self-rating questionnaire completed by the candidate.   Meeting minimum qualifications can also include passing any assessments required prior to being referred on a Certificate of Eligibles. The questionnaire includes an initial qualifications question linked to the specialized experience requirement. This specialized experience question serves as the fundamental determination of whether or not a candidate is qualified; he or she must possess this specialized job-related experience to continue through the assessment process. The remainder of the questionnaire asks candidates to identify their level of experience performing job-related tasks and ranks them with regard to the critical competencies.

Candidates may need to achieve a certain score for a competency, otherwise they will be deemed not qualified.  Candidates will then be placed into categories based on their score. (In some cases, when there are multiple hurdle assessment processes, the application questionnaire is only the first step or hurdle, and so does not determine category placement on its own. Candidates could go on to a structured interview or an objective assessment such as a logic based reasoning test or a writing skills assessment. In these cases, candidates would not be placed into categories until completing the final hurdle in the process.)  The Best Qualified (BQ) candidates are the most highly ranked candidates available for potential selection after recruitment and candidate assessment efforts are completed.  BQ candidates are referred to the Hiring Manager on a Certificate of Eligibles. The order in which they are listed on the Certificate may reflect their eligibility for selection (including Veterans’ Preference, if external) and cannot be changed.

After the Certificate of Eligibles has been issued, interviews of the Best Qualified candidates often take place during the final step of the assessment process. Interviews of the BQ candidates are administered at the discretion of the Selecting Official. A Selecting Official’s interview may be structured or unstructured in format, and may be conducted by the individual Selecting Official or by a panel. These interviews are not pass/fail and may not be used to disqualify candidates already on the Certificate of Eligibles.  The results of a Selecting Official’s interview, however, may be used to guide the Selecting Official’s final decision among candidates referred for potential selection.  More information about interviews can be found here:

Prepare for Interviews

Conduct Interviews


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