Sunday, January 4, 2009

Assessment Techniques

Federal employees do have a sense of humor. They realize that many people believe that the third great lie (after the two others about "checks in the mail" and "respect in the morning") is: "We're from the government, and we're here to help you."

We've all be frustrated at times by customer service inside and outside the government, but please consider the politics behind the above ridicule as revealed in this NY Times article. As we're about to see, there is great help and great expertise is available from the government.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) sets human resources (HR) policy and issues HR guidance for most civilian positions in the Federal government. At the OPM website, you may find an Assessment Decision Guide, which includes an Assessment Decision Tool, and information on Structured Interviews. There is also a Guide to Structured Interviews.

Not all of this material is directly applicable to ministry. However, a surprising amount of it is.

For example, the Assessment Decision Tool doesn't have already-identified competencies for ministry (or chaplaincy, the nearness occupation found in the Federal government). It does have such competencies for psychology and other related occupations.

Included in the Assessment Decision Tool as possible competencies for psychology positions are conflict management, creative thinking, customer service, flexibility, influencing/negotiating, integrity/honesty, interpersonal skills, leadership, vision, etc. Obviously some of these competencies apply to some ministries.

The Assessment Decision Tool discusses assessment techniques such as accomplishment records, assessment centers, biographical data (biodata) tests, cognitive ability test, emotional intelligence tests, personality tests, reference checking, situation judgment tests, structured interviews, training and experience evaluations, and work samples and simulations. It recommends specific techniques for assessing specific competencies.

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