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Blog Comments posted by boricua

  1. 23 hours ago, ji20874 said:

    It is a common misperception, and is becoming more common even though there is no basis for it in regulation.  How do these ill-founded misperceptions start and spread so easily?

    One way these practices start is from people in key positions.  For example:  I've encountered several SBA Business Opportunity Specialists who ask me to change the NAICS in 8(a) sole-source solicitations because the vendor did not list the specific NAICS for the project, and other times they've asked the vendor to add the NAICS to their SAM account.  The contracting officer needs to decide if fighting the system is more important than meeting the requirements deadline...  Most people I know do not keep a log of things they want to change in the FAR (and the bureaucracy) and just follow along.

    There is no evil intent, just a combination of lack of candor, a little ignorance, and lack of willpower and energy on our day to day job to change the established system.  That's where assuming a leadership role, no matter what our position within the bureaucracy is, comes into play.  Assuming we cannot change something right away, we can keep a list for when we have the time and/or raise the issue to the right person; keeping the message to just one issue at a time, adding the research to support our point, and providing some suggested wording, will help that "right person" to help us make our jobs better.


  2. The standardized tests issue has been debated for several decades and there are good arguments both in favor and against one size fits all tests.  In Federal permanent employees is too late after the person is hired into a different position to find out the person cannot pass a test because you are stuck with that employee for a long time.  For example, I had a coworker who could not pay her bills, lost the security clearance, could not touch a Government computer, and for over a year all she did was shred paper while her workload was distributed among the other workers in the office.  Management tried to get rid of her but could not, and a little over a year later she received a new clearance and back to business again.

    On the other hand, tying promotions more to performance and test results than to time in grade has possibilities.  One problem with the promotion idea is that in Federal employment promotion usually means moving out to a different agency, and that takes us back to fixing the hiring system.  Passing the skills/knowledge test prior to interview, asking questions that are relevant to the position you are trying to fill, evaluating the applicant under pressure to assess the applicant emotional intelligence, and doing a thorough background (references) check should increase your chances of hiring the right person for the position.

  3. It all starts at the hiring.  Post the right requirements, ask the right interview questions, and do a thorough background check.  Pre-hiring-test are not illegal; for example, the FDIC does a three-day interview process where the applicants have to do writing and editing tests, solve collaborative problems, and attend a formal dinner.

    P.S.  I was once asked at a contracting job interview "with what comic book character do you identify the most?"; the other questions did not ask much about the actual contracting tasks either...

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