One of my favorite USAJOBS “tricks of the trade”—and a much over-looked resource by most federal jobseekers—is reading the questionnaire of a vacancy announcement.
Novice jobseekers often try to analyze the job announcement narrative to figure out whether or not they qualify for the job. Actually, the answer is quite clear if you click on the magic link buried deep into the announcement that says “View Occupational Questionnaire” or “View Assessment Questions.”
It’s like getting lost in the woods and suddenly finding the map that will get you back out.
The questionnaire is a clear guide of exactly what the Human Resources (HR) Specialist needs to find in a candidate. It’s numbered like a well-organized checklist. Many questions are simply yes / no or A/B/C/D/E for quick review and evaluation.
There are generally two types of questions in the questionnaires: questions about the basic qualifications of the job, and questions regarding the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the applicant.
Meeting the Basic Requirements
The first cut is obviously whether or not you meet the basic requirements. These questions are usually quite straightforward:
- A requirement for this position is that you must have education and experience in environmental engineering and/or geology in order to provide expertise in soil and groundwater contamination evaluation
Yes – I have environmental engineering and/or geology experience
No – I do not have experience in environmental engineering or geology.
Determining How Qualified You Are
Next, the HR Specialist must sort out whether you are Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or simply Qualified by evaluating your level of the knowledge, skills, and abilities relating to the job.
Here is where things get a little trickier, because the questions will usually involve a self-rating scale similar to this example: