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Special General Memorandum 2011-02


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Public Health Service
     Indian Health Service
 Rockville MD 20852

SGM 2011-02
July 26, 2011

TO: All Employees

FROM: Director

SUBJECT: Human Resources Qualification Determinations

The following guidance is provided to immediately correct a historical practice that is creating problems in some Indian Health Service (IHS) locations with rating and reviewing of employment applications.  This creates a risk that otherwise eligible and/or qualified applicants may be losing consideration for a job by being prematurely screened out due to labeling of their application as incomplete by Human Resources (HR) staff.

Effective immediately, HR staff should not categorically label an application as incomplete, thereby removing it from consideration at the outset.  All applications must be reviewed with the information provided in the application.  However, applications may be removed from consideration if the applicant does not provide information to allow the HR staff to determine that requirements for eligibility and qualifications have been met.

An applicant must submit documents with their original application that will enable the HR specialist to determine if the applicant is eligible and qualified for the position for which they have applied.

  1. Eligibility is determined by establishing that the applicant is within the published area of consideration.

  2. Eligibility is also determined for preference categories (Indian preference, Veteran's preference, etc.).

  3. Qualifications are established by verifying that the applicant has met the required and posted specialized experience, education requirements, licenses, etc.

All applications are initially screened to determine which applicants meet eligibility and qualifications requirements.  This initial screening is performed by HR staff by reviewing:

  1. the information provided in the application and in the résumé;

  2. applicant's answers to assessment questions; and

  3. review of documents that provide evidence of the representations made by the applicant in the job application.

While all applications must be reviewed with the information provided by the applicant, credit will only be given to the applicant for information and/or documentation that is necessary to make those determinations.  For example, if a position requires a medical license as a minimum qualification, there must be information in the application to indicate that that applicant has the required license.  However, evidence of the license (a copy) may be provided after the application is reviewed for other required qualifications.

If an applicant is requesting preference under an authorized preference category, the applicant must claim the preference category in the application, AND provide proof of eligibility for the preference at the time of the application.  If an applicant does not provide proof of the preference category, they will be reviewed and scored as if they did not meet the requirements of the preference category.  The requirements for granting Veteran's Preference are found at the Office of Personnel Management at: http://www.fedshirevets.gov/hire/hrp/index.aspx.

Background investigations must be initiated prior to appointment, including the completion of fingerprint adjudication.  If an applicant is applying for a position designated as covered under Public Law 101-630, the applicant must provide responses to questions in the addendum to the Optional Form (OF)-306.  This may be included as part of the electronic application.  The OF-306 must be completed and signed by the applicant prior to establishing an entrance on duty date.

Additional procedural information will be provided by the Office of Management Services, to all IHS HR offices, in order to fully implement this IHS policy.

/Yvette Roubideaux, M.D./
Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H.


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