The purpose of qualification standards is to establish selection criteria so that Postal Service positions are staffed with fully qualified persons whose job performance will provide effective customer service and efficient postal operations. Qualification standards state the minimum knowledge, skills, abilities, and other requirements that are essential for successful job performance. Some qualification standards may also indicate desirable qualification factors that may be used in selecting applicants for best qualified positions.
Bqnet contains qualification standards for use in both entrance and inservice placements for bargaining positions. Qualification standards may not currently be available for all positions covered by collective bargaining agreements. (See 727, Bargaining Selection Procedures, when selections are being made for such positions.)
Current qualification standards are maintained in an electronic database located on the Human Resources, Selection, Evaluation, and Recognition, Postal Service Intranet (Bqnet - Bargaining Qualifications on the Net). Selection, Evaluation, and Recognition will issue new and revised standards by updating Bqnet.
The following qualification standards, indexes, and appendixes are available in electronic form only at Bqnet - Bargaining Qualifications on the Net.
a. Qualification Standards. The qualification standards are identified by a qualification standard number. Each number is unique to the standard. In most cases, the first 4 digits of the occupation code form the qualification standard number, although an additional letter may be added to maintain unique numbers.
b. Appendix I. Appendix I contains a list of elements reflecting the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that are requirements common to many positions in the Postal Service. These are called B-elements that are denoted by a B before the requirement number. This notation refers to a B-element in this appendix. Appendix I also lists questions by B-elements to guide selecting officials in using specific B-elements. (See Bqnet, Appendix I, for further information on the use of these questions.)
c. Appendix II. Appendix II contains a list of elements reflecting the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are requirements common to positions covered by the Maintenance Selection System.
d. Occupation Code Index. This index of qualification standards is arranged numerically by occupation code.
e. Alphabetical Index. This index of qualification standards is arranged alphabetically by position title.
f. Qualification Standard Number Index. This index of qualification standards is arranged in order by qualification standard number.
This section of a qualification standard contains the knowledge, skill, and abilitiy (KSA) requirements. In some standards, these requirements may be identified as B-elements that refer to the elements in Appendix I, Bqnet. Other requirements may simply be numbered or lettered consecutively.
Some standards do not specify typing or driving requirements. However, the ability to type and/or drive may be essential to the efficient performance of some specific duty assignments. When filling any vacant position where there are no officially published typing or driving requirements, local management may add (1) Computer Based Test (CBT) 713 or CBT 714 as a typing requirement and/or (2) a driving requirement to operate a motor vehicle or powered industrial equipment. Typing or driving requirements must be reasonably related to the efficient performance of the duties of the job, and may be added only when typing or driving is expected to be performed on a regular basis.
Use the following standards for CBT 714 and CBT 713:
a. CBT 714 must be used when the kind of typing performed is data entry or typing on forms. When this test is added locally as a requirement, the low standard is always to be specified. Include the following information on the job posting or vacancy announcement:
Applicants must demonstrate the ability to type 25 correct lines in 5 minutes by successfully completing Postal Service Test 714 at the low standard.
b. CBT 713 must be used for all other typing applications. When this test is added as a requirement, include the following information on the job posting or vacancy announcement:
Applicants must demonstrate the ability to type at a rate of 30 net words per minute for 5 minutes. This requirement must be demonstrated by successful completion of Postal Service Test 713.
If driving is added as a requirement, include one of the following statements on the job posting or vacancy announcement, as appropriate to the position:
a. Applicants must have or be able to obtain authorization to operate a motor vehicle.
b. Applicants must have or be able to obtain authorization to operate powered industrial equipment.
Local officials may not modify or delete existing typing or driving requirements contained in official qualification standards.
Physical requirements are included in some qualification standards. These requirements are intended primarily for applicants who are entering the Postal Service. Medical assessments for inservice applicants or bidders are administered only when the physical requirements for the new positions are more demanding than those required in the employee's current position. All employees must be physically able to perform the essential functions of the positions for which they are applying, with or without reasonable accommodation where appropriate, and without posing a direct threat of harm to themselves or others.
Examination requirements may include a performance test, a rated application, or a written examination. The Examination Requirements section of the qualification standard will indicate if an examination is required. Battery Configuration I (Group 1) applies to position categories clerk, city carrier, distribution clerk, machine and flat sorter machine operator. Configuration II (Group 2) applies to mail handler, mail processor, and markup clerk, automated. Since 1993 when the battery was implemented, distribution clerk, machine and mail processor have been obsoleted.
A rated application is a method of evaluating and rating applicants' experience and training to determine their qualifications for specific positions. The Examination Requirements section of some qualification standards will indicate that the position is filled by rated application. In such cases, the rated application is to be used only for entrance and inservice application procedures. Rated applications are not used for in-craft applications. The following situations apply to rated applications:
a. Bid Procedures. When a position is being filled through bid procedures and the qualification standard for this position specifies a rated application, the rated application is not used in this instance. However, any examination specified in the qualification standard is required. Human resources offices must ensure that bidders for these positions meet all the requirements indicated in the qualification standard.
b. Reviewing Qualifications. When a rated application is used for inservice application procedures, officials are still required to review the applicant's qualifications, and to complete a Form 1796-A after receiving (1) the individual's rated application score and (2) any other applicable test scores.
With the exception of scheme examinations, tests are developed by or at the direction of Selection, Evaluation, and Recognition. In cases where a written test is required, the results of that test must be used according to the terms of the applicable collective bargaining agreement. Applicants or bidders who have previously qualified on a written test are not retested.
Substitutions for typing examinations include the following:
An applicant who bids a position that requires Test 713 need not take that test, if the applicant has qualified within the 2 years prior to application on Test 712, or the applicant currently holds a position requiring regular use of the typing skill level for Test 712.
No typing test is allowed as a substitution for Test 714.
Many qualification standards contain experience requirements. These are minimum requirements that all applicants must meet. The substitution of education or training for experience is appropriate only as indicated in the qualification standard.
Some qualification standards contain factors identified as desirable qualifications. These factors are used to select applicants for best qualified positions. They may not be used as a basis for disqualification.
Vacancies to be filled by bid or application are posted in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement and 72, Bargaining Positions. The qualification standard appropriate for the particular position must be included in the announcement. No additions, deletions, or modifications are permitted except as provided by 725, Special Requirements, and 727.2, No Qualification Standards.
For bargaining positions filled on the basis of senior qualified, the senior bidder's qualifications are compared to the published qualification standard. The senior bidder is selected if qualified (see 72, Bargaining Positions).
For bargaining positions filled on the basis of best qualified, all applicants are required to describe their qualifications based on relevant education, training, or experience. This description must address the requirements given on the qualification standard. Where applicable, applicants should consult the B-element questions given in Appendix I. Where there is no appreciable difference in qualifications, seniority is considered, except where it will be the determining factor as required by a collective bargaining agreement.
Applicants for positions for which standards have been published must fully meet the specified requirements. If an appointing official determines that there is no qualified employee available for consideration in the normal area of consideration, the following alternative courses of action must be taken prior to requesting a waiver of the specified standard for the position:
a. Expand the area of consideration for internal applicants.
b. Conduct an extensive external recruitment effort aimed at the applicant pool for the position.
When there is valid reason to request a variation from a published standard, the following procedure is used:
a. The appointing official must request, in writing, a variation of 1 or more items of a qualification standard through normal channels of communications to the manager of Selection, Evaluation, and Recognition.
b. Requests for variation must include appropriate evidence to support the request. Such requests must be responsive to the following questions as well as any other pertinent information:
(1) Have adequate recruiting efforts been made to secure a fully qualified applicant (i.e., expansion of area of consideration, advertising, contacts with professional community groups, and use of employment services, etc.)?
(2) What is the impact of the variation on the equal employment opportunity policy of the Postal Service?
(3) Does the variation seek to lower an established educational requirement?
(4) Does the variation seek to establish a new education requirement where none has been required? (Mandatory education requirements should not be necessary for most bargaining positions.)
c. Requests must be for qualification standards for the position only, never for an individual. If the waiver is approved, the selection process must begin again, using the revised standards for that particular position. All newly eligible applicants must be given consideration for the job.
d. The qualification requirement waiver applies only until the job is filled. Subsequent vacancies for the same position must be posted using the published qualification standard.
e. Normally, an employee may be selected for a position that has the requirements waived only once in any 12-month period.
The written request for variation from a qualification standard must be addressed as specified in 766.2a, and must include the specific information shown in 766.2b. The request must provide approving officials with the information necessary to reach a decision and provide employees with a record of an approved variation. The request will also serve as a record of the variation for inclusion in the vacancy file.