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Janice Lachance, Former Director of OPM, and Jeri Buchholz, Former NASA Chief Human Capital Officer, discuss the process of filling political roles in the Biden administration and what they will watch moving forward

Just about every agency now has a long list of appointees and nominees from President Joe Biden. Many of them are appointees the Senate does not need to confirm.

“I think the Biden transition and now the Biden administration may be writing the how-to manual for transitions for administrations of the future,” said Janice Lachance, Former Director of OPM. “I think this is exemplary; it’s a great way to handle this interim period while people are waiting to be confirmed.” Lachance believes it would be valuable to document best practices used in this transition to aid future administrations.

Jeri Buchholz, Former NASA Chief Human Capital Officer, said the value in this approach is immeasurable. “It is so important, and clearly the president understands that he needs the power of two million plus public servants of the federal government behind him in order to accomplish his very important agenda,” she said.

Buchholz said the administration has not only hired people quickly, but has also done so in an efficient and effective manner using structured interviews. “Structured interviews are the best way to select a high-quality workforce,” she said.

A structured interview is a series of questions designed to tease out the skills and competencies you’re looking for with a scoring mechanism, explained Buchholz. “You’re able to rate and rank your candidates based on the skillsets that you need for the job,” she said.

Going forward, Buchholz will watch “how fast the Biden administration can build trust with the federal workforce.”

Lachance said she will watch “how fast the Senate takes on the other 1200 people that they have to confirm once they’re done with the Cabinet … I think the Senate owes it to the American people to move expeditiously on those.”

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