Testing & Assessment

Are You Needlessly over-qualifying candidates? Need help to legally identify better skills?

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businessenseUnintentionally H.R and Managers will frequently create and demand excessive experience and requirements within their open job reqs. They generally base these requirements upon their own personal subjective beliefs and opinions; Their Personal Wants, rather than focusing on what is actually Needed to get the Job done. 

The EEOC and DOL often challenge these types of superfluous qualifications; Those that they deem  that are not i) not job related for the position in question; ii) not consistent with business necessity; iii) Unable to be justified by business necessity; iv) and which are not fundamental, and marginal to the job. 

One of the areas that Employers routinely tend to over qualify can often be found in the aspect of Education. Employers will require College Degrees, where when challenged, they are unable to demonstrate where either the requirement is Job Related or Consistent with Business Necessity, especially if available alternatives would be equally effective for the company to meet its business objectives. 

The Department of Labor does have Resources that allow for Employers to help determine the appropriate experience, knowledge and qualifications so that employers can effectively develop job descriptions through defining appropriate employee and job specific success factors, which would allow them (employers) to expand their pool of appropriately qualified candidates, thus helping to align the organization through development with their workplace needs!

One of the ways that the DOL has done this is through the Stratifying Occupational Units by Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) via the O*Net Job Zones

What is SVP and how does it relate to O*NET Job Zones?

SVP (Specific Vocational Preparation) is the amount of time required by a typical worker to learn the techniques, acquire the information, and develop the abilities needed for average performance in a specific work situation. Job Zones were developed to transition from SVP, to measures of experience, education, and job training included in the O*NET database.

For a more detailed explanation of how Job Zones relate to SVP, please refer to Stratifying Occupational Units by Specific Vocational Preparation. ** see below

Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP)

Specific Vocational Preparation is a component of Worker Characteristics information found in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (U.S. Department of Labor, 1991).

Specific Vocational Preparation, as defined in Appendix C of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, is the amount of lapsed time required by a typical worker to learn the techniques, acquire the information, and develop the facility needed for average performance in a specific job-worker situation.

This training may be acquired in a school, work, military, institutional, or vocational environment. It does not include the orientation time required of a fully qualified worker to become accustomed to the special conditions of any new job. Specific vocational training includes: vocational education, apprenticeship training, in-plant training, on-the-job training, and essential experience in other jobs.

Specific vocational training includes training given in any of the following circumstances:

  1. Vocational education (high school, commercial or shop training, technical school, art school, and that part of college training which is organized around a specific vocational objective)
  2. Apprenticeship training (for apprenticeable jobs only)
  3. In-plant training (organized classroom study provided by an employer)
  4. On-the-job training (serving as learner or trainee on the job under the instruction of a qualified worker)
  5. Essential experience in other jobs (serving in less responsible jobs, which lead to the higher-grade job, or serving in other jobs which qualify).

The following is an explanation of the various levels of specific vocational preparation:

Level Time

  1. Short demonstration only
  2. Anything beyond short demonstration up to and including 1 month
  3. Over 1 month up to and including 3 months
  4. Over 3 months up to and including 6 months
  5. Over 6 months up to and including 1 year
  6. Over 1 year up to and including 2 years
  7. Over 2 years up to and including 4 years
  8. Over 4 years up to and including 10 years
  9. Over 10 years

Note: The levels of this scale are mutually exclusive and do not overlap. 

Job Zones

Overview

A Job Zone is a group of occupations that are similar in:

The five Job Zones are:

Job Zone One: Little or No Preparation Needed

Education

Some of these occupations may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Related Experience

Little or no previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, a person can become a waiter or waitress even if he/she has never worked before.

Job Training

Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.

Job Zone Examples

These occupations involve following instructions and helping others. Examples include taxi drivers, amusement and recreation attendants, counter and rental clerks, construction laborers, continuous mining machine operators, and waiters/waitresses.

SVP Range

(Below 4.0)

Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed

Education

These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

Related Experience

Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Job Training

Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples

These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.

SVP Range

(4.0 to < 6.0)

Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed

Education

Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Related Experience

Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

Job Training

Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples

These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, interviewers, and insurance sales agents.

SVP Range

(6.0 to < 7.0)

Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed

Education

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Related Experience

A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.

Job Training

Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone Examples

Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and special agents.

SVP Range

(7.0 to < 8.0)

Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed

Education

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

Related Experience

Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.

Job Training

Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Job Zone Examples

These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, aerospace engineers, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and controllers.

SVP Range

(8.0 and above)


**Download

Stratifying Occupational Units by Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) (PDF - 522 KB)

also See the 

The Job Description Writer  which  is an online tool that uses O*NET data to help employers and human resource specialists write job descriptions. Users begin by selecting an occupation and are prompted to include statements about common skills, knowledge, tasks, work activities and work context to include in a job description. Users have the option to customize and save their final job description to their own computer. 

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