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Strategic Plan > Index to Action Papers > Implementation of Pre-employment Testing for Patent Examiners

Implementation of Pre-employment Testing for Patent Examiners

Action:


The USPTO should implement pre-employment testing of oral and written communication skills of applicants for patent examiner positions in order to ensure a high quality workforce producing the highest quality patent.  However, for the 300 hires in fiscal year 2003, the interim pre-employment testing of patent examiners as described in (Transformation 8 (P19-1)) is again being utilized.  The options discussed below are being further studied for feasibility and as funds become available will be considered for implementation.

Background Information:


One of the most important characteristics of a successful patent examiner is the ability to communicate effectively in the English language, orally and in writing.  In fact, this skill is fundamental to successful on-the job performance.  The very nature of the work requires extensive written and occasional oral communication with the applicant (patent practitioners).  Unfortunately, the USPTO has received negative feedback from the intellectual property community regarding the communication skills of some of its recent hires. 

Therefore, in an effort to address these concerns and improve the overall efficiency of communication during the patent examination process, English language competency must become a formal prerequisite for employment as a patent examiner with the USPTO.

Options Considered:


1.     Modify all patent examiner vacancy announcements to include oral and written communication skills as a selective placement factor (applicants can be screened-out of the evaluation process based on lack of demonstrated English competency).

2.     Modify the Job Application Rating System (JARS) to include an English competency component.

3.     Mandate face-to-face interviews where a proctored writing exercise is given to determine an applicant’s language competency.

4.     Explore alternatives to face-to-face interviews.

USPTO Recommended Course of Action:


Implement all options.

Option 1:  Modified all patent examiner vacancy announcements to include oral and written communication skills as a selective placement factor (applicants can be screened-out of the evaluation process based on lack of demonstrated English competency).

The process of modifying patent examiner vacancy announcements is a fairly simple process.  However, we have insured all applicants in the current JARS database are aware of the new requirement.   

Details:


·       Required insertion of specific language in the vacancy announcement and the generic patent examiner position description to address the bonafide occupational requirement for competency in oral and written English.

·       Provided notice to all candidates in the current JARS applicant pool to afford them the opportunity to update their JARS applications for equitable consideration based on new requirements.

·       Amended and reprinted current vacancy announcements to include additional communication skills.

·       Update JARS to accept the modifications to the vacancy announcement.

·       Design a structured interview assessment and writing sample tool.

·       Develop a method of equitably scoring both written and oral English assessment tools.

·       Safeguard the oral English assessment tool to avoid the potential for compromise.

·       Engage the services of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to rate and rank candidates based on the new criteria.

·       Continue utilizing the Delegated Examining Unit (DEU) and JARS to rate and rank candidates based on responses from writing samples and feedback from structured interviews.  Since the English competency would become a selective factor, either the candidate would or would not possess the factor.  If the candidate does not possess the competency the DEU would eliminate the candidate from further consideration.

·       Apply the selective factor consistently for all candidates without exception to avoid the perception of inequitable treatment in the hiring process. 

·       Determine who will rate and rank candidates based on the new criteria; (i.e., Supervisory Patent Examiners (SPE), Human Resources Specialist, consultants, OPM, etc.).

·       There will be a learning curve for current and new hiring officials as well as Human Resources Specialists involved in the hiring and selection process.  Training must be conducted in the application of the selective factor in the rating and ranking process.

Return on Investment:

Indirect estimated benefits


·       Provides a higher level of customer satisfaction based on the ability of an examiner to communicate effectively with our customers.

Direct estimated benefits

·       Provides a consistent and equitable instrument to quickly evaluate candidate’s English competency.

·       Provides a pool of qualified applicants with the requisite skills/competency to respond to the general public orally and in writing.

·       Reduces the time needed to rate and rank candidates by providing clear and concise instructions on what level of competency a candidate must possess in order to receive additional consideration beyond the initial application level.

·       Provides an explanation for candidates who may not qualify for the position based on the need for proficiency in English communication both oral and written.

Attachment:  See attachment A for proposed vacancy announcement language regarding communication skills.

Option 2:  Modify the JARS to include an English competency component. 

The process of modifying the JARS on line application is complex, however not impossible.  Fundamentally, JARS is designed as an individual self-assessment tool.  Applicants rate their level of knowledge and expertise in science and engineering for specific technical disciplines required by the agency.  While we currently have a writing component incorporated in JARS, there is a concern by SPEs, hiring officials and the Office of Human Resources regarding the validity and identity of the applicant who completes the written component of the application.  Furthermore, as mentioned previously, there is a need to assess the candidate’s English proficiency as discussed in the background portion of this document.  Presently, there is no method of evaluating both oral and written communications skills in the on-line-application.  If the Agency is to improve the caliber of the examiner we must immediately address the oral as well as the written English capability of all potential examiners.  Much of the examiners’ communication with applicants and the general public is done over the telephone; it is, therefore, vitally important that the potential examiners’ English proficiency be assessed.  Feedback from the customer satisfaction survey shows that that there is a deficiency in many examiners’ grasp of the English language.  The degree to which an examiner possesses the language skills necessary to communicate effectively is not only vital to their overall success, but also critical to the ability of the agency to meet its mandated mission.

Details:

·       Under the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, USPTO must establish a uniform set of principles for using any testing or evaluation tool for English proficiency.  There must be a direct correlation between the occupational qualification needed for such testing and that such testing is fair, consistent, and applied to all perspective applicants. 

·       The evaluation instrument must be validated to ensure the instrument is an accurate predictor of successful job performance and measures what it was intended to measure.  Any challenges to the validity of the test must be addressed/defended by the USPTO.

·       The current JARS database must be shut down.  In shutting down JARS, the inventory of available candidates would not be available for immediate access to the applicant pool.  Since the applications previously received would no longer be considered, the DEU would reevaluate all candidates.  As part of this reevaluation, the DEU will retrieve all previously submitted information and merge it with the new application.  The applicant would not be required to resubmit items such as college transcripts, resumes, or similar items unless they have been updated subsequent to the original application.  Note:  all current applications expire after six months and are no longer considered for examiner positions.  The data, however, is stored for two years for historical purposes. 

·       The writing samples by necessity would most appropriately be evaluated manually.  The subjectivity of the written evaluation process makes it difficult if not impossible to automate.

·       The on-line question could also ask the applicant to describe extracurricular activities (i.e. Editor of the School Yearbook, member of the drama club, member of Toastmasters, etc.) to show written and oral English communication abilities.

Timing:


·       To insure equitable treatment of all applicants, the modification to JARS must be made simultaneously with modifications to the current patent examiner vacancy announcements.  The modified vacancy announcement would require oral and written communication as a condition of employment.

·       The oral and written communication proficiency assessment would become a component of the rating and ranking process, the results of which become a part of the overall score to determine the best-qualified candidate for further consideration and hiring decision.  The USPTO will use oral and written communication as a selective factor.  The nature of the examination process requires on-going written and spoken dialogue with the general public and is, therefore, essential to successful job performance.  For patent examiner positions, these skills are as critical to job qualifications and performance as is the positive education requirements.

·       The current JARS database must be shut down to update the application process and procedures.  Because hiring was curtailed in early fiscal year 2003 as a result of budget constraints, the database was shut down and will be reopened when full-year funding for the fiscal year becomes available.  Over 5,700 applicants in the inventory were notified of changes to the application process.

·       In shutting down JARS, the inventory of available candidates would not be available should the hiring goal change and require immediate access to the applicant pool.  Since the applications previously received would no longer be considered, the DEU would reevaluate all candidates.  As part of this reevaluation, the DEU will retrieve all previously submitted information and merge it with the new application.  The applicant would not be required to resubmit items such as college transcripts, resumes, or similar items unless they have been updated subsequent to the original application.  Note:  all current applications expire after six months and are no longer considered for examiner positions.  The data, however, is stored for two years for historical purposes. 

·       We must design the evaluation instrument and have it validated.  We are canvassing other agencies such as Customs and NASA to explore the feasibility of adopting their assessment instrument.  The OPM can validate the instrument for a fee.

Risks:


·       Possible inaccessibility of the evaluation instrument to all potential applicants nationwide if automation creates a challenge.  Currently there is no such instrument available electronically.

·       Perception of Title VII violations if the instrument is not universally used/applied. The testing instrument is not intended to exclude or be a barrier to employment of any underrepresented groups.

·       Viable candidates may be lost if they perceive the test as inconvenient, invasive, demeaning, offensive or otherwise degrading given the level of education and experience most of the candidates possess.

·       There is still a risk of another party completing the writing sample for the candidate if administered on-line.

·       In allowing an applicant to describe involvement in extracurricular activities – they may have been involved in such activities but there is no guarantee that it was in English.  The applicant could have participated in such programs using other languages.

·       The current JARS database must be shut down to update the application process and procedures.  Applicants in the current inventory must be notified of changes to the application process to be afforded the opportunity to update their JARS applications for equitable consideration.  This will be labor-intensive and may frustrate some applicants who may believe they have met all previous application requirements.

·       It is likely we will lose some highly qualified applicants due to sheer frustration of having to reapply after having waited some time for job consideration. 



Return on Investment:

Estimated investment


·       Cost of developing the modified JARS application to include the English proficiency assessment.

·       Cost of modifying JARS database as well as clearance through the Life Cycle Management process.

·       Cost of DEU staff-hours to notify applicants of the change, reevaluate applications, manually prepare mailing labels and respond to inquiries from applicants concerned about the status of their applications.

Indirect estimated benefits


·       Reduction in man-hours expended by SPEs to correct errors associated with written documents or miscommunication with the general public.

·       Reduction in potential litigation due to errors in office actions or oral communication associated with responding to the general public.

Direct estimated benefits

·       Reduction in cost per student to attend internally sponsored ESL training courses.

·       Better quality applicant pool.

·       An established structured interview process, which promotes consistency in the preliminary interview process. 

Option 3:  Mandate face-to-face interviews where a proctored writing exercise is given to determine an applicant’s English competency.


The requirement for a face-to-face interview should be mandated by USPTO management and deemed as a precondition of employment or preliminary evaluation of candidates.  This requirement would allow the agency to not only evaluate candidates written English competency but also their ability to communicate orally given a variety of structured interview scenarios.  Currently, face-to-face interviews are only conducted at the decision point (selection/non-selection) by the hiring official who would be evaluating the candidate based on their technical proficiency not the mastery of the English language.  Face-to-face interviews would afford the Agency the first real opportunity to assess a candidate’s ability to function effectively in an intellectual property arena.

Details:


·       Management would mandate face-to-face interviews by a cadre of internally trained interviewers.

·       As an alternative, a cadre of professionally trained SPEs could be assigned the sole responsibility of recruiting, evaluating and assessing the technical and English proficiency skill level of potential examiners in the preliminary stages of the hiring process.

·       Trained interviewers employed by the agency could conduct structured personal interviews for English proficiency, and a first screening of potential applicants.

·       Develop a diverse team of trained interviewers whose primary purpose would be to conduct structured interviews for the entire USPTO not just specific technology sectors.  These individuals could consist of SPEs, hiring official and Human Resources Specialist or a combination of all three.

·       Explore the feasibility of conducting second round face-to-face interviews during recruitment and outreach efforts and assign an additional member to the recruitment team whose primary responsibility would be to conduct the structured interview during the recruitment event and make recommendations to the hiring official based on the interview. 

·       Explore the feasibility of engaging the services of college or university career placement centers to administer the proctored writing exercise on behalf of the Agency.

·       Engage the services of the OPM field offices to administer proctored writing samples on behalf of the Agency.

·       Explore the feasibility of using the Patent Depository Libraries (PTDLs) as resource centers for administering the proctored writing samples.

·       As part of the ongoing campus recruitment and outreach efforts require the recruiters to administer/proctor the writing samples as part of the recruitment event.  In this context you would send an individual who would be exclusively dedicated to administering proctored writing activities; this would minimize the integrity issue associated with electronic submission of writing samples.

·       Explore the possibility of establishing an electronic link to the JARS database by the interviewer during recruitment and outreach events so they can evaluate the candidate on the spot and perhaps make a tentative job offer to those candidates who exhibit a high level of competency in English as well as technical proficiency.

·       Explore the possibility of engaging the services of a professional recruitment service to conduct the preliminary interviews but retain the services of the hiring official to conduct the final (selection) interview.

·       Evaluate candidates using structured interview questions and techniques.

·       Develop structured interview questions, which would be used consistently throughout the USPTO to provide equitable treatment to all candidates.  The instrument would not be used to bar or otherwise limit consideration of otherwise qualified candidates. 

·       Benchmark structured interview questions used by other agencies or private industry to more effectively use interviewers time.  This would allow the USPTO to structure questions specifically tailored to the needs of the agency and evaluate the candidate’s likelihood of success in performing examination functions.

·       Use structured interview questions developed by OPM to evaluate candidate’s English competency and assess candidate’s scores using OPM models.

·       Consider holding regional recruitment/outreach events at PTDLs and conduct structured interviews at these sites.  During these events, candidates can produce writing samples at the facilities and PTDL employees can proctor them.

Timing:


·       Structured interviews could only begin after the structured interview questions have been developed, validated and reviewed by competent authority.

·       May require a diverse panel of individuals to conduct the structured interviews.

·       Must develop a diverse pool of trained structured interviewers to maintain the integrity of the process, provide equitable treatment to all candidates and reduce the potential for abuse.

·       If face-to-face interviews are conducted during recruitment and outreach events, it may necessitate providing additional days to the scheduled recruitment event/outreach effort.

·       If face-to-face interviews and evaluations were conducted during recruitment and outreach events, it could expedite the recruitment process and allow the Agency to immediately avail itself of a potential examiner.

·       Hold PTDL recruitment/outreach events on a quarterly basis.

Return on Investment


Indirect estimated benefits


·       Reduce expense and man-hours expended to train examiners in oral and written communication once hired.

·       Reduce SPE time spent communicating with the general public to address concerns raised by our customers and minimize time spent correcting office actions prepared by examiners who lack the requisite English proficiency to perform assigned duties.

Direct estimated benefits

·       Agency benefits from a cadre of skilled interviewers for all positions within Patents, thus allowing consistency to the recruitment process.

·       Agency could quickly evaluate the English competency of all potential examiners.

Attachment:

See attachment B for structured interview questions.

 


Option 4: Explore alternatives when face-to-face interviews are not practical.


Currently there is no mechanism to conduct alternatives to face-to-face- interviews.  Some options could include videoconferencing, videotapes, audio recordings, or Digital Video Disks.  This option, if implemented would provide the Agency alternatives to face-to-face interviews.  Such efforts would clearly show the Agency is forward-thinking and is utilizing technology currently available in the information age.  Videoconferencing provides the applicant and the Agency considerable flexibility in conducting requisite interviews at a time when the candidate or Agency may be unable to make accommodations to hold face-to-face sessions.  A recent article in Federal Computer World “Embracing online recruiting” provides a glimpse of the direction Federal agencies are moving to streamline the recruitment and hiring process through the use of technology.  Not only is this practice cost-effective but it also reduces the time-delays associated with paper processing.

Details:


·       Conduct benchmarking studies with Federal agencies that currently own, lease or otherwise use videoconferencing such as the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to determine the feasibility of using this technology.

·       Determine available sources to obtain any equipment needed both at the USPTO and at any off-site location for videoconferencing.

·       Consider engaging the services of PTDLs as a potential site for candidates to use the facilities as part of the videoconferencing network established by the Agency.  Negotiate any costs associated with PTDLs securing equipment needed as well as the cost of allowing non-employees to use the facilities and equipment.

·       Look into the possibility of providing “mobile videoconferencing” services using motor homes, large vans or other similar vehicles.  This would allow the Agency to go to sites throughout the United States without being limited to specific facilities, added costs or other restrictions that could be eliminated.  Additionally, the mobile videoconferencing vehicle could also be used as a recruitment/outreach tool, learning lab and interview site.  This would be a “take the Agency on the road” and exhibit the power of advertising.

·       Determine the feasibility of engaging the services of private contractors/vendors to provide the videoconferencing equipment/facilities to minimize Agency costs.  It may be necessary to use the services of several private contractors/vendors to provide nationwide access to all potential candidates.

·       Determine the cost of satellite, phone lines, security apparatus, and associated costs to obtain, use and maintain videoconferencing capabilities.

·       Ensure there are sufficient videoconferencing capabilities throughout the country prior to embracing this option.

·       Conduct cost-benefit analysis to determine true workability/feasibility of using videoconferencing as a viable option.

Timing:

·       When using videoconferencing, companies are allotted certain times to use satellites deployed to provide connectivity between videoconference centers.  We must determine exactly how much time we will need and what our potential time-periods would be. 

·       Parties on both ends of the videoconference must be available at the designated time; thus, little flexibility exists based on satellite time and the cost of using such services.

·       To efficiently use videoconferencing, it is critical that structured interview questions be developed which solicit usable responses from candidates to make the system cost effective.

·       Equipment and security issues must be addressed prior to obtaining any needed equipment.

·       Video patent prosecution in action as well as the USPTO campus to provide candidates insight as to what may be involved in patent examination prior to accepting jobs.  Additionally, once hired, the Agency could use newly hired examiners in videoconferencing sessions to recruit other potential candidates from their previous jobs, college, university or hometown as patent examiners (the connection factor).

·       Establish a point of contact for scheduling/coordinating interview schedules between the Agency and the candidates.  Scheduling could be accomplished via e-mail; however, some individuals or an office would be assigned the task of coordination such activities.  This could become a labor-intensive task in the absence of cooperation of all parties.

·       Consider using the diverse trained cadre of interviewers, as the individuals who would conduct videoconference interviews as they are already trained in structured interviewing techniques and this would be a logical extension of their recruitment/outreach responsibilities.

·       Permit the applicant to submit a video or audiotape in lieu of videoconferencing or face-to-face interviews.  Applicants could also create a DVD and send it to the Agency for consideration.  This would permit the applicant to create such instruments whenever and wherever was convenient to them and make for a more user-friendly option.

Risks:


·       Potential loss of satellite feed during videoconferencing.

·       All parties may not be available at the scheduled times.

Indirect estimated benefits

·       Reduces delays associated with conducting extensive face-to-face interviews. 

Direct estimated benefits

·       Provide the Agency mobility and flexibility in reaching candidates who may not otherwise be readily available to hold face-to-face interviews.

·       Reduction in travel costs incurred by the Agency and the candidate to conduct face-to-face interviews.

Attachment:

See attachment B for structured interview questions, which would be used in conjunction with the videoconference session.


Attachment A

Sample Phrases Which Could Be Used In The Modified Vacancy Announcement As Selective Factors

Oral and written communication:


·       Demonstrated proficiency in oral and written communications skills required to explain complex issues of a technical or policy nature to attorney’s, inventors, and the general public.

·       Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, to deal tactfully with others, and to analyze and organize ideas and relevant facts in an objective manner.

·       Mastery of communication principles, methods, practices and techniques for handling request for benefits, entitlements, licenses, patent protection or similar request that must prepare and disseminate information to individuals and audiences with varying degrees of comprehension, opposition, indifference, or erroneous understanding of the information being presented. 

Written communication:


·       Ability to express facts and ideas in writing in a succinct and organized manner.  Describe the types of documents you have written.

·       Demonstrated ability to understand legal provisions and administrative procedures and apply them to specific situations using oral and written communication techniques.

·       Demonstrated ability to recognize and properly use grammar, syntax, punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary. 

·       Demonstrated ability to organize ideas, and present facts in a clear, concise and coherent manner to a varied audience.

Oral communication:


·       Ability to express facts and ideas to individuals or groups effectively and make clear convincing presentations.  Describe a situation where you had to defend or explain an idea or proposal.  Who was the audience, what was the issue and what was the outcome?

·       Demonstrated ability to make oral presentation of complex issues, ideas or concepts to varied audiences in a tactful and persuasive manner.

·       Demonstrated ability to prepare and verbally present highly technical or legalistic information to a diverse audience.  The information must be disseminated in a manner that is clearly understood and would permit the audience to take appropriate action based on the oral presentation.



Attachment B

Candidate to be assessed: _______________________Date of Interview: ________________________

READING

DEFINITION: Understands and interprets written material, including technical material, rules, regulations, instructions, reports, charts, graphs, or tables; applies what is learned from written material to specific situations.

LEAD QUESTION: Describe the types of written materials you have read to perform your work. Or, Describe the types of charts, tables, graphs or diagrams you have read to perform your work.

PROBES: How have you applied the information to your work?

Describe specific behaviors observed/described:

(Write additional behavioral observation son the back of this page and on additional pages, as needed)

1- Low

2

3-Average

4

5-Outstanding

Reads routine correspondence or materials. Reads simple charts, tables, graphs, or diagrams.

Applies information to complete routine or simple tasks.

 

Reads moderately complex documents to obtain specific information. Reads moderately complicated charts, tables, graphs, or diagrams.

 

Reads complex materials that convey scientific, technical, or legal information. Reads highly complicated charts, tables, graphs, or diagrams.

Applies information to complete complex tasks.

Final Evaluation:

Printed Name:

Signature:

 

Attachment B

·       Reads and understands laws, regulations, and manuals on accounting and finance.

·       Reads and understands office memoranda and electronic mail, ledgers or journals, and financial spreadsheets.

·       Reads and applies accounting procedures and regulations.

·       Interprets fiscal/accounting records (i.e. cost proposals, financial trend analysis, audit reports, and fiduciary reports) for the purpose of advising management.

·       Reads loan applications and supporting documents to determine approval or denial.

·       Read and interpret charts and graphs which pertain to agency or financial institution status for trend analysis.

·       Reads a financial report to provide detailed summaries of auditing methodologies, account discrepancies and proposed recommendations, and corrective actions for an agency management.

·       Reads and interprets new financial/accounting statutes or regulations which impact an agency/corporation's mission.

 

Attachment B
Candidate to be assessed: __________________________Date of Interview: ________________________

Writing

DEFINITION: Recognizes or uses correct English grammar, punctuation, and spelling; communicates information (for example, facts, ideas, or messages) in a succinct and organized manner; produces written information, which may include technical material that is appropriate for the intended audience.

LEAD QUESTION: Describe the types of documents you have written. What types of information did you present and how did you organize what you wrote? Who was the audience? How did you adapt the writing to meet the audience's level of knowledge? What was the outcome?

PROBES: Describe the types of documents you have proofread or edited. What changes did you suggest? What was the outcome?

Describe specific behaviors observed/described:

(Write additional behavioral observation son the back of this page and on additional pages, as needed)

1- Low

2

3-Average

4

5-Outstanding

Composes documents or correspondence involving simple or routine information. Proofreads own work.

 

Composes documents or correspondence involving non-technical information. Proofreads or edits brief, non-technical writing of others.

 

Composes documents or correspondence involving complex or technical information, and adapts writing to the audience's level of knowledge.

Proofreads or edits complex or technical writing of others.

Final Evaluation:

Printed Name:

Signature:

Attachment B

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Example 5

·       Prepares correspondence in response to routine inquiries.

·       Communicates in writing updates of assignments to management.

·       Reviews outgoing non-technical correspondence and recommends changes.

·       Compose audit plan for financial institution or agency to outline review objectives, records and files to be reviewed and individual auditor review assignments.

·       Writes and edits new loan/grant application instructions

.

·       Develops information booklets for the public that convey non-technical instructions about financial information systems.

·       Composes responses to audit findings and recommendations.

·       Explains in writing the application of laws, regulations, standards, precedents, and practices covering one or more types of financial or accounting issues.

·       Prepares agency responses to requests from Congress regarding agency programs.

 

Attachment B
Candidate to be assessed: _________________________Date of Interview: ______________

Oral Communications

DEFINITION: Expresses information (for example, ideas or facts) to individuals or groups effectively, taking into account the audience and nature of the information (for example, technical, sensitive, controversial); makes clear and convincing oral presentations; listens to others, attends to non-verbal cues, and responds appropriately.

LEAD QUESTION: Describe a situation in which you have made an oral presentation to an individual or a group. What kind of information did you present and how did you organize it into a presentation? Who was the audience? Describe a situation in which you orally defended or explained a recommendation or idea. What kind of information did you present and how did you organize your material?

PROBES: Who was the audience? What was the outcome?

Describe specific behaviors observed/described:

(Write additional behavioral observation son the back of this page and on additional pages, as needed)

1- Low

2

3-Average

4

5-Outstanding

Communicates basic ideas or information clearly. Thoughts are fairly well organized. Listens to others and responds appropriately.

 

Communicates or explains moderately complex ideas or information clearly.

Thoughts are well organized. Listens to others, and recognizes potential

miscommunications.

 

Communicates, explains, or defends complex ideas or information clearly and

Adapts to the audience's level of knowledge. Thoughts are extremely well

Organized. Actively listens to others and clarifies communications.

Final Evaluation:

Printed Name:

Signature:

Attachment B

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Example 5

·       Orally explains nontechnical procedures to customers.

·       Verbally provides routine information to the public about a museum's hours of operation, location, or exhibition dates.

·       Provides oral reports of project status during weekly project team meetings.

·       Describes the organization's programs and services to individuals or groups within the community.

·       Orally presents a summary of new regulations affecting the agency/corporation's mission to the work unit.

·       Facilitates focus groups with members of the local community to elicit feedback on the plans for a proposed park.

·       Provides verbal guidance to individuals on new tax laws.

·       Informs industry of agency/corporation's research programs, goals, and technical achievements by presenting at national conferences.

·       Orally justifies controversial decisions, conclusions, findings, or recommendations to high-level management or policy officials.

 

Attachment B
Candidate to be assessed: ________________________Date of Interview: ________________________

Interpersonal Skills

DEFINITION: Shows understanding, friendliness, courtesy, tact, empathy, concern and politeness to others; develops & maintains relationships; may include effectiveness dealing with individuals who are difficult, hostile, distressed; relates well to people from varied backgrounds and situations; is sensitive to cultural diversity, race gender, disabilities, and other individual differences.

LEAD QUESTION: Describe a situation in which you had to deal with individuals who were difficult, hostile or distressed.

PROBES: What did you think about or want? What events lead up to this situation? Did you provoke it? When did this happen? Did you take the initiative to solve it? Who was involved? What specific actions did you take? What was the outcome or result?

Describe specific behaviors observed/described:

(Write additional behavioral observation son the back of this page and on additional pages, as needed)

1- Low

2

3-Average

4

5-Outstanding

Cooperates and works well with management, other employees, or customers during brief interactions.

Remains courteous when discussing information or eliciting nonsensitive or noncontroversial information from people who are willing to give it.

 

Cooperates and works well with management, other employees, or customers,

on short-term assignments.

Remains courteous when discussing information or eliciting moderately sensitive or controversial information from people who are hesitant to give it.

 

Establishes and maintains ongoing working relationships with management, other employees, internal or external stakeholders, or customers.

Effectively handles situations involving a high degree of tension or discomfort involving people who are demonstrating a high degree of hostility or distress.

Final Evaluation:

Printed Name:

Signature:

 
Attachment B

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Example 5

·       Familiarizes new employees with administrative procedures of the office.

·       Talks with customers while they are waiting and makes them feel comfortable.

·       Courteously informs customers of the steps needed to resolve discrepancies or complaints.

·       Establishes cooperative working relationships with others so they feel free to ask for advice and assistance.

·       Maintains contact and rapport with individuals when counseling them on coping with ongoing work and family pressures.

·       Patiently explains the benefits of controversial policy changes to upset individuals at a public hearing.

 

Attachment B
Candidate to be assessed: ___________________________Date of Interview: ______________________

Customer Service

DEFINITION: Works with different clients and customers to assess needs, provide information or assistance, resolve their problems, satisfy their expectations; knows about available products and services; is committed to providing quality products and services.

LEAD QUESTION: Tell me about a specific situation in which you dealt with a customer or client particularly well or poorly. This situation could have occurred either in your current job, or in volunteer, school-related, or after-school experiences.

PROBES: What was the outcome?

Describe specific behaviors observed/described:

(Write additional behavioral observation son the back of this page and on additional pages, as needed)

1- Low

2

3-Average

4

5-Outstanding

Has brief contact with customers with limited needs. Provides routine information about products and services. Provides standard products or routine services to customers.

 

Maintains relationships with customers with diverse needs.

Provides moderately technical or complex information about products and services.

 

Develops and maintains relationships with customers with diverse needs.

Provides technical or complex information about products and services.

Final Evaluation:

Printed Name:

Signature:

 

Attachment B

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Example 5

·       Notifies customer of minor changes in project schedule to keep customer informed.

·       Answers employee questions about financial procedures, providing them with an explanation of the accounting process.

·       Conducts customer surveys to gather information on product quality and customer satisfaction.

·       Responds to customer requests for specific information that is not covered by standard materials.

·       Holds focus groups with prospective customers to solicit input concerning the design of financial accounting systems.

·       Meets with different customer groups to plan program changes that incorporate new developments in the accounting/financial industry.

 

Attachment B
Candidate to be assessed: __________________________Date of Interview: ________________________

Teamwork

DEFINITION: Encourages and facilitates cooperation, pride trust, and group identity; fosters commitment and team spirit; works with others to achieve goals.

LEAD QUESTION: Describe a situation in which you worked in a team.

PROBES: What led up to the situation? What did you think about or want? Who was on the team and how was the team assembled? Were there any particular obstacles to the team’s effectiveness either within or outside the team? When did this happen? What was the outcome or result?

Describe specific behaviors observed/described:

(Write additional behavioral observation son the back of this page and on additional pages, as needed)

1- Low

2

3-Average

4

5-Outstanding

Cooperates with others to complete routine tasks. Attends team meetings, and shares information when asked.

 

Cooperates with others to establish priorities and develop work plans. Contributes to group discussions, and information sharing.

 

Coordinates group's work efforts and monitors progress toward attaining team goals. Facilitates or leads group discussions, and information sharing.

Final Evaluation:

Printed Name:

Signature:

Attachment B

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Example 5

·       Works with project team members to organize financial data in the form of spreadsheets, slides, charts, tables, etc. for a report or presentation.

·       Works with project team members to summarize major trends in financial programs.

·       Works with project team members to summarize progress in preparation for management or organizational briefing.

·       Works cooperatively with others on a financial evaluation in the preparation of financial data, audit reviews, etc. for management.

·       Work with project team members to develop implementation plan for new/revised accounting system.

·       Builds on the ideas of others to foster cooperation.

·       Identifies and emphasizes common goals to promote cooperation among project team members from diverse backgrounds and organizations.

·       Coordinates assignments for project team members based on their project interests, strengths, and competing workloads.

·       Directs and coordinates project team members in preparing financial/accounting or other community.

 

Attachment B
Candidate to be assessed: _______________________Date of Interview: ___________________________

Decision-Making

DEFINITION: Makes sound, well-informed, and objective decisions, perceives the impact and implications of decisions; commits to action even in uncertain situations, to accomplish organizational goals; causes change.

LEAD QUESTION: Describe a situation in which you made a decision that impacted your work and/or the work of others. What were the alternatives that you considered and what did you decide?

PROBES: Who was affected by your decision? What was the outcome of your decision?

Describe specific behaviors observed/described:

(Write additional behavioral observation son the back of this page and on additional pages, as needed)

1- Low

2

3-Average

4

5-Outstanding

Makes sound and timely decisions when a limited number of alternatives are

given.

Decisions involve simple or routine situations, and impact one's own work.

Makes most decisions with supervisory guidance.

 

Evaluates alternatives, and makes sound and timely decisions, when multiple

courses of action are possible. Decisions involve moderately complex issues, and impact the work and outcomes of a work unit.

Makes most decisions with supervisory review only at the final stage.

 

Identifies and evaluates alternatives, and makes sound and timely decisions, even in uncertain situations.

Decisions involve complex issues, and impact the work and outcomes of an

Organization.

Makes most decisions with little or no supervisory review.

Final Evaluation:

Printed Name:

Signature:

 

Attachment B

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Example 5

·       Reviews standardized grant application against instructions to ensure completeness.

·       Reviews accounting data to ensure correctness.

·       Determines if an individual has met loan/grant requirements through a review of application materials.

·       Applies rarely used policies to arrive at appropriate purchasing decisions.

·       Determines what agency/corporation information to release to the media at a press conference.

·       Makes decisions whether to halt an operation based on findings discovered during an evaluation or audit.

 

Attachment B
Candidate to be assessed: __________________________Date of Interview: ________________________

Reasoning

DEFINITION: Identifies rules, principles or relationships that explain facts, data or other information; analyzes information and makes correct inferences or draws accurate conclusions

LEAD QUESTION: Describe a situation in which you analyzed and interpreted information. What information were you given? Describe any guidelines you used.

PROBES: Explain how you arrived at a conclusion. What was the outcome?

Describe specific behaviors observed/described:

(Write additional behavioral observation son the back of this page and on additional pages, as needed)

1- Low

2

3-Average

4

5-Outstanding

Interprets or analyzes simple information to arrive at answers to problems

by applying rules involving a few steps.

 

Interprets or analyzes moderately complex information to make inferences or

draw conclusions by applying rules involving a moderate number of steps.

 

Interprets or analyzes highly complex information to discern patterns,

trends, and relationships and to draw conclusions by applying rules that

involve many steps.

Final Evaluation:

Printed Name:

Signature:

Attachment B

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Example 5

·       Determines if loan applications meet specified program requirements.

·       Applies guidelines to determine the classification of a new income/expense item based on its purpose.

·       Reviews training brochures to evaluate benefits and costs of different fiscal-related courses and to determine which course would best meet the work unit's needs.

·       Conducts detailed analysis of fiscal/accounting system to determine organizational compliance with laws and regulations.

·       Analyzes budget/fiscal data to determine the cost-effectiveness of a nationwide program.

·       Determines trends in economic indicators to forecast consumer spending.

 

Attachment B
Candidate to be assessed: _______________________Date of Interview: __________________________

Problem Solving

DEFINITION: Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations.

LEAD QUESTION: Describe a situation in which you identified a problem, and evaluated the alternatives to make a recommendation or decision. What was the problem and who was affected?

PROBES: How did you generate and evaluate your alternatives? What was the outcome?

Describe specific behaviors observed/described:

(Write additional behavioral observation son the back of this page and on additional pages, as needed)

1- Low

2

3-Average

4

5-Outstanding

Uses logic to identify alternatives to solve routine problems. Reacts to

and solves problems by gathering and applying information from standard materials or sources that provide a limited number of alternatives.

 

Uses logic to identify alternatives to solve moderately difficult problems.

Identifies and solves problems by gathering and applying information from a variety of materials or sources that provide several alternatives.

 

Uses logic to identify alternatives to solve complex or sensitive problems.

Anticipates problems, and identifies and evaluates potential sources of

information and generates alternatives to solve problems where precedents do not exist.

Final Evaluation:

Printed Name:

Signature:

Attachment B

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Example 5

·       Resolves simple discrepancies in fiscal documents, such as correcting line entries, debits, credits, etc.

·       Takes action by contacting vendor concerning goods that arrived damaged.

·       Solves fiscal questions by researching precedent case decisions.

·       Suggests review process for work reporting procedures to reduce errors due to the use of unauthorized codes.

·       Resolves claim by applying obscure laws or legal decisions.

·       Provides precedent setting solutions to accounting/fiscal that have not been encountered previously.

 

Attachment B
Candidate to be assessed: _________________________    Date of Interview: ____________________

Planning and Evaluating

DEFINITION: Organizes work, sets priorities, and determines resource requirements; determines short or long term goals and strategies to achieve them; coordinates with other organizations or parts of the organization to accomplish goals; monitors progress, and evaluates outcomes.

LEAD QUESTION: Describe a situation in which you planned, organized or evaluated a program, project, or assignment. Who was involved? Describe any guidelines you used to determine the steps you needed to take.

PROBES: What was the timeframe? What was the outcome?

Describe specific behaviors observed/described:

(Write additional behavioral observation son the back of this page and on additional pages, as needed)

1- Low

2

3-Average

4

5-Outstanding

Organizes work according to established project strategies.

Assesses own work products and monitors progress against assigned goals.

Coordinates work with other employees on the project team.

 

Establishes project requirements and priorities and develops strategies,

including coordinating work requirements and project resources, to achieve

short- or long-term goals.

Monitors and evaluates project activities and outcomes.

 

Establishes organization/work unit needs and priorities and develops

strategies to achieve multiple short-and long-term goals, including

directing and monitoring work, and determining and allocating resources.

Monitors and evaluates organization/work unit performance.

Final Evaluation:

Printed Name:

Signature:

Attachment B

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Example 5

·       Prioritizes and schedules own assignments for the upcoming week.

·       Develops a plan for collecting financial data in preparation for an evaluation or review.

·       Develops a strategy plan for conducting an evaluation or review, which includes goals, objectives, organization of data, interviews, format of report, etc.

·       Develops an agency-wide/corporation-wide plan for accounting/fiscal systems modernization.

·       Develops both immediate and long-range budgets for an entire agency/corporation.

 

Attachment B
Candidate to be assessed: _________________________    Date of Interview: ___________________

Self-Management

DEFINITION: Sets well-defined and realistic personal goals; displays a high level of initiative, effort, and commitment towards completing assignments in a timely manner; works with minimal supervision; is motivated to achieve; demonstrates responsible behavior.

LEAD QUESTION: Tell me about a situation in which you met a difficult goal to achieve or took an initiative to complete a difficult assignment.

PROBES: W hat did you do? What obstacles did you encounter? What did you think about or want? When did this happen? What was the outcome or result?

Describe specific behaviors observed/described:

(Write additional behavioral observations on the back of this page and on additional pages, as needed)

1- Low

2

3-Average

4

5-Outstanding

Adheres to goals and deadlines set by supervisor. Will take on new or additional responsibilities when asked. Applies limited effort, persistence, and autonomy toward achievement of goals.

 

Sets goals and priorities for own work to ensure deadlines are met.

Willingly accepts new or additional responsibilities and challenges.

Applies moderate effort, persistence, and autonomy toward achievement of goals.

 

Sets goals and priorities for own work and coordinates activities and time lines with others to ensure project goals and deadlines are met. Takes initiative and seeks new or additional responsibilities and challenges.

Final Evaluation:

Printed Name:

Signature:

Attachment B

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Example 5

·       Allocates time appropriately to complete assigned work by given deadline.

·       Attends word processing class that supervisor has made available to work group.

·       Works with supervisor to identify ways to enhance skills to improve performance.

·       Selects career enhancing activities from a list provided by supervisor to improve performance.

·       Joins professional organization to stay abreast and to maintain contacts.

·       Solicits feedback from co-workers on performance to identify needed areas of improvement.

·       Identifies and attends project management course and requests the responsibility of directing a new project.

 


Individual Overall Evaluation Form

Instructions: Translate your individual evaluations for each competency onto this form. Then make an overall evaluation of the applicant taking all of the information related to each competency into account. If requested by interview chair, record your overall evaluation on the scale at the bottom of the page. Take any relevant notes as you record individual competency evaluations to further support your overall evaluation.

Competency

Final Competency Evaluation

Customer Service

 

Interpersonal Skills

 

Self-Management

 

Teamwork

 

Decision Making

 

Flexibility

 

Oral Communication

 

TOTAL SCORE

 

Summarize the overall specific behaviors you observed/described:

(Write additional behavioral observations on the back of this page and on additional pages, as needed.)

Overall Evaluation of the Applicant (Complete overall evaluation only if requested by interview Chair.)

1 - Low

2

3- Average

4

5 - Outstanding

Overall, this applicant demonstrates competency lower than the expectation for this position.

 

Overall, this applicant demonstrates competency at the level expected for the position.

 

Overall, this applicant demonstrates competency far exceeding the level expected for the position.

Final Evaluation Score

 

Signature:

Panel Consensus Evaluation Form:

Instructions: Translate each Individual Evaluation for each competency onto this form. If all of the individual competency evaluations are within one rating scale point, enter the average of the evaluations in the column labeled Group Evaluation. If more than one point separates any two raters, a consensus discussion must occur with each party justifying his or her evaluation. The Panel Chair or his/her designee should take notes on the consensus discussion in the space provided. Any changes in evaluation should be initialed and a final evaluation entered for each competency.

Competency

Final Individual Evaluations

Group Evaluation

 

(1)

(2)

(3)

 

Customer Service

       

Interpersonal Skills

       

Self-Management

       

Teamwork

       

Decision Making

       

Flexibility

       

Oral Communication

       

Total Score

       

Consensus Discussion Notes:

Signature Panel Member 1:

Signature Panel Member 2:

Signature Panel Member 3:

 



Overall Evaluation Decision Form

Instructions: When requested for operational use, an overall evaluation based upon the Consensus Discussion and the individual overall evaluations from each interviewer must be determined. The Panel Chair should again record the Individual Overall Evaluations of the Candidate in the spaces provided below.

If all evaluations are within one rating scale point, enter the average of the evaluations in the column labeled Group Evaluation. If more than one point separates any two raters, a consensus discussion must occur with each party justifying his or her evaluation. The Panel Chair or his/her designee should take notes on the consensus discussion in the space provided. Any changes in evaluation should be initialed and the final overall evaluation entered in the space marked “Final Evaluation” at the bottom of the page.

The Panel chair should enter that evaluation by writing the appropriate score designation at the bottom of the page. All panel members should sign the form in the space provided. The final competency scores and/or the final total score can be used by the selecting officials to select a person for a particular position.

 

Individual Interviewer Evaluations

Panel Evaluation

Overall Evaluations

(1)

(2)

(3)

 

Consensus Discussion Notes:

Group Overall Evaluation

1 - Low

2

3 - Average

4

5 - Outstanding

Justification:

Final Evaluation and Recommendation:

Signature Panel Member 1:

Signature Panel Member 2:

Signature Panel Member 3:

Implementation Schedule
Work Breakdown StructureTask NameStartFinishProject Lead
8Transformation 7: P-19 - Pre-employment Testing for Patent Examiners06/03/0204/24/03J. Ng
8.1Draft new requirements (P-19)06/03/0206/21/02 
8.2Modify all vacancy announcements to identify oral and written communication skills required (P-19)06/24/0207/08/02 
8.3Explore alternatives to face-to-face interviews (P-19)06/24/0208/23/02 
8.4Implement revised "final" procedures for screening (P-19)10/01/0212/26/02 
8.5Baseline JARS Project - Planning Task (P-19)11/01/0211/27/02 
8.6Define JARS requirements (P-19)11/28/0212/24/02 
8.7Enhance JARS and system test (P-19)01/06/0304/03/03 
8.8Certification testing - JARS (P-19)04/11/0304/24/03 
8.9Complete implementation of automation requirements for alternatives to face-to-face interviews and an English Competency Component (JARS) (P-19)04/24/0304/24/03 
KEY: e Biz=online business system fees=fees forms=formshelp=help laws and regs=laws/regulations definition=definition (glossary)

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