A Deeper Look at the Government Hiring Process: The Supplemental Materials

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What are supplemental materials? Why do I have to submit them with my job application? How are they rated?

If you’ve ever applied to a government job, you’ll probably be the first to say it is an overwhelming process. Not only does it take weeks or months before you hear about your status, but you don’t understand any of the terms they use.

WHAT are Supplemental Materials?

Supplemental materials are any additional documents that must be submitted at the time your application is due. They can also be called a statement of qualifications, a work sample, a narrative response, or a behavioral inventory form. The nice thing about supplemental materials is that they are all collected at the same time and are ready to be screened without requiring the candidates’ physical presence at a testing site.

WHY are Supplemental Materials used?

Hiring managers can request that applicants complete supplemental materials so that they have more information to use to screen applicants without requiring the candidate pool to physically appear. If written communication skills are critical for a position, hiring managers may ask for all candidates to submit a writing exercise. They may ask that you write about a topic, your experience, or simply to submit a writing sample.

HOW are Supplemental Materials assessed?

Supplemental materials can be rated by either the personnel analyst that screened your application or a panel of raters who are familiar with the job you applied for or the subject area. These raters follow standardized rating criteria that gives you points for how you responded. If your response demonstrates that you have a high level of skill in the competencies they’re assessing, you’ll attain a higher score than someone who doesn’t (or someone who spent very little effort in working on their supplemental materials). The points you receive on this can get you on an eligible list if it was the only exam component. If there are additional exam components, your score will either be combined with how you do on the other components, or your score will determine if you will be invited to participate in the other components.

The opportunity to rise among hundreds of applicants is huge when the job requires that you submit supplemental materials. The majority of applicants don’t put much time and energy in them and so you have an incredible chance to stand out just by spending a couple extra hours up front in the hiring process.

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