United States Department of the Interior

Washington, D.C. 20240



PDF Version





Subject: Streamlining Business Practices Through the Use of Standard Position Descriptions (SPDs) and Consistent Qualification Determinations



Sec. 1 What is the purpose of this Order? This Order:


a. Clarifies that Servicewide Standard Position Descriptions (SPDs) are a national standard not subject to Regional reclassification, and


b. Establishes policy to ensure consistency and transparency when making qualification determinations for current U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees.


Sec. 2 What are the requirements for using an SPD?


a. Servicewide SPDs describe the work for a number of positions whose duties and the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) required to perform the work are basically the same and, therefore, are suitable for application throughout the Service. Human Resources (HR) Specialists and hiring managers must not modify the major duties and KSAs in SPDs, which allow for a more efficient and streamlined process in filling an organization’s staffing requirements. Hiring managers should use SPDs whenever:


(1) The selected SPD describes at least 80% of the major duties and responsibilities required of a subordinate position in the organization,


(2) Position management review, as described in the 225 FW 1, supports the SPD in the assigned organization, and


(3) Managers/supervisors sign and send a copy of the of the SPD document to their servicing HR office.


b. When the hiring manager determines that an SPD accurately describes the major duties and the KSAs required to perform the work described in the position, the HR Specialist must use the SPD without modification or further classification. 


Sec. 3 When can an SPD be amended or changed for requirements specific to the organization assigned?


a. HR Specialists may amend an SPD without further classification to include requirements such as operating motor vehicles (i.e., automobile, truck, or boats), wearing the Service uniform, and similar duties that do not change the nature of the overall requirements.


b. HR Specialists or hiring managers must not amend an SPD to assign:


          (1) Law enforcement or firefighter duties and responsibilities and the corresponding KSAs to perform them. The HR Specialist must establish a separate PD that         clearly defines the differences.


(2) A Collateral Duty Safety Officer (see 240 FW 2).


Sec. 4 What is the policy for qualification determinations for a Service employee who applies for a position in the same series or for similar work? The consistent interpretation and application of the Office of Personnel Management qualification standards within the Service is critical to ensuring fair hiring practices; therefore, it is Service policy that, generally, any Service employee deemed qualified for a job series by any Service HR office will be presumed qualified for that job series Servicewide. 


          a. If a current Service employee is deemed “not qualified” for a position in the same series or one with similar duties as the one he/she currently occupies or occupied in the past 5 years, a second level of concurrence by a Supervisory HR Specialist is required. This policy applies to qualification determinations for positions we advertise as well as those that are for internal movement (e.g., reassignment, change to lower grade, etc.).


          b. If the Supervisory HR Specialist also determines that the employee is not qualified as a result of this second level of review, the initiating HR Specialist must give the employee a written explanation of why he/she is not qualified. This written explanation must be provided in addition to the standard status notification generated by USAStaffing.


Sec. 4 When is this Order effective? This Order is effective immediately. It remains in effect until we incorporate it into 225 FW 1 and 223 FW 3 of the Service Manual, or until we amend, supersede, or revoke it, whichever comes first. If we do not incorporate it into the Service Manual, amend, supersede, or revoke it, the Order will expire 18 months from the date of signature.



                                                            /sgd/ Stephen Guertin

                                                                Deputy Director


Date: July 29, 2015


For more information about this policy, contact the Division of Human Resources. For more information about this Web site, contact Krista Bibb in the Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs.



 Directives Home

PDM Web sites: Centralized Library of Servicewide Policies | FWS Forms | PPM Services

Privacy, Disclaimer and Copyright Information | Information Quality Act

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Home Page | Department of the Interior  | USA.gov  | About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  | Accessibility  | Privacy  | Notices  | Disclaimer  | FOIA