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National Council of

Social Security Management Associations

TSC Connection

Monday, February 8, 2016


You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it…the right solution is a continuous search for the right solution. Dr. Ichak Adizes


What does it take to hire dozens at one time?


As the Customer Service Representative (CSR) role within the Social Security Administration (SSA) becomes more complex and data-driven, managers with hiring authority  have adjusted requirements for their job openings. The CSR hired today will most likely have a college degree, where in the past this position had been primarily held by workers with high school diplomas. The hiring process is almost as painful as the firing process. The hiring manager has limited information based on the data entered into USAjobs. Working the list of qualified candidates and scheduling interviews  is a massive undertaking; using several panels comprised of management to interview candidates while maintaining office operations. When faced with well-rehearsed interviewees who often times appear to be just as good face to face as they were on paper, the hiring official is led to make a judgment call regarding an applicant’s true ability to perform.  


The CSR job requires a specific skill set; being able to learn policy and procedure and apply it accurately to all the programs SSA administered while demonstrating a commitment to public service. This is no small feat! The hiring managers take a great deal of time with each interviewee using behavior based questions, which reveal not only the candidate’s ability to comprehend but how they would respond to real-life scenarios. The interviewer attempts to ascertain from the applicant how they could go above and beyond to ensure the caller’s request is handled while clearly depicting the responsibilities, and requirement of being tethered to a headset for 7.5 hours of your workday. Now consider multiplying this times 800+ referrals from HR which are narrowed down to 500+ who are actually interviewed. Not to mention the onboarding of 100+ new hires plus their subsequent training.   Is it any wonder why the last minute rush for hiring within our agency is so overwhelming?


By Dorie Pedalino

New York Region


Wrong password.