Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Human Resources Management (PA-HR) 2: Recruitment and Selection

The organization hires enough appropriately qualified people to meet the demand for services and support achievement of the agency’s mission.
2020 Edition




The agency's human resources practices attract and retain a competent and qualified workforce that is capable of supporting the agency's mission and strategic goals.
Note: Please see the Personnel Records Checklist for additional guidance on this standard.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed administration and management infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
  • Policies and/or procedures for: 
    1. Recruitment and selection
    2. Background checks
State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
  • No Self-Study Evidence
All Agencies
  • Sample job descriptions from across job categories or positions 
County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Agency leadership
    2. HR Director
    3. Supervisory personnel
    4. Direct service personnel
    5. Review personnel records
State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Regional Director
    2. Regional HR personnel
    3. Supervisory personnel
    4. Direct service personnel
    5. Review personnel records

Fundamental Practice

PA-HR 2.01

Job descriptions:
  1. state the required credentials, core competencies, essential functions, and responsibilities for each position or group of like positions; and
  2. are reviewed and updated regularly to evaluate their continued relevancy against the needs of the agency’s programs and consumers.
NA The agency is not responsible for developing job descriptions.
Examples: Core competencies may include leadership competencies and associated behaviors as well as the competencies needed to implement and sustain agency-wide initiatives (e.g. evidence-based practices, practice models, policies, etc.). 

Examples: Credentials can include, for example:
  1. education;
  2. training;
  3. relevant experience; and
  4. any available state registration, licensing, or certification for the respective disciplines.

PA-HR 2.02

Recruitment and selection procedures include:
  1. utilizing selection criteria that are comptency based, aligned with job descriptions, and reflect the agency’s mission, practice model, and desired outcomes;
  2. notifying personnel of available positions; 
  3. verifying references and credentials; 
  4. utilizing pre-screening tools to assess suitability to the position; 
  5. providing applicants with a written job description;
  6. giving final candidates the opportunity to speak with currently-employed personnel;   
  7. retaining hiring records in accordance with legal requirements; and
  8. using standard interview questions that comply with employment and labor laws.


 In regards to element (a), when implementing agency-wide initiatives, selection criteria should be updated to reflect the skills and abilities that will be needed to effectively implement new practices or policies with fidelity, including those characteristics that are difficult to train for such as empathy, good judgment, personal ethics, willingness to learn, and knowledge of the field. 


In regards to element (g), personnel who interview prospective employees must receive training on both permissible and impermissible categories of interview questions persuant to applicable employment and labor laws.
Examples: The retention of hiring records, which can include postings or other advertisements, applications, and interview notes, shows consistency in recruitment and hiring decisions, and protects the agency in the event of a complaint.

PA-HR 2.03

Personnel that will be responsible for training, coaching, and mentoring new hires have access to interview data, such as the results of pre-screening tools, to tailor these efforts to the existing competencies and personnel development needs of new personnel. 

Fundamental Practice

PA-HR 2.04

The agency has a mechanism for tracking completion of mandated reviews of state criminal history records and civil child abuse and neglect registries for new employees, consultants, volunteers, and student interns who will:
  1. work in residential programs;
  2. provide direct services to, or be alone with, children, the elderly, or other persons determined by the agency to be vulnerable or at-risk; or
  3. work with sensitive or confidential information such as personnel files and case records.


The agency should consult with legal counsel about any concerns regarding the appropriate use of background information.


The agency is not required to conduct background checks for licensed staff if the agency has verified that background checks are conducted as part of the licensing process and satisfy the agency's internal background check policy and procedures. The agency should assess whether there is any risk associated with not conducting background checks on personnel not expressly addressed in the standard, including periodic re-investigations of current personnel, and consult with legal counsel, as needed.