In our relationship with a contractor who is providing personal services employees, is it appropriate for the government staff to do hiring interviews to screen potential candidates supplied by the company? This interview process is needed to judge personality/temperament, over and above the resume, KSA, and clearance screening process that determines basic qualifications. It is difficult to assess these aspects of each candidate without an in-person interview screening. However, the nuances of personal services contracts are not clear. We would be interested in the regulation/policy that permits this or prevents this. Thank you! db
This response is based on the information provided. We suggest you discuss with your contracting team, program manager and/or legal department as appropriate.
The FAR/DFARS/AFFARS says very little about the personal services selection process. Only the FAR speaks to a selection process at all.
"FAR 237.104 Personal services contracts.
(b)(ii) Personal services contracts for health care are authorized by 10 U.S.C. 1091.
(F) The contracting officer shall provide the qualifications of individuals responding to the notice to the commander of the facility for evaluation and ranking in accordance with agency procedures. Individuals must be considered solely on the basis of the professional qualifications established for the particular personal services being acquired and the Government’s estimate of reasonable rates, fees, or other costs. The commander of the facility shall provide the contracting officer with rationale for the ranking of individuals, consistent with the required qualifications.
(G) Upon receipt from the facility of the ranked listing of applicants, the contracting officer shall either—
(1) Enter into negotiations with the highest ranked applicant. If a mutually satisfactory contract cannot be negotiated, the contracting officer shall terminate negotiations with the highest ranked applicant and enter into negotiations with the next highest.
(2) Enter into negotiations with all qualified applicants and select on the basis of qualifications and rates, fees, or other costs."
The FAR realizes review of qualifications is necessary. It is silent on a one-on-one interview process. The FAR allows for sound judgment in deciding a proper course of action.
"FAR 1.102 Statement of guiding principles for the Federal Acquisition System.
(d) The role of each member of the Acquisition Team is to exercise personal initiative and sound business judgment in providing the best value product or service to meet the customer’s needs. In exercising initiative, Government members of the Acquisition Team may assume if a specific strategy, practice, policy or procedure is in the best interests of the Government and is not addressed in the FAR, nor prohibited by law (statute or case law), Executive order or other regulation, that the strategy, practice, policy or procedure is a permissible exercise of authority."
Based on the FAR guidance we see no problem in conducting interviews. We suggest the unit allow in-person or video conference interviews to afford all otherwise qualified candidates an opportunity to earn the position, unless the government is willing to pay for travel of all candidates to meet for a personal interview.