Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Foreign Service Human Resources Officer - U.S. Dept. of State

United States Department of State
An Equal Opportunity Employer
How to Apply
Announcement No: HRO-2015-0001
Position Title: Foreign Service Human Resources Officer
Open Period: 10/30/2014 – 11/19/2014
Series/Grade: FP - 0201 04
Salary: $53,534 - $78,616
Promotion Potential:FP-01
Duty Locations: MANY Vacancies in Throughout the World
For more information: HR/REE, 202-203-5160,

Who May Apply

Important: All potential applicants are strongly urged to read this entire Vacancy Announcement to ensure that they meet all the requirements before applying.
Applicants must be United States Citizens and at least 20 years old to apply. They must be at least 21 years of age to be appointed. By law, all career candidates must be appointed to the Foreign Service prior to the month in which they reach age 60.
No applicant will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service under sections 607 (Retirement for Expiration of Time-in-Class), 608 (Retirement Based on Relative Performance), 610 (Separation for Cause), or 612 (Termination of Limited Appointment) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu of separation under these provisions. In addition, no candidate will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service for failure to receive a career appointment under Section 306 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu thereof. Specialists separated pursuant to these provisions may not re-apply to be a Foreign Service specialist in the same skill code, but may apply for another skill code (or to be a Foreign Service generalist).

Duration Appointment

Permanent after being tenured in the Foreign Service by the Tenure Boards.

Marketing Statement

The Department of State maintains a rank-order list of eligible candidates to fill entry-level Foreign Service Human Resources Officer vacancies. The specific number to be hired depends on the needs of the Foreign Service.
Grade and Starting Salary Range: FP-04, $53,534-$78,616. (Base salary only, please “click here” for additional salary and benefits info).


The U.S. Department of State is the lead foreign affairs agency formulating and implementing the President’s foreign policy and representing the interests of the United States throughout the world. The Department carries out this mission at over 270 embassies and consulates around the world, offices in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area and other locations in the United States.
Human Resources Officers serve at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide. Candidates must agree not only to serve at any U.S. diplomatic or consular post abroad, but also at the Department of State in Washington, D.C.; in New York at the United States Mission to the United Nations; at the Regional Financial Service Center in Charleston, South Carolina; and the Florida Regional Center in Ft. Lauderdale, according to the needs of the Foreign Service.
A career in the Foreign Service involves uncommon commitments and frequent hardships, as well as unique rewards and opportunities. As a member of a diplomatic team, you will help to accomplish the mission of the Department of State and also be a representative of your country to the people of other nations. A decision to enter this career must involve unusual motivation and a firm dedication to public service.
Careers in the Foreign Service offer special rewards, including the pride and satisfaction of representing the United States and protecting U.S. interests abroad. This career path may appear attractive: worldwide travel, government-paid housing, competitive pay and generous benefits. In some instances, though, working in a Foreign Service career can be very challenging and sometimes dangerous. We are looking for motivated individuals with sound judgment and leadership abilities who are not averse to working under extremely challenging circumstances, such as a military coup or a major environmental disaster. Many overseas posts are in small or remotely located countries where harsh climates, health hazards, and other discomforts exist and where American-style amenities frequently are unavailable. There could be sporadic power outages, unreliable internet service, etc. Health and sanitation standards may be below U.S. standards. Personal security frequently becomes an area of concern, particularly in countries where there is political unrest or terrorist activity. Family members are not permitted at an increasing number of posts. However, careers in the Foreign Service offer special rewards, including the pride and satisfaction of representing the United States and protecting U.S. interests abroad.
Upon entry into the Foreign Service and after completion of formal training, usually in the Washington, D.C., area, Human Resources Officers will normally be assigned overseas. Both the first and second overseas assignments, which are directed by central personnel, will usually be two years in length. If the initial tour is in Washington, the assignment will be for one year. Subsequent assignments will be made through an open process based on the needs of the Foreign Service, career development requirements and individual preferences, and will normally be two or three years in length. Service at an unaccompanied post should be expected at some point in a career.
The Foreign Service strives to maintain diversity in the representation of gender, geographic region, race and ethnicity within its work force.

Key Requirements:

All applicants, in order to be considered for selection, must:
  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be at least 20 years old to apply and at least 21 years of age to be appointed. By law (Foreign Service Act of 1980), all career candidates (except for preference-eligible veterans)** must be appointed to the Foreign Service prior to the month in which they reach age 60.
  • Be available for worldwide service.
  • Be able to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
  • Be able to obtain an appropriate medical clearance for Foreign Service work.
  • Obtain a Suitability Clearance, based on a review of the candidate's record for conduct in accordance with suitability standards defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more details see
** If 59 1/2 years of age or over and claiming a 5 pt. veteran's preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214. If claiming a 10 pt. veteran’s preference, in addition to the DD-214, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15. (Required if preference eligible.) Points will be taken into consideration only AFTER a successful oral assessment.
NOTE: Individuals who have been found unsuitable for employment by a Department of State Final Review Panel for Suitability within the previous two years are ineligible to apply (unless the individual was a candidate for a Special Agent position with the Diplomatic Security Service and the decision to deny eligibility was based on the candidate’s inability to fulfill the unique duties of that position and not based on suitability standards).

Major Duties

Foreign Service Human Resources Officers (HROs) serve at many of the approximately 270 Foreign Service posts throughout the world, at Department of State locations in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area; the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York; the Regional Financial Service Center in Charleston, South Carolina; and at the Florida Regional Center in Ft. Lauderdale. HROs manage U.S. and foreign national human resources programs for the Department of State and participating U.S. Government agencies. Responsibilities cover a broad range of HR functions to include recruitment and staffing, employee training and development, performance management and appraisal, employee relations, salary and benefits administration, employee policies and procedures, labor relations, position classification, career counseling, and the supervision of the Human Resources Office staff.
Specific Duties and Responsibilities are listed below.
  1. Manages U.S. employee human resources issues, including:
    1. Contribution to mission development - serves as expert advisor of HR policies, oversees preparation of HR's contribution to the Mission Resource Request, develops HR's input to special projects, substitutes for management section officers as needed, responds to interagency internal policy changes, develops workload projections and balances competing HR demands.
    2. Recruitment, training and development - serves on the Board of Examiners’ panels, develops mentoring programs, trains HROs, serves as a career development officer, develops overseas training programs, maintains American Eligible Family Member (AEFM) recruitment programs, participates in selection of AEFMs, establishes AEFM training programs and administers intern and seasonal hire programs.
    3. Performance management and appraisal - implements yearly evaluation report process, counsels and advises American staff, advises on grievance procedures, utilizes strategic planning processes and utilizes computer technology.
    4. Employee relations and recognition - establishes working relationships, develops overseas training programs, develops orientation programs, provides employment information to family members, coordinates post language program, manages the U.S. awards program, serves as EEO coordinator, addresses EEO concerns and ensures timely preparation of required documentation.
    5. U.S. employee policies, procedures and salary and benefit administration - provides and interprets federal benefits information, provides and interprets assignment information, administers and advises on programs and policies, prepares submissions for American positions, manages diplomatic immunities and accreditation and implements internal controls.
    6. Manages the HR office - manages HR contracts, protects information from unauthorized disclosure and prepares HR budget.
  2. Manages Locally Employed (LE) Staff human resources issues, including:
    1. LE Staff recruitment, training and development - balances U.S. and local labor laws, researches local compensation plans, recommends local compensation plan, prepares and coordinates national security submissions, administers recruitment program, administers State Department training program, coordinates training programs, develops and implements mentoring program and develops and implements intern program.
    2. Performance management and appraisal - manages LE Staff performance evaluation and counsels and advises LE Staff.
    3. LE Staff employee relations and recognition - assesses and improves morale, manages the award program, provides employee relations advice and supervises HR office staff.
    4. LE Staff policies and procedures - analyzes organizational issues, promotes a fair position classification system, updates LE Staff handbook, serves as main point of contact on legal matters and manages disciplinary and grievance actions.


The education, work experience and other qualifications evaluated for evidence of the following knowledge, skills, abilities and other requirements have been identified as important to successful job performance as a Human Resources Officer based on extensive job analysis research. Not all of these attributes need to be met by a candidate; the attributes will be used as a set to evaluate candidates.
  1. Knowledge of financial and budgeting procedures, contracting, classification procedures, physical security methods, general concerns affecting U.S. employees and families overseas, U.S. culture and customs, U.S. government and economy, U.S. federal ethics regulations, crisis management support, inspection procedures, professional counseling techniques, employee evaluation procedures, awards procedures, employee pay and benefit programs, grievance and disciplinary procedures, general management principles, personnel management principles, leadership principles, mentoring techniques, training techniques, performance metrics, change management techniques, equal employment opportunity (EEO) law, written communication formats, specialized English language usage, information resources, legal terminology, cross-cultural communication, computer functions and Internet functions.
  2. Specific skills in running meetings, motivating teams, resolving conflicts, operating HR communication networks, statistics, professional interaction and networking, giving constructive feedback, public speaking and writing.
  3. General skills in active listening, coordination, service orientation, monitoring, social perceptiveness, persuasion, time management, speaking, critical thinking, reading comprehension, active learning, instructing, complex problem solving, judgment and decision making.


Candidates will be evaluated on their total background including experience, education, awards, training, and self-development as it relates to the position. Part-time work experience will be prorated. Candidates will be evaluated initially through a file review; those who are successful will have a personal interview, a writing exercise and an online subject matter test. Those who are successful in the selection process and obtain their medical, security and suitability clearances are put on a rank order register. Candidates can improve their standing on the register by obtaining additional points for qualifying military service and/or proven language ability as determined by the Foreign Service Institute. More information on these two points, as well as on the clearance process, is available on our website, Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications.
In cases where education is substituted for experience, copies of college transcripts, diplomas, etc. must be provided as part of the online application, by the application’s closing date. Failure to adequately substantiate education and work experience by virtue of documentation and verification will result in termination of your application for the position of Human Resources Officer.


All Human Resources Officer candidates must meet the following requirements:
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in business administration, human resources or other related field and at least three years of specialized work experience in human resources or six years of specialized work experience in human resources.
All specialized work experience must have been of a progressively responsible nature in the field of human resources. Experience must include at least three of the eight fields mentioned under specialized experience below and must have been gained during the last ten (10) years.
Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet Federal job requirements for this position if the applicant can show that foreign education is comparable to education received in the United States. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide such evidence when applying for Federal jobs. To view how foreign education is evaluated for federal jobs please visit
Specialized experience is professional work in the fields of human resources management, public administration or general management support which demonstrates that the applicant has acquired, and is able to apply, a combination of specific knowledge, skills and abilities appropriate to a Foreign Service Human Resources Officer position. Examples are:
  1. Experience in a human resources office in a government agency or in the private sector with responsibilities for program planning and policy development.
  2. Experience in recruitment, qualifications examination and placement of professional and/or support staff personnel.
  3. Experience in position classification/job evaluation.
  4. Experience in wage and benefits surveys and analysis.
  5. Experience in the administration of employee benefits programs such as health benefits, life insurance and retirement systems.
  6. Experience in labor relations and equal employment opportunity issues in government or business.
  7. Experience in employee career development and training.
  8. Experience in performance management/employee evaluations.
In addition to meeting the requirements above, ideal applicants will be creative thinkers possessing excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communications skills and a strong customer service orientation. Experience in the international human resources field and/or experience managing a diverse workforce is a plus.

How to Apply

We are now currently accepting applications for this position. Apply now at
To apply, applicants must first register on USAJOBS and create an online federal resume. Your online resume must be typed or you may cut and paste an existing resume into the space provided. Once you have completed the registration process, select the "Apply Online" button to the right of the vacancy ( This button will transfer you to Gateway to State. Please note that the deadline to submit completed applications is November 19, 2014.
Follow the "Apply Online" instructions at Gateway to State by answering self-assessment questions for the specific job to which you are applying. When completed, the information you provided at USAJOBS and the answers to the Gateway to State questions will become your application. Your registration, resume, and responses to questions will be used to evaluate your qualifications for this job. In addition, you may need to fax or upload some information to complete your application package.
Please note: Your application is automatically saved as you proceed through it. You may interrupt your application process and return to it until you submit it.
Due to the volume of applications, fax lines can become jammed and documents may not successfully attach to your application on the final days/hours of the application announcement. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CANDIDATE TO VERIFY THAT REQUIRED DOCUMENTS HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFULLY ATTACHED TO THE APPLICATION PRIOR TO THE CLOSING DATE. Applicants can do so by going back into your application and verifying that documents have been attached. Applications received without required documents will be deemed ineligible. You are encouraged to submit your application early, and to go back into your application to confirm that your documents have been attached.
If you are having technical difficulty with the application process, please contact the helpdesk by calling 1-866-656-6830 or by emailing

Required Documents

As part of the online application, applicants will be asked to submit the following required documents:
A. Supplementary Questionnaire
Purpose: The purpose of the Supplementary Questionnaire is to allow an opportunity to describe examples of your experience, which relate to the skills listed below and best show your ability to handle various aspects of personnel/human resources management work. The information you provide will be used to help structure your oral examination/interview, should your application proceed to the interview phase. The Supplementary Questions are included inside the online application. Please note that this section is mandatory and is an important part of the evaluation process.
Instructions: During the application process, you will be asked to individually address each of the numbered items listed below, limiting your responses, to 2000 characters or less for each item. Describe how you have used the following abilities and/or knowledge, referencing the source from which the work-related experience was acquired. Your examples can be drawn from any part of your experience but they must describe things that you, personally, have done. You should compose your replies carefully, as one of the skills required of an experienced human resources officer is the ability to think logically and to write clearly and concisely.
  1. Describe what you consider to be the best example of your ability to manage and supervise a staff involved in human resources/personnel management work for an organization(s) with diverse human resource requirements and objectives. (Managerial Skills)
  2. Give an example of when you had to announce an unpopular decision to a diverse workforce (including perhaps upper levels of management as well as staff at all levels). Describe how you handled it and the reaction you received. (Interpersonal Skills)
  3. Give an example which best illustrates a situation where you had to plan and organize work under the pressure of tight deadlines, rigid time frames and difficult circumstances. (Planning and Organizing Skills)
  4. Describe how you have used your ability to develop and present human resources issues and analytical information both orally and in writing. (Intellectual Skills)
  5. Describe how you have used your skill and experience in the use of personal computers and standard office applications, i.e., word processing, spreadsheets, SharePoint, and databases, in your work. (Substantive Knowledge)
  6. What experience(s) have you had living and working in a multicultural environment, either overseas or in the U.S. (Cultural Adaptability)
B. A Narrative Autobiography (two-to-three page typed equivalent – no more than 5000 characters) which discusses your:
  • personal background,
  • general comments on your work experience,
  • personal interests, hobbies, and travel, and
  • motivation for joining the Foreign Service.
The narrative autobiography is included inside the online application.
Fax or Upload College Transcripts
All applicants with college degrees must submit their college transcripts. These documents must be either faxed or uploaded before the closing date of this announcement, which is midnight eastern time.
If faxing, applicants will be prompted to print out a fax coversheet once they have successfully submitted their application.
If you are selected for an interview you will be asked to bring your official college transcripts to your oral assessment.
Note: You may also upload your document; however, only the most recent uploaded document is attached to your online application, all other uploaded documents do not come through. Please choose carefully which document you wish to upload. Keep in mind the only document we need is a college transcript showing either an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree.

What to Expect Next

Once an applicant completes and submits an application, the status will appear as “referred” by USAJobs and your application is forwarded to the U.S. Department of State. Shortly after the vacancy announcement’s closing date, all “referred” applicants will be notified via e-mail from the U.S. Department of State of the status of their applications. Please note that the “referred” status on USAJobs will not be updated at any time throughout the entire evaluation process. It is not uncommon for several months to pass before the evaluation panels complete a full review of an applicant’s file. Due to the high volume of Foreign Service Specialist applicants and the thorough evaluation process, we ask all applicants to remain patient and await communication. We recommend adding the U.S. Department of State emails ( as an approved sender. Selected candidates will be notified of an oral assessment date and time at the Department of State, in Washington, D.C. Any potential scheduling conflicts can be handled at that time.
Please note that all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the oral assessment are the responsibility of the candidate.


Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, generous paid leave, and an unprecedented chance to see the world and experience different cultures. Overseas benefits include paid housing or a housing allowance and paid education for dependent children between K-12. Additional details are on our website at


Initial Salary:
Newly hired Human Resources Officer career candidates are assigned at the FP-04 level. The specific step (or salary) within that level will be determined at the time a firm offer of employment is made. Steps may be awarded based on such factors as the level of graduate education and directly related specialized experience.
Current Federal Civil Service employees (or former employees) will also be assigned at the FP-04 level. The specific step (or salary) within the FP-04 level will be set at the nearest possible salary rate of their current (or previous) grade.
Human Resources Officer career candidates are considered for tenure (career status) after they have acquired a minimum of two years experience in the Foreign Service. A Tenuring Board recommends tenure based on demonstrated ability to perform satisfactorily and the potential to perform at higher levels. If tenure is not granted during the first review, a second review will be made one year later. Failure to achieve tenure in the prescribed timeframe of four years is grounds for separation.
Competitive Promotion and Within-Grade Increases:
Human Resources Officer career candidates are eligible to compete for promotion to FP-03, in line with Department of State policies. Subsequent promotions are also competitive. The highest possible competitive promotion is to grade FE-OC. Due to the limited number of yearly promotion opportunities, promotion panels select promotees based on published criteria and quality of performance. Performance is evaluated annually, in writing, by the supervisor.
In general, Foreign Service employees with documented satisfactory performance are eligible to receive a within-grade step increase annually up through step 10 and biannually from step 10 through step 14 until you reach the salary cap.
Initial assignment will be to the Department of State in Washington, D.C. for orientation and training. This is generally followed by an overseas assignment of two years. While less likely, the initial tour might be in Washington and last one year only. Additional training in language or other required skills (depending on onward assignment) might further extend the time spent in Washington. Foreign Service Human Resources Officers normally spend most of their careers abroad, moving to new assignments at intervals of two to three years.

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