United States Department of State
An Equal Opportunity Employer
How to Apply
Announcement No: SA-2015-0001
Position Title: Diplomatic Security: FOREIGN SERVICE SPECIAL AGENT
Open Period: 9/22/2015 - 9/28/2015
Salary: $42,798 - $57,517
Promotion Potential: FE-MC
Hiring Agency: U.S. Department of State
Duty Locations: Various locations around the world, WW
For More Info: DS Recruitment, 571-345-3783, DSRecruitment@state.gov
Potential applicants are urged to read this entire vacancy announcement to ensure they meet all of the requirements for this position and they fully understand the special circumstances involving a career in the Foreign Service before applying.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens, at least 20 yrs old to apply and at least 21 yrs of age to be appointed. All candidates must be appointed to the Foreign Service prior to the month in which they reach 37 yrs of age (preference eligible veterans excepted).
Full-Time Permanent after being tenured in the Foreign Service by a Foreign Service Tenure Board.
FP-06/4 -- $42,798 - $57,517 per annum (This figure does not include the 16.14% Overseas Comparability adjustment for overseas assignments or locality pay for domestic assignments.)
For more information, please visit https://careers.state.gov/faqs/faqs-wiki/foreign-service-salary-matching-pay-tables-danger-pay-overseas-moving-expenses-and-taxes or view the Foreign Service Pay Scales at http://www.state.gov/m/dghr/pay/.
Additional Benefits: Tax-Free Housing overseas; Tax-Free Education Allowance for eligible dependents, etc. (You may also find information about benefits for Foreign Service Specialists online at http://careers.state.gov/specialist/benefits.)
Number of Vacancies:
The Department of State is developing a rank-order Register to fill a number of Foreign Service Special Agent (SA) vacancies. The specific number to be hired will depend on the needs of the Foreign Service in any given year and is subject to change.
Selected candidates will report to Washington, DC, for approximately seven months of specialized training and orientation. Approximately three months of that training will occur at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Brunswick, Georgia. Orientation and additional training will be based in the Washington, DC area and West Virginia. Initial assignments will be made in accordance with the needs of the Foreign Service. During their careers, Special Agents must serve both overseas and domestically, for assignments of one to three years in duration.
The U.S. Department of State is the lead foreign affairs agency formulating and implementing the President's foreign policies. Department employees represent the interests of the United States throughout the world. The Department carries out this mission at 275 embassies and consulates around the world, offices in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, and other locations in the United States.
Special Agents manage a range of security programs on a worldwide basis. In addition to living and working overseas, this includes assignments at Diplomatic Security field offices in eight major U.S. cities as well as at 22 resident offices.
All applicants, in order to be considered for selection, must:
Special Agents (SA) of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) are sworn federal law enforcement officers who are responsible for the security of Foreign Service personnel, property, and sensitive information throughout the world. A substantial portion of a DS Special Agent’s career is spent living and working abroad. DS Special Agents are also responsible for the protection of the Secretary of State, certain foreign dignitaries during their visits to the U.S., and others as designated by the Secretary of State. Major activities include protective services, management of security programs for Foreign Service posts,criminal investigations, background investigations, and providing testimony in legal proceedings relating to investigations, in addition to administrative, training, and liaison functions.
THE DIPLOMATIC SECURITY SPECIAL AGENT CAREER
The Department of State is seeking Diplomatic Security Special Agents to serve in the Foreign Service domestically, and at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide. Candidates must agree to live and to serve at any U.S. diplomatic or consular post abroad for a significant portion of their career, as well as in the Washington, DC area or at field offices in such cities as Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, or San Francisco, according to the needs of the service. As members of a diplomatic team, Special Agents not only help to accomplish the mission of the Department of State, but also represent the United States to the people of other nations. The Foreign Service is more than a job – it is a career.
A career in the Foreign Service involves uncommon commitment and occasional hardships along with unique rewards and opportunities. A decision to enter this career must involve unusual motivation, and a firm dedication to public service. In addition to living and serving in the United States, as with all Foreign Service positions, living and serving overseas is mandatory. Many overseas posts are in small or remote countries where harsh climates, health hazards, and other discomforts exist, and where American-style amenities frequently are unavailable. However, careers in the Foreign Service offer special rewards, including the pride and satisfaction of representing the United States, and protecting U. S. interests at home and abroad.
Diversity is one of America’s greatest strengths. The Foreign Service strives for diversity to show the best face of America abroad. In representing the United States to the world, the Foreign Service aims to reflect and respect our rich heritage and varied backgrounds in its workforce.
Diplomatic Security Special Agents, depending upon assignment, are responsible for Department of State security policies, provision of a range of security services, management of security operations, supervision of subordinate staff, and the actual performance of some, or all, of the following functions:
INITIAL CAREER DEVELOPMENT ASSIGNMENTS
All Special Agents must complete approximately seven months of initial training at the Diplomatic Security Training Center (DSTC) in the Washington, DC area, West Virginia and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Brunswick, Georgia. The training program develops and tests proficiency in job-related subjects that include criminal law, federal court procedures, use of firearms, physical fitness, personal defensive tactics, driving skills, emergency medical procedures, protective security techniques, and criminal investigations. Proficiency is measured through a series of scored practical exercises, as well as subject matter-specific and comprehensive written examinations. Failure to successfully complete any portion of the training program is grounds for separation.
Special Agents normally will be assigned to one of eight domestic Field Offices for their first three years of service (including training), or possibly to a smaller Resident Agent Office. There may be occasions when new Agents could be assigned to other domestic units, or sent directly overseas. Needs of the service sometimes require that domestic assignments be shortened for re-assignment to a Regional Security Office at an overseas post.
The needs of the service will always have a significant bearing upon personnel assignments; that is especially true in a Special Agent’s initial assignments. While it is possible that a Special Agent may serve in domestic positions for the initial two tours of duty, it is equally possible that the needs of the service may require assignment abroad much earlier than expected. After Special Agents have gained several years of experience, and are tenured, they have a greater opportunity to express their preference for an onward assignment in domestic or overseas positions. Special Agents are expected to serve a substantial portion of their careers living and working abroad.
Domestically, Special Agents may be assigned to provide protective services for the Secretary of State, and other U.S. officials, or visiting foreign dignitaries. Domestic Special Agent duties can entail long hours and extended periods of travel, including overseas travel. Domestic assignments include criminal investigations related primarily to the enforcement of statutes protecting the integrity of U.S. passports and entry visa documents. Special Agents may also conduct background investigations for individuals desiring employment with the Department of State, or updating the security clearances of Department of State employees. Throughout their careers, Special Agents can expect to work substantial overtime, and occasional irregular schedules that require duty on weekends and holidays.
When assigned abroad, Special Agents serve as security program managers at U.S. diplomatic or consular posts. At Foreign Service posts, Diplomatic Security Special Agents are referred to as Regional Security Officers, and are responsible for the administration of a broad range of security services to protect Foreign Service personnel, facilities, operations, and information against foreign intelligence, criminal, and terrorist activities. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security also conducts overseas investigations for the Department of State and other federal agencies. Diplomatic Security Regional Security Officers are assigned responsibilities on a regional basis, and may serve Foreign Service posts in several countries, which may require frequent travel.
INITIAL SALARY AND SALARY INCREASES
Initial salary at appointment will normally be at Foreign Service grade FP-6, step 4. Exceptions may be made to increase the number of steps based upon such factors as a master’s degree in a related field (e.g. criminal justice), or a law degree, and/or other directly related specialized experience. However, maximum salary is limited to the step within grade FP-06 that the candidate is qualified for at the time of appointment. No appointments are made above the FP-06, step 14 level ($57,517 base pay). Salaries are determined at the time a final offer of employment is made.
During the first three weeks of training, a new Special Agent receives Overseas Comparability Allowance, after which, he or she is assigned to Washington, D.C. or one of the field offices throughout the U.S. and will receive the locality pay for the city to which they are assigned.
Link to Foreign Service Pay Scales: http://www.state.gov/m/dghr/pay/.
All service/employment calculations are based upon a one year minimum. One step may be added for each 12 months of total creditable (and documented) experience, rounded down. Part-time experience or employment will be pro-rated but will not be credited if it totals less than 12 months.
Current USG employees enter at the step that is nearest to their current base pay up to a maximum of FP-06 step 14. No appointments are made above the FP-06, step 14 level ($57,517 base pay).
Directly related experience may be credited only as follows:
Upon the successful completion of all training, salaries will be increased (25%) to include Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP). Upon relocating overseas, salaries may be adjusted to include cost-of-living allowance, post differential, danger pay, and/or other allowances specific to posts of assignment. The actual differences in pay will be determined by the location of assignments.
Special Agents will be administratively promoted from FP-6 to the FP-5 level after 12 months of satisfactory performance, and to FP-4 after an additional 18 months of satisfactory performance. To proceed beyond the FP-4 level, Special Agents must receive tenure, and are considered for promotion annually in competition with their peers.
QUALIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS
Special Agent applicants must be U.S. citizens, and must have a bachelor’s degree at the time of appointment, as stipulated in the educational requirements section. Male applicants must be in compliance with the Selective Service Act (if necessary). Candidates are required to qualify with firearms during initial training and periodically thereafter. Applicants must be willing to use and carry firearms throughout their career. Applicants must be fit for strenuous physical exertion and able to pass physical fitness tests. Applicants must possess a valid U.S. driver’s license, and be able to pass specialized driving courses during initial training.
Agent candidates should start working now to get into the best physical condition possible – what we call Physical Readiness. The “satisfactory” scoring level for the minimum Physical Readiness standards can be found at http://careers.state.gov/uploads/3e/90/3e90a964446694be7052fdbd0414d8cd/PRT-Test-Standards.pdf. Candidates will want to be able to consistently exceed these requirements. Candidates may also want to check with their doctor to ensure they are healthy enough to begin a more intense exercise program, and get themselves where they need to be while ensuring they do not injure themselves.
Applicants must successfully complete all aspects of the seven month initial training program for their candidacy, and their employment, to be continued; failure to pass any aspect of the initial training, including physical fitness tests, is grounds for separation.
Applicants for a Special Agent position must not have been convicted of any felony charge. In accordance with the Lautenberg Amendment to the Gun Control Act, a person convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence may not possess a firearm. Applicants must be able to certify that they have not been convicted of any such violation, and that they are not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms.
The initial qualification review is conducted to determine if the applicant meets the minimum qualifications for the position. Some of the minimum qualifications are discussed in the following paragraphs. Most of those qualifications are summarized on the minimum qualifications check sheet at the end of this Announcement.
Candidates cannot be appointed prior to their 21st birthday. Candidates must be within nine months of receiving their bachelor’s degree in order to apply; specifically, they must receive their degree prior to June 28, 2016 (exceptions will not be granted). Special Agent candidates must be appointed prior to their 37th birthday. The Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act authorizes the Secretary of State to prescribe qualifications for Special Agents, including entry age. Those qualifications remain in effect until changed by the Secretary of State. The age 37 maximum age requirement does not apply to preference-eligible veterans.
Prior to appointment, candidates for the Special Agent position must undergo a thorough background investigation to determine eligibility for a TOP SECRET (TS) security clearance, and the candidate’s suitability for appointment to the Foreign Service. In addition, a determination must be made of a Special Agent candidate’s eligibility for a TOP SECRET / SENSITIVE COMPARTMENTED INFORMATION (TS/SCI) access. The Special Agent candidate and, with few exceptions, all immediate family members (spouse, parents, siblings, children, or cohabitants) must be citizens of the United States in order for the candidate to qualify for SCI access.
A candidate that already holds a current Top Secret clearance, but does not hold SCI access, will require an upgrade to SCI access before he or she can report for training or duty.
The background investigation will also determine the extent to which applicants can provide credible testimony. In particular, applicants must disclose information that could be used to impeach their character, including: (a) any finding of misconduct that reflects upon the truthfulness or possible bias of the applicant, including a finding of lack of candor during an administrative inquiry; (b) any past or pending criminal charge brought against the applicant; and (c) any credible allegation of misconduct that reflects upon the truthfulness or possible bias of the applicant that is the subject of a pending investigation. Applicants whose background contains impeachment information of the kind described may be unqualified for the position.
As is the case with other federal criminal investigators and protective security personnel, Special Agents must perform duties in the field that are physically demanding. Special Agents must be willing and able to meet these physical demands in high-stress, life and death situations. The Special Agent’s life, and the lives of others, may depend upon the Agent’s physical capabilities and conditioning. For this reason, Special Agent candidates must satisfy medical suitability and physical fitness requirements that are more rigorous than those of most other professions.
Specifically, candidates must pass a thorough medical examination, which includes a cardiovascular stress test conducted or authorized by the Department of State’s Office of Medical Services. In order to continue their candidacy, each candidate must receive a Department of State class one medical clearance (unlimited clearance for worldwide assignment). This means that candidates must be generally healthy and free of medical conditions that might require specialized or follow-up medical care that cannot be obtained worldwide.
Special Agent candidates must meet certain minimum physical standards, including various tests for vision in each eye, with and without correction, as well as audio-metric standards for hearing in each ear (use of a hearing aid is not permitted), sufficient to satisfactorily perform an Agent’s duties. For example, uncorrected distant vision must be 20/100 or better in each eye and corrected to 20/20 in one eye and 20/30 or better in the other eye. Candidates must also pass color vision and depth perception tests.
Additionally, the Office of Medical Services must determine that a candidate is medically able to meet the numerous, and often arduous, physical demands that are inherent in, and are a necessary part of, the essential functions of the job. For instance, Special Agents are required to perform protective security assignments with physical demands that may include, but are not limited to, intermittent and prolonged periods of running, walking, standing, sitting, squatting, kneeling, climbing stairs, quickly entering and exiting various vehicles, enduring inclement weather, as well as carrying and using firearms.
Special Agents conduct raids, make arrests, and perform other law enforcement or related functions that may require running, jumping, kneeling, squatting, dodging, lying prone, as well as wrestling, restraining, and subduing suspects, attackers, or detainees. Agents must be able, if necessary, to conduct security inspections that may require crawling under vehicles and other low clearances or in tight spaces such as attics and crawl spaces.
Sometimes it may be necessary for an Agent to assist with installing or maintaining security countermeasures, which might involve lifting heavy objects and working on ladders or rooftops. Agents must be skilled at driving and maneuvering a motor vehicle defensively or evasively in a variety of situations, and at various speeds.
Special Agent candidates will be trained in many of the above skills, which include firearms training, defensive tactics, how to physically restrain a suspect, and specialized driving techniques. Agent candidates must be able to participate in, and complete all aspects of their training. Any physical condition that would cause the candidate to be a hazard to himself/herself or others, including those they are protecting or placing under arrest, is potentially disqualifying.
Candidates must be willing and able to travel extensively throughout the world using whatever means are available. Traveling and assignments abroad may involve working in remote areas where traditional comforts and medical facilities are limited. Special Agents may be required to travel to locations of civil unrest, where conditions are potentially hostile, and where performance of duties is conducted under hazardous circumstances.
Prior to appointment, applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree from a nationally accredited college or university. The accrediting institution or association must be one of those recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Equivalent degrees from resident foreign colleges or universities are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Applicants currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree may apply up to nine months preceding their graduation. Graduation must be within nine months of the closing date of this application, specifically prior to June 28, 2016 (exceptions will not be granted). Final acceptance will be predicated on receipt of the degree prior to appointment. It is also required that an official transcript that confirms award of the degree is placed in your file prior to appointment. In addition, some experience requirements are identified below.
WORK EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS
In addition to the educational requirement, applicants for the Special Agent position must have at least one year of work experience and/or academic achievements that reflect progressively increasing levels of responsibility. Each application will be examined on its own merits, to determine if the work experience requirement has been met.
Examination of work experience will be to identify examples of knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience in interpersonal skills, resourcefulness, initiative, leadership, judgment, emotional stability, flexibility, motivation, functional skills (competence in the job), ability to assume responsibility, and trustworthiness.
Specialized experience in such areas as the administration of security programs, the conduct of investigations, threat assessments, service in a law enforcement agency, and service in the U.S. military are all highly desirable. However, it is not essential to have those specific experiences, or ability in a foreign language, to be considered for the DS Special Agent position.
SUBSTITUTION OF EDUCATION FOR EXPERIENCE
Applicants with 18 credit hours of graduate level study (beyond the bachelor’s degree level) may substitute that academic achievement for a year of work experience. Applicants who do not have a minimum of 18 credit hours of graduate study may substitute the following educational achievements for one year of work experience: 2.75 GPA (or above) for the bachelor’s degree and two internships totaling at least four months duration.
FOREIGN SERVICE SELECTION PROCESS
The Foreign Service selection process may be lengthy, multi-staged, and due to the limited number of appointments available, highly competitive. It commences upon receipt of the candidate's application materials and will continue until the candidate is appointed from a list of eligible candidates (a process which can sometimes take as long as a year or more), or the candidacy is terminated.
HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED
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 initially evaluated through an online application screening. Those applications which rank at or above the determined cut score will be further evaluated to confirm that they meet the minimum qualification requirements and submitted all required documentation. Some candidates will be invited to participate in additional assessments in which they will be further evaluated through written and oral assessments.
Those who have successfully gone through the entire selection process will be required to:
Once all clearances are received, candidate names are added to 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 the clearance process, is available on our website at http://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/specialist/selection-process. Selection for this position will be made only from among those candidates possessing the best qualifications.
Application materials become the property of the Department of State and will not be returned. 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 a Foreign Service Special Agent in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
COMPETITIVE PROMOTION AND WITHIN-GRADE INCREASES
Following initial assignments as an entry-level employee, the Diplomatic Security Special Agent bids on subsequent domestic or overseas assignments every one to three years. Assignments are made in consultation with the employee's Career Development Officer, taking into consideration the needs of the Department, the particular interests / skills of the employee, career development requirements, family circumstances, and individual preferences.
All employees are evaluated, in writing, at least once a year. The employee is an active participant in this process. The evaluations form the basis for promotions, which are made by a board of more senior employees. In addition to the formal training program, Special Agents advance in their career by performing well and taking progressively more management responsibilities in their assignments. In general, Foreign Service employees with documented satisfactory performance are eligible to receive a within-grade increase annually up through step 10 and biannually from steps 10 through 14.
All Foreign Service Special Agent career candidates are considered for tenure after they have acquired two years of experience in the Foreign Service as a career candidate and have been administratively promoted to the FP-04 level. A tenuring board recommends tenure based on demonstrated ability to perform satisfactorily along with 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 within the prescribed time frame of four years is grounds for separation.
PROCEDURES FOR APPLYING
APPLICANTS MUST COMPLETE AND SUBMIT ONLINE THEIR RESPONSES TO THE INITIAL ONLINE SCREENING / EXAMINATIONS. THE SCREENING EXAMINATIONS MAY BE FOUND ON OUR WEBSITE AT https://corp.performancefit.com/testcenter/dos/login.jsp.
The online process consists of a 25 minute online essay and a 55 minute multiple-choice screening questionnaire. Applicants who are successful in the online screening will be immediately directed to upload their transcripts, narrative statement of interest, resume, and the minimum qualifications checklist. Applicants have until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time on the closing date of this announcement (September 28, 2015) to complete the application process and supply all required documentation outlined in this vacancy announcement. Application packages MUST be complete, submitted in accordance with the instructions in the online screening and received by the closing date in order to receive further consideration. Application packages that are mailed or faxed directly to the agency will not be accepted. Qualified applicants who attain competitive scores that are at or above the cut line will be invited to take further assessments with Department of State representatives.
Technical assistance with your online application can be obtained at DOShelpdesk@pdri.com during the open announcement period from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings time Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings time on the weekends.
NOTE: The following five requirements apply ONLY to those applicants who successfully complete the online screening / examinations:
For applicants at or above the age of 37, you must also submit the following proof of veteran’s preference to receive consideration:
Specifically, if claiming 5 point veteran’s preference, you must provide a copy of DD form 214 which must include character of service (e.g. Member 4 or Service 2 copy) or Statement of Service/Proof of Service which must include service dates and character of service. If claiming 10 point preference, you must submit a VA letter or disability determination from a branch of the Armed Forces (or documentation of Purple Heart, if applicable) AND a SF-15 (Application for 10 point veteran preference). For additional details on how Veteran’s Preference is applied in the Foreign Service, please click here.
Submitted materials become the property of the Department of State and will not be returned.
FOR THOSE CANDIDATES INVITED TO ADDITIONAL TESTING
The three hour assessment process with State Department representatives begins with a brief questionnaire followed by an interview; each of these steps is scored. Applicants with scores in the competitive range proceed to a writing skills examination which is also scored. A competitive score on the writing skills examination allows the applicant to proceed to a personal assessment conducted by the Board of Examiners.
Applicants who are not successful under this Vacancy Announcement are not eligible to reapply until one year after the closing date of this Announcement or September 28, 2016 (exceptions will not be granted). No applications are accepted for this position unless there is an open Vacancy Announcement.
Note: The process of examining thousands of candidates in about 20 U.S. cities, in addition to the Washington, DC area, can take 6 months to a year. Every effort is made to contact candidates one month in advance of an examination being offered in a particular city.
Candidates who successfully complete the entire competitive selection process will be required to obtain a:
Once all clearances are received, the names of cleared candidates are placed on a rank-order Register. Candidates may 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 web site, www.careers.state.gov. Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications.
Failure to adequately substantiate education and work experience by virtue of documentation and verification will result in termination of your application for the position.
TEST SITE INFORMATION
Completed applications from candidates who were successful in the online application process and who scored at or above the determined cut score are reviewed to ensure that their application package and documents meet the minimum qualifications for the position.
Only a very limited number of those applicants are invited to an assessment that takes approximately three hours. Teams from the Board of Examiners will conduct the assessments.
The assessment consists of four phases. A two phase Qualifications Evaluation Process consisting of (1) a 20 minute multiple choice questionnaire followed by (2) a 25 minute oral interview. If successful in those two steps, the next phase (3) is a 45 minute written exercise. If successful in that step the candidate proceeds to (4) a 50 minute oral assessment conducted by an examiner and a subject matter expert. Each step is part of a highly competitive, strictly points-based, process.
Various phases of this process are scored using the following dimensions: written and oral communication, motivation, composure, interpersonal skills, judgment, resourcefulness, initiative and leadership, adaptability/flexibility, perspective and breadth of knowledge, cultural awareness and experience, stability and adjustment, analytical and synthesizing ability, planning and organizing.
The oral assessment is administered by a member of the Board of Examiners and a Diplomatic Security Special Agent subject matter expert. Some of the questions posed may address current events, motivation, interpersonal skills, objectivity and integrity as well as some hypothetical questions concerning the Diplomatic Security Special Agent position.
We are currently planning to conduct examinations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area as well as in about 20 cities throughout the United States during the next several months.
Travel to the assessment location is at the expense of the applicant.
Executive Branch agencies are barred by US Code section 5 USC 3303 as amended from accepting or considering prohibited political recommendations and are required to return any prohibited political recommendations to sender. In addition, as mandated by 5 USC 3110, sons and daughters of federal employees cannot be granted preference in competing for these employment opportunities.
THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE IS COMMITTED TO EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND FAIR AND EQUITABLE TREATMENT FOR ALL WITHOUT REGARD TO RACE, COLOR, NATIONAL ORIGIN, SEX, RELIGION, AGE, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, DISABLING CONDITION, POLITICAL AFFILIATION, MARITAL STATUS, OR PRIOR STATUTORY, CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED ACTIVITY. THE DEPARTMENT PROVIDES REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS TO APPLICANTS WITH DISABILITIES. APPLICANTS REQUIRING A REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION FOR ANY PART OF THE APPLICATION OR HIRING PROCESS SHOULD SO ADVISE THE DEPARTMENT. ALL DECISIONS FOR GRANTING REASONABLE ACCOMODATIONS ARE MADE ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS. REQUEST FOR REASONABLE ACCOMODATIONS MUST BE MADE IN WRITING NO LATER THAN TWO WEEKS PIROR TO THE ASSESMENT PROCESS.
All potential applicants are strongly urged to read this entire vacancy announcement to ensure that they meet all of the requirements for this position, and that they fully understand the special circumstances involving a career in the Foreign Service before applying.
TEST SITE INFORMATION
Candidates who successfully complete the online screening (written exercise and multiple-choice questions) may be invited to participate in additional testing (if the online score was at or above the cut line).
The oral assessment process includes some written requirements and takes approximately three hours. Teams from the Board of Examiners will visit various U.S. cities to conduct assessments. Candidates selected for oral examinations should consider which city (from the list below) in which they wish to be tested. Expenses, including travel for testing, are the candidate’s responsibility. Candidates unable to be tested prior to the opening of a new Vacancy Announcement will have to reapply under the terms of that Announcement.
Over a period of about eight months, selected candidates will be advised of the proposed date, time, and place for Board of Examiner’s assessments in various cities. Candidates unable to meet with a team in a scheduled city may request that their assessment be scheduled in the Washington, DC area.
We intend to conduct assessments in the following cities: Albuquerque, NM; Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Hampton/Williamsburg area, VA; Houston, TX; Kansas City, MO; Las Vegas, NV; Miami, FL; Nashville, TN; New York City, NY; Orlando, FL; Parsippany, NJ; Portland, OR;San Francisco, CA; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA; St. Paul / Minneapolis area, MN; Tucson, AZ and the Washington, DC area. (These sites are subject to change.)
The assessment consists of written examinations and oral assessments. Various phases of this process are scored using the following dimensions: written and oral communication skills, motivation, composure, interpersonal skills, judgment, resourcefulness, initiative and leadership, adaptability/flexibility, perspective and breadth of knowledge, cultural awareness and experience, stability and adjustment, analytical and synthesizing ability, planning and organizing. Questions posed to applicants may address current events, motivation, interpersonal skills, objectivity and integrity, as well as some technical hypothetical questions concerning the Special Agent position.
The assessment process is comprised of four phases: (1) A 20-minute written qualifications questionnaire; (2) A 25-minute oral qualifications interview; (3) A 45-minute writing skills examination; and (4) A 50-minute oral assessment administered by a member of the Board of Examiners and a member of the Diplomatic Security Service. Candidates must receive a competitive score at each phase to go on to each successive phase.
Reminder: expenses, including travel for testing, are the candidate’s responsibility.