Human Resources Officer
United States Department of State
An Equal Opportunity Employer
How to Apply
Announcement No: HRO-2016-0003
Position Title: Foreign Service Human Resources Officer
Open Period: August 31, 2016 – September 14, 2016
Series/Grade: FP – 0201 – 04
Salary: $54,610 – $80,197
Duty Locations: MANY Vacancies in throughout the world, Washington, D.C.
Position information: Full-time – Permanent after tenure granted by a Foreign Service Specialist (FSS) Tenure Board.
Must be a U.S. citizen. Potential applicants should read the entire announcement to ensure that they meet all of the requirements and understand a Foreign Service career.
Applicants may not reapply for one year after the previous application for the same position.
If a State Department Suitability Review Panel denied suitability in the last two years, you may not apply (except Diplomatic Security Special Agent (SA) candidates whose denial was based solely on the unique requirements for SAs.)
The U.S. Department of State, our country’s lead foreign policy agency, provides a rich international experience whether at home or abroad, and opportunities to become responsible leaders.
Each day, our employees make a difference as they contribute to our global society and defend and advance our country’s interests and values. They work on the business of diplomacy and high priority issues that impact the safety, security, and prosperity of our world – human rights, environment, energy, food security, public health, and technology – all while experiencing a unique career.
Our talented workforce reflects and champions all of our strengths and diversity – personal, professional, and educational. We offer a workplace that values and rewards leadership, collaboration and innovation, and personal and professional development.
Foreign Service (FS) Human Resources Officers (HRO) serve at many of the Department of State posts throughout the world, in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, and Regional Centers in Charleston, South Carolina, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and Frankfurt, Germany.
HROs are responsible for the U.S. Direct Hire (USDH) and, overseas, Locally Employed (LE) staff human resources (HR) programs for the Department of State and participating U.S. government (USG) agencies.
Responsibilities include managing a range of HR functions including:
- Recruitment and staffing;
- Performance management, appraisal, and training and development;
- Salary and benefits administration;
- Employment policies and procedures;
- Workforce planning and position classification.
An HRO must adhere to the highest standards of integrity, dependability, attention to detail, teamwork and cooperation while accepting the need to travel, to live overseas, and when necessary, to live away from family.
The Department of State is developing a rank-order list of eligible hires for a limited number of FS Specialist (FSS) vacancies based on the needs of the Department.
To learn more about the Department of State and a career as an FSS, please visit us at https://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/specialist/career-tracks.
- Occasional Travel
- An FSS generally spends the majority of his/her career assigned to the Department of State’s overseas missions and at times, lives away from family and/or in difficult or isolated conditions. Selected applicants will be notified of an Oral Assessment (OA) requirement in Washington D.C. For the selected applicants, all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the OA are the sole responsibility of the applicant.
- After completing orientation and initial training in Washington, D.C., an FSS usually is assigned to two consecutive overseas tours, each two years in length, directed by the Department. After the initial two tours, assignments will be for periods of one to three years overseas or in the United States.
- Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.
- Be able to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
- Be able to obtain an appropriate Foreign Service Medical Clearance.
- Be able to obtain a favorable Suitability Review Panel determination.*
- Be at least 20 years old and at least 21 years old to be appointed.
- Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).**
Some of the specific duties and responsibilities of HROs for both USDH and LE staff include, but are not limited to:
HR policies and laws – serves as expert advisor on HR policies, including USG and host country laws and regulations as well as treaty obligations and workforce planning.
Recruitment, training and development – develops mentoring and training programs, maintains recruitment programs and hiring programs, and administers intern, student and seasonal hire programs.
Performance management and appraisal – responsible for performance evaluation processes, counsels on disciplinary and performance issues, and advises on grievance procedures.
Employee relations and recognition – develops orientation programs, provides employment information to family members, coordinates post language program, manages awards programs, addresses Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) concerns, and ensures timely preparation of required documentation.
Liaison with the Department on conduct issues.
U.S. employee policies, procedures, salary and benefit administration – provides federal benefits information, administers and advises on programs and policies, prepares requests for changes to USDH positions, and manages diplomatic immunities and accreditation.
LE staff policies, procedures, salary and benefit administration – balances U.S. and local labor laws, researches local compensation plans, recommends local compensation plan, and administers LE recruitment program.
Manages the HR office – Protects personal and other information from unauthorized disclosure, manages office resources, and provides direct supervision of the HR office staff.
Specialized Experience is work in the field of Human Resources management, which demonstrates that the applicant has acquired, and is able to apply, a combination of specific knowledge, skills and abilities appropriate to a FS HRO position.
To qualify as Specialized Experience, the duties must be at least 60% as a Human Resources professional with responsibilities for work force planning and policy development.
Applicants must demonstrate that their job-related experience has been at progressively increasing levels of performance and responsibility through such indicators as promotions, raises, increases in duties and responsibilities, and organizational and employee impact.
Examples of Specialized Experience include, but are not limited to:
- Recruitment and staffing – recruitment, qualifications examination and placement of professional and/or support staff personnel;
- Staff training and development;
- Performance management and appraisal – an organization’s employee performance management and employee evaluation program;
- Employee relations;
- Salary and benefits administration – wage and benefits surveys and analysis, and administration of employee benefits programs such as health benefits, life insurance and retirement systems;
- Employee policies and procedures;
- Labor relations and laws – US and local laws including EEO;
- Position classification; and
- Supervision of HR staff.
In addition to meeting the requirements above, applicants must possess excellent interpersonal and communications skills and a strong customer service orientation.
Experience as a Human Resources professional in a multicultural, diverse, or international environment and applicants with certification(s) from professional human resources societies, associations, or organizations are preferred.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA)
Education, work experience and other qualifications will be evaluated for evidence of the following knowledge, skills, abilities and other requirements that have been identified as important to successful job performance as a HRO 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.
Classifying positions and ability to effectively evaluate requests for position classification or reclassification actions.
Administrating employee performance evaluations programs, awards programs, pay, allowance and benefits programs. Use of metrics and analytics to improve systems as well as routine operations.
Understanding of disciplinary and grievance procedures, and ability to offer counseling and advice to staff on such matters.
Understanding of labor issues, procedures and laws affecting wages, benefits, and ability to work cooperatively in a multicultural environment with host country government and staff.
Communicating in cross-cultural and multi-cultural environments both in written and oral formats.
Protecting Personally Identifiable Information, and ability to document its safeguarding and security to ensure the integrity of information and prevent its being comprised.
Providing crisis management support and ability to use counseling techniques to assist with managing hazardous or stressful working environments, including potential evacuations from host country.
Adhering to the highest ethical standards and U.S. laws such as EEO act, the Privacy Act, and USG ethics statutes.
Specific skills in running meetings, motivating teams, resolving conflicts, statistics, professional interaction and networking, giving constructive feedback, public speaking and writing.
General skills in active listening, coordination, service orientation, social perceptiveness, persuasion, time management, speaking, critical thinking, reading comprehension, active learning, instructing, complex problem solving, judgment and decision making.
Applicants must demonstrate a strong command of the English language to include grammar, spelling and punctuation. FSS must consistently meet a high standard for English, both written (overall structure as well as grammar, spelling and punctuation) and spoken (overall structure as well as delivery, clarity and succinctness).
Education and Specialized Experience Minimum Requirements
At the time of application, applicants must possess:
High school diploma or equivalency and a minimum of five years Specialized Experience in the past 10 years; or
Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in human resources personnel, or labor relations from an accredited program and a minimum three years Specialized Experience in the past 10 years.
You must submit a copy of your high school diploma or equivalency certificate or your university transcript(s) with your application. If you do not submit a copy of your high school diploma, equivalency certificate, or transcripts to support your educational achievements, you will not be given credit.
Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted for the application process. It is essential that your transcript include your name, the school’s name, the degree and date awarded. A transcript missing any of the key elements above will not pass the minimum qualifications and the candidacy will be ended. Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order to be credited towards qualifications. Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the education requirements if you can show that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying. Click on the link for a list of accredited organizations recognized as specializing in interpretation of foreign education credentials.
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. Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications. Part-time work experience will be prorated.
To preview questions please click here.
You can review our benefits at: https://careers.state.gov/work/benefits/fss
Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, paid leave, a chance to see the world and experience different cultures. Overseas benefits include tax-free housing and tax-free education allowance for dependent children between K-12 overseas.
For information on FS salary, please visit https://careers.state.gov/faqs/faqs-wiki/foreign-service-salary-matching-pay-tables-danger-pay-overseas-moving-expenses-and-taxes.
*The Department of State Suitability Review Panel and standards are defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more information please visit: https://fam.state.gov/
**For more information about Veteran’s Preference and how it is applied in the FSS Selection Process, please visit: https://careers.state.gov/faqs/faqs-wiki/are-veterans-given-hiring-preference-
No applicant will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service under sections §607, §608, §610 or §611 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu of separation under these provisions. In addition, no applicant will be considered who has previously been separated 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.
An FSS separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section §306 may not re-apply to be an FSS in the same skill code, but may apply for another skill code (or to be a Foreign Service Generalist).
Executive Branch agencies are barred by 5 US Code 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 US Code 3110, relatives of federal employees cannot be granted preference in competing for these employment opportunities.
It is the policy of the federal government to treat all of its employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination whether discrimination is based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, membership in an employee organization, age, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors.
The Department of State provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodations for any part of the application or hiring process should so advise the Department at ReasonableAccommodations@state.gov, within one week of receiving their invitation to the oral assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.
View the previous announcement at USAJOBS.gov.
You should submit your application early, not waiting for the deadline, as application packages must be complete, submitted, and received by the closing date to be considered. There are no exceptions.
- From this Vacancy Announcement, click on “Apply.” Go to the USAJobs Log In screen and log into your USAJobs account or follow the link and instructions to create an account.
- Follow the USAJobs Application Process and provide your required USAJobs federal online resume. USAJobs will transfer you to the State Department agency online application site. Follow the instructions and answer the online questions. Your Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest responses must be completed in the online application. You may save your work and can return to the application from USAJobs at any time prior to the deadline.
- The application system allows up to four methods to submit required documentation: Transfer documents from a USAJOBS portfolio; upload documents from your computer; resubmit documents from a previous application; or fax. If you are submitting documents by fax, you must follow the fax directions, and generate and use the fax coversheets for your set(s) of documents.
- After you attach all of your required supporting documentation, answer all the required application questions, and complete the application steps, please review the entire application packet, including the links for your submitted documents.
- Confirm and submit your application package, which will be used to evaluate your qualifications for this position.
Application Submission Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date of this announcement to complete the application process and successfully submit any documentation required in this Vacancy Announcement.
Application packages must be complete and received by the closing date to be considered. There are no exceptions.
You should submit your application early, and may make changes as often as needed, up until the closing date of the announcement. We strongly recommended that you go back into your application and verify that your documents are attached.
If you are having technical difficulty with the application process, please contact the Monster Help Desk by calling 1-866-656-6830 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Help Desk is available Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm Eastern Time.
For more information on the FSS hiring processes, please visit our FAQs at https://careers.state.gov/faqs. If you have any questions regarding FS careers, please visit our Careers.State.Gov site and post your question(s) on the appropriate Forum in the Connect section: https://careers.state.gov/connect/forums.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all required documents are uploaded and the application is fully completed before the closing deadline of this announcement. Any missing required documents or incomplete applications will result in your application not being considered further.
- USAJOBS Resume Builder is the résumé format that is accepted for this Vacancy Announcement.
- Completed online application including the completed required Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest narratives in the online application.
- Uploaded/faxed all required supporting documentation including proof of educational achievements, certifications, professional licenses, or completed forms as required in this Vacancy Announcement to qualify for this position.
- If claiming a 5 pt. veteran’s preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214. If claiming a 10 pt. veteran’s preference, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15, in addition to your DD-214.
Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest
These required questions provide an opportunity to describe examples and accomplishments from your education, life, and/or work experience that demonstrate your qualifications for becoming an FSS. Examples can be drawn from any part of your professional or personal experience. The information you give may be used in your oral assessment should you be invited and is an important factor in the competitive evaluation of applicants. Responses are limited to 300 words or fewer (maximum length 2,000 characters) for each item. You should compose your replies carefully, as one of the skills necessary to succeed as an FSS is the ability to write clearly and concisely. All of the items in the Accomplishments Questionnaire and the Statement of Interest must be completed in the online application, not as attachment.
Substantive Knowledge: Describe your skills, knowledge and experience that are applicable to performing the work described in this vacancy announcement including the supervision and performance management of subordinate staff.
Intellectual Skills: Describe an example of when you used such skills to respond to unanticipated circumstances to solve a problem. (What was the situation? What steps did you take to think through the situation? How did your action address the situation? What were the results?)
Interpersonal Skills: Describe how you have used your interpersonal skills in a specific situation to resolve a problem or achieve a goal. (What was the goal or problem? What specific steps did you take? What was the result?)
Communication Skills: Describe a situation in which you used your communication skills, including foreign language skills if appropriate, to further an aim or achieve a goal. (What was the situation? What steps did you take to deal with the situation? What was the result?)
Management Skills: Describe a project you managed or helped to manage and how you planned and organized, set priorities and allocated time and resources to achieve the project’s goals. (What was the project? What steps did you take to manage the project? What was the result?)
Statement of Interest
Required narrative Statement of Interest, no more than 2,000 characters, which discusses your:
Motivation for joining the Foreign Service,
Comments about your work experience, including special skills (e.g. computer), current licenses, honors, awards, special accomplishments, and/or training (with date completed) relating to this position, and
Experience living or working in a multicultural environment, overseas or in U.S.
Agency Contact Info
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW