Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SESCDP) Class 9

Woodlawn, Maryland
May 12, 2022
May 17, 2022
Full Time

Over a period of 12-24 months, selectees will complete a variety of developmental activities that directly correlate to the leadership competencies of the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) and enhance their perspective of the organization and their ability to manage across organizational lines. Organizational needs will drive opportunities for potential SES appointments.

The program begins with CDP orientation targeted for August 2022 and ends when the candidate completes all mandatory program requirements and requests Qualifications Review Board (QRB) certification of their executive qualifications. Candidates who have met all program requirements may request SES certification through SSA's Executive Resources Board (ERB).

SSA's ERB will conduct periodic reviews of candidates' progress during the program. Individuals not progressing as expected or who do not display the highest standards of conduct and behavior may be removed from the program. The ERB may require a candidate to extend his/her program if it is determined the candidate will benefit from additional development. With ERB endorsement, the documentation required for certification will be sent to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). QRB certification will permit noncompetitive appointment to any SES position for which the graduate is qualified. Candidates who receive QRB certification are not guaranteed an SES appointment.

Selectees must perform temporary developmental assignments which will involve organizational, functional, and/or geographic mobility during the program. In limited circumstances, virtual assignments may be available, as deemed appropriate by the Executive Resources Board on a case-by-case basis. Mobility is a basic tenet of the SES and candidates seeking SES appointment should understand that placement in an SES position may require relocation.

SSA's SES CDP focuses on developing high-potential individuals who have demonstrated they have the ability to lead in a large complex organization. During their 12-24 month program, candidates must complete the following activities to request QRB certification:

Competency Assessment
Candidates will complete a 360° assessment tool, with feedback used to identify developmental activities during the program that will strengthen or develop their leadership competencies and ECQs.

Individual Development Plan
Selectees complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) which tracks with the five ECQs. The IDP is a fluid roadmap of developmental activities that address the Candidate's individual development needs and reinforces the concept of an "SES Corporate Culture." Prior to implementation, the IDP must be approved by the Candidate's mentor and SSA's ERB.

Mentor Selection/Role
Each Candidate will be paired with an SSA SES executive mentor approved by the agency's Executive Resources Board. The mentor will: assist in the development of the IDP; provide general guidance and advice throughout the program; provide regular reports to the ERB on Candidate progress; and concur or nonconcur in a Candidate's certification request at the end of the program.

Developmental Assignments
Each Candidate must successfully complete at least two developmental assignments during the program as identified by the ERB. All assignments must be consecutive and encompass the Candidate's 12-24 month program. In limited situations, the ERB may endorse candidates who successfully complete 12 months in the program to proceed to certification. Assignments must include exposure to SES-level duties.
  • Two assignments must be a minimum of 6-months in length.
  • Two assignments must be outside the Candidate's home component (Associate/Regional Commissioner) in a new occupational field; one must be outside the Candidate's Deputy-Commissioner level component.
  • An external assignment is optional. NOTE : Non-SSA selectees must complete all assignments at SSA.
  • Headquarters Candidates must complete an assignment outside the Baltimore/Washington commuting area in a claims-related/hearing component (e.g. SSA Regional Office, Hearing Office, etc.).
  • Candidates from SSA Regional and field offices must complete a staff assignment at SSA HQ (Baltimore/Washington commuting area).
SSA OIG selectees may be required to fulfill additional requirements.

Candidates must attend the CDP Orientation and any agency required training. Regulation requires participants to complete 80 hours of interagency training. This may include a mandatory 2-4 week residential program away from their permanent duty station.

Other Learning Activities
  • Candidates must complete two executive interviews with an SES executive outside of their home component/outside of SSA.
  • Candidates must complete two leadership readings related to the ECQs
  • Candidates must complete a 1-day shadow assignment with an SES executive who is not his/her mentor.
Travel and per diem costs associated with the program are paid by SSA.


Conditions of Employment

  • U.S. Citizenship is required.
  • In order to be considered minimally qualified for this position, candidates must have had responsible professional experience at a senior level (equivalent to the GS-15 in either the General Schedule (GS) or a comparable pay plan).
  • You must have a current satisfactory performance appraisal.
  • Part-time employees may apply, but if selected, must convert to full-time work status during the program. If selected, you will be required to sign an agreement before the program begins.
  • The selectee for this position will be subject to an appropriate security investigation, including fingerprinting and periodic future reinvestigation(s).
  • Male applicants born after December 31, 1959, must be registered with the Selective Service System before they can be employed by an executive agency of the Federal government. This requirement does not apply to Agency employees appointed before November 8, 1985.

Candidate Status While in the Program:
  • All selectees will be assigned to an SES CDP position in SSA's Office of Human Resources, within your current duty station, for the duration of the program.
  • Non-SSA Status applicants who are selected into this program will be appointed to a full-time position in SSA at their current duty station.
  • Non-SSA Non-Status applicants selected for the program will receive a time-limited Schedule B appointment at their current or equivalent grade level. The Schedule B appointment is a temporary not-to-exceed 18-month appointment and it does not confer civil service status. If an SES CDP participant serving on a Schedule B appointment discontinues participation in the SES CDP for any reason, his/her employment with SSA will terminate because it is authorized only for an executive development position established in connection with the SES CDP. Similarly, if a Schedule B participant graduates from the SES CDP, but does not obtain a permanent appointment with SSA or an SES appointment before the Schedule B appointment expires, his/her employment with SSA will terminate because a Schedule B appointment cannot exceed or be extended beyond a maximum of three years.
  • At the end of their program, candidates who have not received SES appointments will return to a position in their home organization.


As a basic requirement, applicants MUST demonstrate progressively responsible leadership experience that is indicative of senior executive level managerial capability and directly related to the skills and abilities outlined under Executive Core Qualifications. Typically, experience of this nature will have been gained at or above the GS-15 grade level in the Federal service or its equivalent with state or local government, the private sector, or non-governmental organizations. Failure to meet this basic qualification requirement and all executive qualification factors automatically disqualifies an applicant.

You must clearly show that you possess the leadership competencies to perform the duties of the SESCDP. To be considered for this position, all applicants must address each of the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) listed below in the application documents you submit. Your examples should be clear and concise, and emphasize your level of responsibilities, scope and complexity of programs managed, program accomplishments with results of your actions, policy initiatives, and level of contacts.


Narrative Statements for the ECQs must not exceed 10 pages ; additional pages will not be considered. This document MUST be submitted using the "Executive Core Qualifications" document type.

ECQ 1 - LEADING CHANGE: You must have demonstrated an ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.
  • Leadership Competencies : Creativity & Innovation, External Awareness, Flexibility, Resilience, Strategic Thinking, Vision

ECQ 2 - LEADING PEOPLE: You must demonstrate the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.
  • Leadership Competencies : Conflict Management, Leveraging Diversity, Developing Others, Team Building

ECQ 3 - RESULTS DRIVEN: This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.
  • Leadership Competencies : Accountability, Customer Service, Decisiveness, Entrepreneurship, Problem Solving, Technical Credibility

ECQ 4 - BUSINESS ACUMEN: This ECQ involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resource strategically.
  • Leadership Competencies : Financial Management, Human Capital Management, Technology Management

ECQ 5 - BUILDING COALITIONS: This ECQ involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.
  • Leadership Competencies : Partnering, Political Savvy, Influencing/Negotiating

Link to the Office of Personnel Management's Guide to Senior Executive Service Qualifications


This job does not have an education qualification requirement.

Additional information

SSA SESCDP recognizes two categories of Federal civil service applicants: Status and Non-Status.
  • Status Applicants are applicants serving under career or career-type appointments in the civil service. Status candidates are not entitled to veterans' preference.
  • Non-Status Applicants are applicants who occupy other than career or career-type appointments within the civil service (e.g., temporary appointments). For non-status applicants, the agency shall follow the principles of veterans' preference, where applicable.
Employees with disabilities serving under Schedule A, Reg. 213.3102(U) are eligible to be considered noncompetitively for this announcement.

All application materials are subject to the provisions of the privacy act and become property of SSA.

This vacancy uses a USA Hire Assessment administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Reasonable Accommodation Requests

If you believe you have a disability (i.e., physical or mental), covered by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended and Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 as amended, that would interfere with completing the USA Hire Competency Based Assessments, you will be granted the opportunity to request a reasonable accommodation in your online application. Requests for Reasonable Accommodations for the USA Hire Competency Based Assessments and appropriate supporting documentation for Reasonable Accommodation must be received prior to starting the USA Hire Competency Based Assessments. Decisions on requests for Reasonable Accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis. If you meet the minimum qualifications of the position, after notification of the adjudication of your request, you will receive an email invitation to complete the USA Hire Competency Based Assessments. You must complete all assessments within five days of receiving the URL to access the USA Hire Competency Based Assessments. To determine if you need a Reasonable Accommodation, please review the Procedures for Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation for Online Assessments .

The Social Security Administration provides equal opportunity for all persons without regard to race, color, age, religion, gender, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, disability, or conduct not adversely affecting employee performance.