Foreign Service Human Resources Officer

Washington D.C.
Sep 20, 2017
Sep 20, 2017
Human Resources
Full Time

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 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

Learn more about this agency

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.

Relocation expenses reimbursed Yes After completing orientation and initial training in Washington, D.C., an FSS usually is assigned to two 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 to apply; at least 21 years old to be appointed.
  • Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).**

  • Education & Specialized Experience

    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;


    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 of your high school diploma or equivalency certification, or a copy of your university transcript(s) with your application. If you do not submit this documentation to support your educational achievements, you will not be given credit.

    Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted with your application. Your transcript must include your name, the school’s name, and, if applicable, the degree and date awarded. A transcript missing any of these elements 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.

    Specialized Experience

    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 – U.S. 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).

    *The Department of State Suitability Review Panel and standards are defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more information please visit:

    **For more information about Veteran’s Preference and how it is applied in the FSS Selection Process, please visit:

    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, within one week of receiving their invitation to the oral assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.

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    You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

    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.
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    Read more Security clearance Top Secret

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