Foreign Service Human Resources Officer

Montevideo, D.C
Sep 24, 2021
Sep 29, 2021
Human Resources
Full Time


The U.S. Department of State is developing a rank-ordered list of eligible hires for a limited number of Foreign Service Human Resources Officers (HRO) positions based on the needs of the Department. Learn more about the Department of State and a career in the Foreign Service at .

There is more to joining the Foreign Service than just salary . Refer to the Benefits section for more information on total compensation.

Learn more about this agency


Some of the specific duties and responsibilities of HROs for both U.S. Direct Hires (USDH) and Locally Employed (LE) staff include, but are not limited to:

Manage Locally Employed Staff (LE Staff) Human Resource Issues
  • Talent Management : Administers recruitment program, ensures compliance with U.S. and local labor laws, researches local compensation, recommends changes to compensation plan, prepares and coordinates submissions for staff positions, administers training programs, coordinates individual development plan program, develops and implements mentoring program, develops and implements intern program, and manages separations.
  • Performance Management : Manages LE staff performance evaluation, counsels and advises staff on promotion and career development, and supports the staff merit-based compensation program.
  • Employee Relations and Recognition : Assesses and maintains awareness of staff morale, manages the interagency mission awards program, provides employee relations advice, and supervises HR office staff.
  • Policies and Procedures : Manages position descriptions, promotes a fair position classification system, ensures updates of staff handbook, serves as advisor to management on legal matters, and manages disciplinary and grievance actions.

  • Manage American Employee Human Resources Issues
  • Talent Management : Develops overseas training programs, develops mentoring programs, oversees eligible family member recruitment and training programs, and administers intern and seasonal hire programs.
  • Performance Management : Implements yearly evaluation report process, counsels and advises American staff, advises on grievance procedures, analyzes overall job performance effectiveness, and utilizes computer technology.
  • Employee Relations and Recognition : Establishes working relationships, develops orientation programs, coordinates post language program, manages the awards program, serves as EEO coordinator, addresses EEO concerns, ensures timely preparation of required reports, and maintains awareness and seeks to improve employee morale.
  • Policies, Procedures, and Salary and Benefit Administration : Provides and interprets federal benefits information, administers and advises employees on work/life programs, provides and interprets assignment information, prepares submissions for U.S. direct hire positions, manages diplomatic immunities and accreditation, and implements internal controls.
  • Contribution to Mission Development : Serves as expert advisor on HR policies, oversees preparation of HR's contribution to mission strategic plan, develops HR's input to special projects, acts as management officer and backs up management section officers as needed, responds to interagency internal policy changes, develops workload projections, balances competing HR demands, acts as a strategic HR advisor to senior management, and interacts with other agencies.
  • Management of the HR Office : Manages HR contracts, protects information from unauthorized disclosure, prepares HR budget, contributes to emergency management, manages furloughs, implements and maintains various HR applications, analyzes and improves HR effectiveness, and manages customer service.
  • Other HR Responsibilities When Assigned In Washington : Serves in HRO leadership roles, including on the Board of Examiners, training HROs at the Foreign Service Institute, and serving as a Career Development Officer.

  • Travel Required

    Occasional travel - A Foreign Service Specialist 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.

    Supervisory status

    Promotion Potential


    Conditions of Employment

    • 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).***

    Foreign Service 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.


    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)

    General Human Resources Knowledge : Recruitment, training techniques, candidate assessment, organizational design and position management, change management techniques, information security methods, employee evaluation procedures, awards procedures, compensation management principles, benefit programs, grievance and disciplinary procedures, engagement and quality of work life, management issues with remote work, career development, leadership principles, supervision principles, mentoring techniques, performance metrics, equal employment opportunity law and sources of bias, information resources, legal terminology, cross-cultural communication, computer functions, and internet functions.

    Skills : Written communication, oral communication, active listening, interpersonal interactions, building relationships, customer service, resolving conflict, working with others of diverse backgrounds, managing laterally and upward, leadership, training, personnel evaluating and interviewing, running meetings, teamwork, critical thinking, creative problem solving, decision making, organizing, planning, project management, time management, computer technology, operating HR communication networks, data analysis, professional social interaction, counseling and giving constructive feedback, managing intense emotional situations, presentations and public speaking, being adaptable and resilient, and self-development.

    Other Requirements : Continuous learning, cross-cultural awareness, cross-cultural interest, tolerance for working overseas, tolerance of travel, tolerance of varying work environments, worldwide availability, tolerance of living away from family, attention to detail, dependability, accountability, integrity, and willing to perform other duties.

    Applicants must demonstrate a strong command of the English language to include grammar, spelling and punctuation. Foreign Service Specialists 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).


    At the time of application, applicants must possess one of the following:

    High school diploma or equivalency and a minimum of five years of Specialized Experience in the last 10 years;


    Bachelor's or Master's degree in human resources personnel, or labor relations from an accredited program and a minimum of three years of Specialized Experience in the last 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 this documentation to demonstrate your educational achievements, your candidacy will not be continued.

    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 and have no missing pages. A transcript missing any of these elements will not pass the minimum qualifications and the candidacy will not continue. Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above the high school level .

    Education from a program or institution within the United States 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 high schools, 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. Only accredited organizations recognized as specializing in the interpretation of foreign education credentials that are members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE) are accepted. If documentation from an accredited organization is not provided, your candidacy will not continue.


    For further information on the evaluation of foreign education, please refer to the Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Department of Education. The U.S. Department of State neither endorses nor recommends any individual evaluation service.

    U.S. Department of Education:

    Additional information

    *EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION PROGRAM (E-Verify) - Verification of employment eligibility in the United States is required.

    U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States - either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization. This agency utilizes E-Verify to compare information from the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records to confirm employment eligibility. If the employee's information does not match DHS and/or SSA records, the employee is given an opportunity to resolve the problem. If eligibility cannot be verified, employment will be terminated.

    **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 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.

    A Foreign Service Specialist separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 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.

    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 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.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    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.

    To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance
    Top Secret

    Drug test required

    Required Documents

    It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all required documents are uploaded and the application is complete before the closing deadline of this announcement. Any missing required documents or incomplete applications will result in the application not being considered further.
  • Résumé from USAJobs Résumé Builder, the only résumé format accepted for this Vacancy Announcement.
  • Complete online application, including the required Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest narratives.
  • All required supporting documentation, including proof of educational achievements, certifications, professional licenses, or completed forms as required in this Vacancy Announcement.
  • Veteran's Preference documentation for applicants aged 60 to 65. If claiming a 5 pt. Veteran's Preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214 or Certification of service at the time of your application. If claiming a 10 pt. Veteran's Preference, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15, in addition to your DD-214 or Certification of service at the time of your application. A Certification must be from the armed forces certifying the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions within 120 days after the Certification is submitted by the applicant and should include military service dates, date of expected discharge or release, and character of service and disability rating, if applicable.

  • 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 a Foreign Service Specialist. Examples can be drawn from any part of your professional or personal experience. Each response is limited to 300 words or fewer (maximum length 2,000 characters). You should compose your replies carefully, as one of the skills necessary to succeed as a Foreign Service Specialist is the ability to write clearly and concisely. Answers to all of the items in the Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest are required and must be completed in the online application.

    Accomplishment Questionnaire

    Substantive Knowledge: Describe your specialized knowledge, skills, and experience in the HR management profession that are applicable to performing the work described in this vacancy announcement. Maximum length of 2000 characters. Answer to this question is required.

    Intellectual Skills: Describe an example of when you used your analytic, critical thinking, and problem solving skills to improve an HR management process. Maximum length of 2000 characters. Answer to this question is required.

    Interpersonal Skills: Describe how you have used your interpersonal skills in a specific situation to resolve a difficult problem in working with other people to achieve a goal. Maximum length of 2000 characters. Answer to this question is required.

    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 in an HR context. Maximum length of 2000 characters. Answer to this question is required.

    Management Skills: Describe an HR 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. Maximum length of 2000 characters. Answer to this question is required.

    Leadership Skills: Describe a situation that best illustrates your leadership skills, including the supervision and performance management of subordinate staff. Maximum length of 2000 characters. Answer to this question is required

    Statement of Interest

    Required narrative Statement of Interest which discusses your:
    • Motivation for joining the Foreign Service,
    • Relevant work experience, including any unique strengths not previously mentioned, such as special skills (e.g. computer), current licenses, certifications, honors, awards, special accomplishments, and/or training (with date completed) relating to this position,
    • Experience living or working in a multicultural environment, overseas or in the United States.

    Maximum length of 2000 characters. Answer to this question is required

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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