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Frequently Asked Questions Senior Executive Service

  • The current pay rates for SES jobs can be found at http://www.opm.gov/oca/payrates/index.asp.
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  • You may submit a resume or an Optional Application for Federal Employment (OF-612 which you may download from OPM's website) in accordance to the vacancy announcement instructions. Check the vacancy announcement for additional forms or documents required by the agency/department to which you are applying. Take particular note of the information you must provide if you submit a resume instead of an OF-612.
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  • You must first identify a position to apply for. Agencies announce their SES vacancies on OPM's website USAJOBS. From there, you may download information on vacancies of interest to you, complete the application procedures, and submit your application to the agency that has the vacancy. The agency submits the executive core qualifications of the person selected to a Qualifications Review Board (QRB) convened by OPM. The QRB must certify all selectees before they can be appointed to the SES. Further information about the selection process is available elsewhere on this site.
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  • In an agency covered by the Senior Executive Service (SES), SES positions include positions classified above GS-15 that include duties involving one or more of the functional criteria (executive or managerial) identified in law. Scientific and professional (ST) positions include positions classified above GS-15 that are not SES positions (i.e., do not involve executive and management responsibilities) and are engaged in research and development in the physical, biological, medical, or engineering sciences, or a closely related field. Senior level (SL) positions include positions that are not SES positions and are classified above GS-15 based on other factors. In an agency that is not covered by the SES, either an SL or an ST position may perform duties that involve one or more of the SES functional criteria.
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  • No. The reason is that 5 USC 2108(3) which defines the term "preference eligible" provides that this term does not include applicants for, or members of, the Senior Executive Service.
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  • No. Because the Fundamental Competencies are cross-cutting, they should be addressed over the course of the ECQ narrative. It is not necessary to address them directly as long as the narrative, in its totality, shows mastery of these competencies on the whole.
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  • Criterion A cases are based on demonstrated executive experience. Candidates must demonstrate that they have experience/competence in all 5 ECQs. Criterion B cases are based on successful participation in an OPM approved SES Candidate Development Program (SESCDP). Candidates who compete governmentwide and successfully complete a CDP are eligible for non-competitive appointment to the SES. (However, successful completion does not guarantee placement in the SES.) Criterion C cases are based on the candidate's having special or unique qualities that indicate a likelihood of success in the SES. Candidates must demonstrate that they have the qualifications for the position and the potential to quickly acquire full competence in the 5 ECQs. The package submitted for QRB approval must contain the agency's assessment of why the selectee uniquely qualifies for the position, and an Individual Development Plan that focuses on the specific ECQs that need to be enhanced.
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  • Agencies are permitted to use the SES insignia for official Government business. The insignia may not be modified.
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  • No. OPM will not pre-review ECQ statements. To do so would be a conflict of interest since we administer the Qualification Review Boards, and would also provide the requestor with an unfair advantage over other applicants.
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  • Yes. When detailed, an individual temporarily leaves his/her position of record but retains his/her pay and benefits. Agencies must compete any detail to an SES position that could result in assignment of a non-SES employee for a period more than 240 days unless the employee is eligible for a noncompetitive career SES appointment.  Agencies must receive OPM approval before detailing for longer than 240 days a non-SES member to an SES position that supervises other members of the SES.
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