Ending Pay Rate
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what does 'ending pay rate' on a job application mean?
OK, this is how the GS system works. 1st there has to be an open position that you can apply for. If you are new to the Civil Service system (as you indicated), you are probably looking at a GS-9 position going in (doesn’t mean that you can’t apply for a GS-11, 12, 13, but without civil service experience – you are going against others who have been there and done that). The GS-9 may have a promotable category such as GS-9/11/12. What this means is that you start as a GS-9 (probationary); however, your education and practical experience can get you anywhere from a Pay step 2 through 10 – depends on how well you do in the position interview). After one year as a GS-9, you can be promoted to GS-11, Step 1. After a year as GS-11, you can be promoted to GS-12, Step 1. Now the process: As a Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel, I have responsibility for a section of operational analysts, half military officers and the other half Civil Servants. My table of organization (states the number of people at a specific military or civil service grade that I am authorized in my organization) says I rate 2 GS-7s (must have at least a BS degree in mathemathics, statistics, or operations research), 1 GS-9, 2 GS-12s, and 1 GS-13 (all Operations Analysts positions). Say I need to replace my GS-13 who is retiring. I write a position description that explicitly lists the skills for the specific job being advertised via Office of Personnel Management (OPM). This job listing also specifies 4 years experience in the performance of duties that are in the field of Test and Evaluation (could be civilian or military). I also require that the GS-13 have a MS or PHD degree in Operations Research, Mathemathics, Statistics. You have civilian experience in Test and Evaluation, have at least 4 years experience in this field, AND have a MS Degree in one of the specified fields. You are now a candidate for the position and you submit your resume in accordance with OPM guidelines. Those guidelines also requires you to answer each of the job requirements that I have listed by stating how you satisfy the requirement. Given that you meet all the requirements listed (or at least 80% – hint), you submit your package to OPM. OPM then takes all of the applications that they receive for the position and have met all requirements, they send the packages to me for decision. I organize a panel, with me as the chair, and we interview each candidate. It is possible that some candidates are rejected because they embellish their creditials (discovered during the technical question phase), and we end up with three candidates. We vote on who is the best with me as the final decision maker. If you survive the interview panel, I may ask you to come in for a last interview, to include the the two candidates. My questions will be more specific. For me it does not matter how long a person has been in Civil Service for my choice. I make a decision, and I select the most qualified which could be you. My decision will also be based on the specific record of the Civil Servant and probably a phone call to their current and past supervisors. The situation here is that they may have a track record in government where you may not – hence, the decision will lean toward the validated experience. At same time, your current company may have contracts with the military. I have the option to make inquiries unless you state that you do not want this to happen. If I can validate that you are the best qualified, then I have a chance of hiring you. Now this is where it gets dicey. OPM has additional rules that favor current Civil Servants. If a Civil Servant who is qualified for the position is moving from overseas back to the States is available, that person is placed on a Stopper List. What this means, he/she gets the job before anyone else regardless of my decision. I don’t have a choice but to accept the person and hope they REALLY have the background (not all do and some get fired). This is how the Civil Service system works. My previous military jobs put me in position to hire civil servants in my organization (s) as I described above. Your question about asking for lower GS rating is valid, but with some risk. If you DO have the experience and background as specified in the OPM job announcement, don’t cut yourself short. If you don’t, then a lower level may be appropriate. This said, from your comments, it appears that you have only applied for a GS Grade Rating, not a specific job. As I noted, a specfic job is based on a OPM job announcement with specific work criteria that you MUST meet and a specific education level that you also must meet. Additionally, some jobs also require a security clearance which can take a year or more. This too will be considered by the hiring official (e.g. Me). Hope this helps. Best wishes. PS: Two college degrees will not necessarily get you a GS rating above GS-9. An engineer right out of college starts as a GS-5 or GS-7 (depends on his/her GPA). An MS usually starts as a GS-7 or GS-9. A PHD – GS-9. Normally, we often advertise a job for newly graduated candidates as a multiple GS grade position. E.g. the BS in Engineering comes in as a GS-5/7/9. He/she spends 1st year in probationary status learning the details of the job and getting additional schooling. At the end of one year and with good performance evals, they are promoted to GS-7. We may have it set where they can be promoted to GS-9 after one year as a GS-7 or we may decide to have 2 years (not usual though). We may also increase the Step Pay increase to a 4 or 5 instead of a 1. OPM normally leaves this to our option since we own our budget. Point here is don’t expect OPM to jump on a direct translation of your Education (Degrees) to qualify you for anything above GS-12. This also doesn’t mean that you will get a GS-12 job either since each job announcement has criterion that must be met and accepted by the organization who wrote the job description. Just the way it is! Bottom line, once you are rated by OPM, apply for the positions that you are interested. Worse that can happen is that you don’t get the position, but then again, you might get. I have had this situation happen a few times. DON’T quit your job though UNTIL you have a firm hiring offer in your hand from OPM. Lieutenant Colonel, US Marine Corps-Retired (Been there and done that)
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