Become a PMF
The following will help you prepare for the rigorous assessment process used by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as part of our procedure for selecting Finalists. This section of the website covers the assessment process and will familiarize you with its key features so that you know what to expect and are prepared to do your best. Please also be sure to consult the latest version of the PMF Applicant Handbook in preparation for the assessment process.
NOTE: For the 2023 PMF application cycle, the assessment process has changed. Consistent with the PMF Program mission, the assessment process is designed to attract a talented group of applicants drawn from all segments of society.
The assessment process will consist of three distinct parts: (1) the Fellows Behavioral Assessment Tool (FBAT), (2) the Fellows Situational Assessment Tool (FSAT), and (3) the Fellows Structured Interview (FSI). The assessment process will be carried out in two stages: (1) the Online Assessment stage (which includes the FBAT and FSAT), and (2) the Semi-Finalist stage (which includes the FSI). Semi-Finalists will be determined based on eligibility, completeness of application, and results from the Online Assessment stage.
The assessment process is designed to measure the following competencies that are critical to success in the PMF role:
- Attention to Detail: Is thorough when performing work and conscientious about attending to detail.
- Flexibility: Is open to change and new information; adapts behavior or work methods in response to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles; effectively deals with ambiguity.
- Integrity/Honesty: Contributes to maintaining the integrity of the organization; displays high standards of ethical conduct and understands the impact of violating these standards on an organization, self, and others; is trustworthy.
- Interpersonal Skills: Shows understanding, friendliness, courtesy, tact, empathy, concern, and politeness to others; develops and maintains effective relationships with others; may include effectively dealing with individuals who are difficult, hostile, or distressed; relates well to people from varied backgrounds and different situations; is sensitive to cultural diversity, race, gender, disabilities, and other individual differences.
- Oral communication: Expresses information (for example, ideas or facts) to individuals or groups effectively, taking into account the audience and nature of the information (for example, technical, sensitive, controversial); makes clear and convincing oral presentations; listens to others, attends to nonverbal cues, and responds appropriately.
- Reasoning: Identifies rules, principles, or relationships that explain facts, data, or other information; analyzes information and makes correct inferences or draws accurate conclusions.
- Self-Management: Sets well-defined and realistic personal goals; displays a high level of initiative, effort, and commitment towards completing assignments in a timely manner; works with minimal supervision; is motivated to achieve; demonstrates responsible behavior.
- Supporting Diversity: Maintains an open mind regarding different ideas, opinions, values, and beliefs; recognizes own worldview and understands its influence on interactions with others; incorporates a variety of viewpoints to help accomplish work goals; contributes to an inclusive work environment with equal treatment of individuals across all demographics (e.g., race, gender), and social (e.g., culture) groups.
The online assessment is administered in an un-proctored environment and includes two parts: (1) the Fellows Behavioral Assessment Tool (FBAT) and (2) the Fellows Situational Assessment Tool (FSAT). The FBAT will ask applicants about behaviors related to competencies critical for PMF roles. The FSAT will ask applicants to evaluate various courses of action in response to PMF work-related situations.
Each part of the online assessment is timed. Across both assessment parts, the approximate amount of time to complete is anticipated to be no more than 2 hours. Sample questions for each part are expected to be published in the PMF Applicant Handbook prior to the launch of the application. No special training or experience is required to answer the questions in the online assessment.
Once you begin either of the parts, you must complete that part unless there is an emergency (i.e., natural disaster, fire, explosion, major structural failure), a loss of electrical power, or a loss of internet connectivity. In the event of an emergency, you will be allowed to resume your assessment with the time remaining in that part, and prior to the application announcement closing. Upon resuming you will be presented with an Interruption Alert where you will be asked to enter an explanation. Upon submission, you will be able to resume where you left off if time remains. If the emergency requires you to leave your connection, we suggest you log out or close the browser to ensure the timer stops. Applicants will be presented a pop-up warning when 5-minutes remain for each timed part. The online application tracks all applicant activity, timers, interruption alerts, and error messages. Applicants are reminded to thoroughly read the instructions when completing the online assessment.
NOTE: An applicant may complete each of the online assessment parts at different times or all at once, as long as the applicant completes the entire online assessment and submits the application by the closing of the announcement (unless otherwise instructed). For example, an applicant can start and complete Part 1 and then start and complete Part 2 at a later time. However, once an applicant starts a part, they must complete that part. Applicants must complete each part in the order shown on the online application platform.
During the online assessment, applicants will be prompted to certify that they completed each part of the assessment independently and without any assistance. DO NOT close your browser or exit out of the online assessment until you have certified and submitted your responses. If you do not certify your responses, even if time expired, your application will be deemed incomplete, and you will not be considered during this year’s application cycle.
A structured interview is an assessment method designed to measure job-related competencies of candidates by systematically inquiring about their behavior in past experiences and/or their proposed behavior in hypothetical situations.
Applicants who are invited to the Semi-Finalist stage will receive an invitation to schedule a structured interview (referred to as the Fellows Structured Interview or FSI). Semi-Finalists will complete an approximate 30-minute audio interview with a live panel of assessors. During the interview, Semi-Finalists will be asked to respond to a series of questions related to critical competencies for the PMF role.
Applicants with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation for the assessments when applying to the PMF Program. Reasonable accommodations are provided to applicants with disabilities in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. To be considered, requests for a reasonable accommodation for the assessments (e.g., the online assessment for all applicants and/or the structured interview for those applicants selected as Semi-Finalists) must be received before the applicant starts the online assessment and before the application announcement closes, this includes the submission of supporting documentation for a request. Keep in mind that the online assessment is un-proctored, and you can use your own assistive technology if applicable. The structured interview will be an approximately 30-minute audio interview with a live panel of assessors.
The supporting documentation must be from a qualified professional that includes information about the disability as well as the accommodation being requested for the online assessment and/or structured interview. Please note that a “Schedule A” letter in and of itself is not sufficient documentation.
Instructions on how to submit a request for a reasonable accommodation are below:
Applicants with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation for the assessments when applying to the PMF Program. Reasonable accommodations are provided to applicants with disabilities in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. Applicants with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation for the assessments. This process is specific to an assessment accommodation and is not related to an accommodation process for obtaining employment as a PMF if selected as a Finalist. If you believe you may need an accommodation for a PMF appointment, if selected as a Finalist, you should request this from the hiring agency after you have received a tentative PMF appointment offer.
Requests for a reasonable accommodation for the assessments must be received before the applicant starts the online assessment. The PMF Program Office will review each request during the application process and contact you directly via email to adjudicate your request. Keep in mind that the online assessment is un-proctored, meaning you do not need to take it at a certain location. You can complete all parts of the online assessment using your personal computer, taking advantage of your own assistive technology, if applicable. There are no videos. Both the application and assessment process are 508 conformant (meaning secure and provides substantially equivalent accessibility and use to people with disabilities).
Additional information about reasonable accommodations can be found in the PMF Applicant Handbook, and within the USAJOBS announcement (once available).
PMF Applicant Handbook
To prepare for the assessment process, applicants should thoroughly review the PMF Applicant Handbook. The Handbook details the annual application process, explains eligibility requirements, required documentation, and provides an overview of the assessment process. The Handbook can be found under the Resources section, is subject to change, and applicants are encouraged to check frequently for any updates.
Now that the overview, application process, and assessment process have been covered, interested applicants should review the next section to view information on the class-year specific application webpage.