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An Official Web Site of the United States Government

Become a PMF

Assessment Process

Online Assessment

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Applicants must complete the online assessment during the application process.

The online assessment is administered in an un-proctored environment and includes three parts: Situational Judgement, Life Experience, and Writing. Each part is timed and must be completed in the order listed.

The online assessment is designed to elicit evidence of the following competencies that are critical to success on the job across all PMF occupations:

  • 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.
    • A PMF must have the ability to think on one’s feet, to respond quickly to questions posed by others (e.g., responding at the negotiating table, providing short notice briefings).  The capacity to adjust and respond quickly and efficiently to changing situations or unexpected events is essential.
  • Integrity: 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.
    • As employees of the U.S. Government, PMFs must understand and be willing and able to demonstrate the highest level of ethical, personal and professional standards.  PMFs must not engage in favoritism or discrimination in any form and should pursue appropriate steps when others may be acting in a less than appropriate manner.
  • 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.
    • PMFs have the opportunity to interact with people of different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives on particular issues.  These people may be representatives of other U.S. Government agencies, government representatives from other countries, or other public or private organizations.  In work related interactions, PMFs must gain the cooperation of these individuals from different backgrounds and promote an environment for all perspectives to be heard.  In social situations, they may need to smooth the way for effective interaction between people from different backgrounds and/or perspectives.  Finally, they must show good judgement in deciding when and how to act in various situations.
  • Public Service Motivation: Shows a commitment to serve the public. Acts in a manner that meets public needs; aligns organizational objectives and practices with public interests.
    • A PMF is motivated to serve the public and works to influence others towards a spirit of service and meaningful contributions.  PMFs demonstrate initiative and effort in working toward goals that are important to the needs of the public and the missions of the PMFs’ agencies.  In serving the public, they follow the rules, polices, and laws that govern their work and they demonstrate responsibility for outcomes.
  • Problem Solving: Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations.
    • PMFs are sometimes faced with difficult conflicts and problems on the job.  They must use their creativity and analytical skills to understand the issues involved and draw appropriate conclusions about the best approach for resolution.  This ability is particularly important during crisis and emergency situations.
  • Written Communication: Writes in a clear, concise, organized, and convincing manner for the intended audience.
    • PMFs must be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.  They meet in one-on-one and group situations with various individuals of different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives on particular issues.

As part of the application certification process, applicants will attest they have completed the online assessment independently and all statements made are true.

Reasonable Accommodations

Applicants with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation for the online assessment when applying to the PMF Program. Reasonable accommodations are provided to applicants with disabilities as appropriate, as defined in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The decision to provide or not provide a reasonable accommodation for the online assessment is made on a case-by-case basis.

Applicants with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation for the online assessment when applying to the PMF Program and during the application period. This process is specific to the online assessment and is separate from a hiring agency's accommodation process for obtaining employment as a PMF if selected as a Finalist. Further, the documentation provided for an assessment accommodation may not be sufficient to be evaluated for a PMF appointment. 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. Requests for a reasonable accommodation for the online assessment must be received before the application announcement closes and before starting 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.

If you are unsure whether you need an accommodation for the online assessment, please review the sample questions for each assessment and review the System Requirements for the Online Assessment section before starting the online assessment. The Handbook also outlines the criteria each applicant must meet when requesting a reasonable accommodation. 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 online assessment are 508 conformant (meaning provides access and use to people with disabilities substantially equivalent to persons without a disability).

If an applicant makes a request during the application process, he/she will be prompted to briefly describe the accommodation and submit supporting documentation.

The supporting documentation must be from a qualified professional that includes information about the disability as well as the testing accommodation being requested. A Schedule A Letter in and of itself is not sufficient documentation.

Those applicants requesting a reasonable accommodation will be instructed to not proceed with the online assessment until their request is adjudicated by the PMF Program Office. Instructions are provided in the Handbook and during the application on how an applicant can reverse their request in order to proceed with completing the online assessment without an accommodation.

Applicants waiting for a request for a reasonable accommodation for the online assessment to be adjudicated may continue with other parts of their application as instructed.

Adjudication results will be sent via automated emails from the PMF TMS (Talent Management System); we may also contact you directly, via email or phone number. We recommend that you add the following email addresses to your "safe" or "allowed email list" and email address book:,,, and

NOTE:  Reasonable accommodations may be requested for the online assessment during the application only.

PMF Applicant Handbook

To prepare for the assessment process, applicants should thoroughly review the PMF Applicant Handbook. The Handbook is subject to change and applicants are encouraged to check frequently for any updates.

Effective with the Class of 2022 PMF Application, the previous, separate PMF Assessment Preparation Guide has been integrated into the PMF Applicant Handbook. Any previous versions of the PMF Assessment Preparation Guide are no longer valid.

The Handbook is designed to provide a general overview of the annual application and online assessment process, and will be made available prior to and during the application under Resources the section.

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.

UPDATED: 09-30-2021