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An Official Web Site of the United States Government

Become a PMF

Assessment Process

On-line Assessment

Photo of a person handing in resume

Applicants must complete the on-line assessment during the application process.

The on-line assessment is administered in an un-proctored environment.

The on-line assessment is designed to uncover evidence of the following competencies that are critical to success on the job across all PMF occupations and factored into the selection of Finalists:

  • 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 other (e.g., answering questions at a press conference, 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 do not tolerate favoritism or discrimination in any form, and pointing out 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 perspectives on particular issues due to cultural, political, or individual differences.  These people may be representatives of other U.S. Government agencies, employees of multinational, multi-ethnic groups, or they may even be citizens of another country.  In work related interactions, PMFs must gain the cooperation of these individuals and ensure that all perspectives are heard.  In social situations, they must smooth the way for effective interaction between different peoples.  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. Ensures that actions meet public needs; aligns organizational objectives and practices with public interests.
      • A PMF is motivated to serve the public and works to influence others toward a spirit of service and meaningful contributions.  PMFs demonstrate initiative and effort in working towards goals that are important for the needs of the public and the mission of their agency.  In serving the public, they follow the rules, polices, and laws that govern their work and they show 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, both foreign and domestic.  They must be able to communicate their ideas and explain complex information, and able to discuss relevant policies or regulations.  Their written work must be readily comprehensible to readers with different levels of understanding.  Written work must also be well-organized and accurate to communicate ideas and to explain complex information and relevant data so that the reader can draw an appropriate conclusion.

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

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations for the on-line assessment may be provided to applicants with disabilities when appropriate, as qualified under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The PMF Program Office determines assessment accommodations on a case-by-case basis based on claimed disability and documentation provided.

If you are unsure whether or not you need an accommodation for the on-line assessment, please review sample questions for each part of the on-line assessment provided in the PMF Assessment Preparation Guide (see below). The Guide also outlines criteria each applicant must meet when requesting a reasonable accommodation.  The on-line assessment is un-proctored, meaning you do not need to take it at a certain location.  You can complete all components of the on-line assessment using your personal computer, taking advantage of your own assistive technology if applicable.  There are no videos or need for plug-ins (e.g., Adobe Flash).

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 on-line assessment until their request is adjudicated by the PMF Program Office. Instructions are provided in the Guide on how an applicant can reverse their request in order to proceed with completing the on-line assessment without an accommodation.

Applicants waiting for a request for a reasonable accommodation for the on-line assessment to be adjudicated may continue with other parts of their application.

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 on-line assessment only. 

Assessment Preparation Guide

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

NOTE:  The link to the Guide below is only active and available before and during the application period and removed shortly after the application closes. The Guide is available as an Adobe (.pdf) file format. Please check file for any revision history.

  • PMF Assessment Preparation Guide Adobe Acrobat Version [KB]

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: 04-23-2021