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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

JULY-AUGUST 2016

41

Glenn Guimond is a public diplomacy officer currently serving as an

assessor with the Board of Examiners (HR/REE/EXAM/BEX). His

former assignments include the Czech Republic, Papua New Guinea,

Jamaica, Iraq (PRT Baghdad), Ethiopia, Austria and Venezuela.

T

he traditional path to becoming a For-

eign Service officer has evolved over

the years as the State Department

continues to seek a pool of candidates

representing the diverse fabric of

the United States, as well as ensure

that the process more accurately and

fairly chooses from among them. The

State Department’s Board of Examin-

ers assesses applicants to the Foreign Service. BEX assessors

identify innovative thinkers and entrepreneurial leaders to be

the next generation of Foreign Service officers and specialists,

strengthening the department and the Foreign Service to meet

the challenges of a complex global landscape.

BEX evaluates aspiring FSOs, specialists and limited non-

career (LNC) candidates in 21 career tracks, including regional

medical officers, consular fellows, information management

specialists and others. To make use of the most appropriate

and effective methods available, the BEX teamworks with depart-

ment stakeholders and industrial psychologists to vet, validate

and update test materials. This article outlines the basic steps to

becoming a Foreign Service officer. The hiring process for special-

ists and LNC candidates is similar and spelled out on the State

Department’s careers website,

careers.state.gov.

Using a

“total candidate” approach introduced in 2008,

the

current selection process improves the department’s ability

to recruit and hire the best, compete more effectively with the

private sector and be more efficient. Each step of the process

is under continuous review to ensure efficacy and impact. The

data for this evaluation comes, in part, from the candidates

themselves in post-assessment surveys and social media

platforms. Surveys of the new officers’ supervisors in the field

provide additional data where “the rubber meets the road.” If

deficiencies are identified, corrections are proposed, evaluated

and—if found appropriate—implemented.

One very important thing remains the same: the process

itself continues to be considered the “gold standard” in profes-

sional recruitment.

The various steps in the entry process are briefly described

here. More detailed information is available at

https://careers.

state.gov/work/foreign-service/officer.

Examining State’s

Foreign Service Officer

Hiring Today

FOCUS

ON CAREER DIPLOMACY TODAY

Here's an inside look at the process of becoming a Foreign Service officer,

considered the “gold standard” in professional recruitment.

BY GL ENN J . GU I MOND