THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
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.
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,
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-
The various steps in the entry process are briefly described
here. More detailed information is available athttps://careers.
Foreign Service Officer
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