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Human Resources Specialist (Staffing) — Full Performance, GS-11/12

Career Stage
Career Stage Flowchart
Flowchart Description: Entry-Level employees may advance to the GS 11 Specialist or Supervisory Level, then to either the GS 12 Supervisory or Specialist Level, and then either to the Expert Supervisory Level or to the Expert Level. Employees may be hired from outside the Federal Government, but this is a less common career advancement.
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General Competencies
General Competencies
Understanding the Competency Information

General Competencies Proficiency Level
GS-11 GS-12
Attention to Detail: Is thorough when performing work and conscientious about attending to detail. 4 4
Client Engagement/Change Management: Knowledge of the impact of change on people, processes, procedures, leadership, and organizational culture; knowledge of change management principles, strategies, and techniques required for effectively planning, implementing, and evaluating change in the organization. 2 3
Creative Thinking: Uses imagination to develop new insights into situations and applies innovative solutions to problems; designs new methods where established methods and procedures are inapplicable or are unavailable. 3 3
Customer Service: Works with clients and customers (that is, any individuals who use or receive the services or products that your work unit produces, including the general public, individuals who work in the agency, other agencies, or organizations outside the Government) to assess their needs, provide information or assistance, resolve their problems, or satisfy their expectations; knows about available products and services; is committed to providing quality products and services. 4 4
Decision Making: Makes sound, well-informed, and objective decisions; perceives the impact and implications of decisions; commits to action, even in uncertain situations, to accomplish organizational goals; causes change. 3 3
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. 3 4
Influencing/Negotiating: Persuades others to accept recommendations, cooperate, or change their behavior; works with others towards an agreement; negotiates to find mutually acceptable solutions. 3 3
Information Management: Identifies a need for and knows where or how to gather information; organizes and maintains information or information management systems. 3 3
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. 4 4
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. 4 4
Legal, Government, and Jurisprudence: Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, legal practices and documents, Government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, Government organization and functions, and the democratic political process. 3 3
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. 3 3
Organizational Awareness: Knows the organization's mission and functions, and how its social, political, and technological systems work and operates effectively within them; this includes the programs, policies, procedures, rules, and regulations of the organization. 3 3
Planning and Evaluating: Organizes work, sets priorities, and determines resource requirements; determines short- or long-term goals and strategies to achieve them; coordinates with other organizations or parts of the organization to accomplish goals; monitors progress and evaluates outcomes. 3 3
Problem Solving: Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations. 3 3
Project Management: Knowledge of the principles, methods, or tools for developing, scheduling, coordinating, and managing projects and resources, including monitoring and inspecting costs, work, and contractor performance. 2 3
Reading: Understands and interprets written material, including technical material, rules, regulations, instructions, reports, charts, graphs, or tables; applies what is learned from written material to specific situations. 3 4
Reasoning: Identifies rules, principles, or relationships that explain facts, data, or other information; analyzes information and makes correct inferences or draws accurate conclusions. 3 3
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. 3 3
Stress Tolerance: Deals calmly and effectively with high stress situations (for example, tight deadlines, hostile individuals, emergency situations, dangerous situations). 3 4
Teamwork: Encourages and facilitates cooperation, pride, trust, and group identity; fosters commitment and team spirit; works with others to achieve goals. 3 3
Technical Competence: Uses knowledge that is acquired through formal training or extensive on-the-job experience to perform one's job; works with, understands, and evaluates technical information related to the job; advises others on technical issues. 3 3
Workforce Planning: Knowledge of HR concepts, principles, and practices related to determining workload projections and current and future competency gaps to align human capital with organizational goals. 2 3
Writing: Recognizes or uses correct English grammar, punctuation, and spelling; communicates information (for example, facts, ideas, or messages) in a succinct and organized manner; produces written information, which may include technical material that is appropriate for the intended audience. 3 3
Technical Competencies
Technical Competencies
Understanding the Competency Information

Technical Competencies Proficiency Level
GS-11 GS-12
Staffing: Knowledge of HR concepts, principles, and practices related to identifying, attracting, and selecting individuals and placing them into positions to address changing organizational needs. 3 4
Agency Staffing Policies and Procedures: Knowledge of the agency-specific policies and procedures involved in merit promotion and delegated examining operations, for example, category rating, application processing, and reconsideration. 3 4
Application Processing: Knowledge of rules governing the acceptance and processing of applications and resumes, including application requirements, applicant eligibility for filing late applications, and applicant notification procedures. 3 4
Assessment Methods and Tools: Knowledge of the principles, methods, and professional guidelines for assessing job applicants; including types of assessment tools and the criteria (e.g., validity, legality, practicality) for evaluating assessment methods. 3 3
Category Rating: Knowledge of the laws, regulations, and procedures for using category rating in the hiring process, to include category requirements, placement of candidates into quality categories, merging categories, and agency-specific category rating policies. 3 4
Certification and Selection: Knowledge of the laws, regulations, and agency-specific procedures governing the creation of the certificate of eligibles, including interdisciplinary positions, dual certification, documenting actions on a certificate, objection or pass over procedures for preference eligibles, and lost employment consideration. 3 4
Classification: Knowledge of classification concepts, principles, and practices related to structuring organizations and positions and determining the appropriate pay system, occupational grouping, title, and pay level of positions. 2 3
Compensation: Knowledge of compensation concepts, principles, and practices, including pay and leave administration and compensation flexibilities. 2 3
Employee Benefits: Knowledge of HR concepts, principles, and practices related to retirement, insurance, injury compensation, and other employee benefits programs. 2 3
Hiring Authorities: Knowledge of the laws, rules, requirements, and application of the Competitive Service, the Excepted Service, and the Senior Executive Service; including the use of special appointing authorities, for example, veterans' recruitment appointment (VRA) and direct hire authorities. 3 4
Hiring Process Management: Knowledge of the principles, procedures, and steps that make up the Federal Hiring Process, including roles, responsibilities, timeframes, and resources. 3 4
Job Analysis: Knowledge of the principles, methods, and tools for gathering, analyzing, and using information about the content, context, and requirements of a job, including procedures to document the relationship between the tasks performed on the job and the competencies/KSAs required to perform the tasks. 3 4
Labor Law: Knowledge of state and Federal employment laws, regulations, guidelines, and legal precedents related to hiring practices, equal employment opportunity, and wage and hour restrictions. 2 3
Merit System Accountability: Knowledge of the reporting and accountability requirements for staffing and delegated examining functions to include workload reports, case file reconstruction, and annual internal audit requirements. 3 4
Public Notice/Job Opportunity Announcements: Knowledge of the laws, regulations, and agency policies regarding public notice of vacancies; knowledge of the techniques for creating effective job opportunity announcements. 3 4
Qualifications Determinations: Knowledge of the requirements for determining applicant qualifications, including the use of selective placement factors and quality ranking factors; knowledge of how to apply qualification standards when reviewing applications to credit experience, education, and other credentials. 3 4
Recruitment/Placement: Knowledge of HR concepts, principles, and practices related to identifying, attracting, and selecting individuals and placing them into positions to address changing organizational needs. 3 4
Strategic Recruitment: Knowledge of the principles, practices, and techniques for developing a recruitment strategy, including outreach efforts, agency branding, publicizing vacancies, and identifying applicant pools. 2 3
Technical Documentation: Knowledge of procedures for developing technical and operational support documentation (for example, case files, processing personnel actions). 3 4
Veterans' Preference: Knowledge of the laws and regulations regarding Veterans' Preference, Veterans' Preference eligibility, Veterans' Preference categories, required proof of preference status, and how to credit preference in the hiring process. 3 4
Workforce Reshaping: Knowledge of the principles, procedures, and practices related to workforce reshaping efforts, including reorganization, management directed reassignments, furlough, transfer of function, and reduction in force. 2 3
Supervisory Competencies
HR Specialists at the Full Performance level may either be specialists or supervisors. Supervisory competencies are determined by the hiring agency. OPM developed guidance for agencies to help them determine requirements for supervisory positions including supervisory competencies. For more information on OPM’s Supervisory Qualification Guide, click on
Critical Developmental Activities
Critical Developmental Activities
Understanding the Critical Developmental Activities

Developmental Activities for Specialist or Supervisory Positions
To Strengthen General Competencies
  • Participate in all stages of, or manage a project.
  • Lead a team effort by acting as a project lead, program lead, or team lead.
  • Participate in projects that are highly visible, sensitive, or political.
  • Act as a subject matter expert (SME) in a panel.
  • Consult with customers to define and/or solve customer problems.
  • Cross-train into another area of expertise (e.g. temporary job rotations, job shadowing, or developmental assignments).
  • Participate in online training, attend briefings, or obtain on-the-job training to understand the policies and politics relevant to your work.
  • Collaborate and coordinate with another group to perform project work (e.g., outside group).
  • Develop a broad professional network through joint projects, participation in workshops, membership in professional and trade associations, and internal and external customer relationships.
  • Demonstrate your work at a technical conference, meeting, or seminar.
  • Provide informal mentoring to others in your technical area.
  • Attend university and industry association educational events.
  • Maintain awareness of trends and state-of-the-art in your field.
  • Discuss ideas to resolve project issues with senior staff members or a mentor.
  • Meet with your manager to present and discuss your analysis of options, tradeoffs, and recommendations for action relating to a problem or issue in a project/program.
  • Participate on a workforce planning team.
To Strengthen Technical Competencies
  • Advise managers on recruitment strategies.
  • Conduct a process review of your staffing process to eliminate steps and redundancies.
  • Conduct a review of job announcements to ensure that they comply with OPM guidelines and the Plain Language Act.
  • Research additional avenues for recruitment and share these with others in your office, as well as in other offices.

Additional Developmental Activities Supervisory Positions Only
  • Seek periodic feedback from others on your management and leadership skills.
  • Find a mentor or talk with other managers to learn about their leadership styles, challenges, and experiences.
  • Look for ways to praise and highlight others’ achievements.
  • Identify and communicate your priorities to your employees.
  • Offer to serve as a sounding board for others if they run into technical difficulties, and ask them to do the same for you.
  • Develop and execute a budget for a project or assignment.
  • Learn strategies on how to handle conflict in the organization.
  • Contribute to processes that create and support a diverse environment (e.g. hiring and training).
Job Tasks
Job Tasks
Specialist or Supervisory Positions GS-11 GS-12
Develops rating factors and crediting plans for job announcements for journey and expert level positions. checkmark N/A
Provides technical guidance on the impact of agency-directed actions (e.g., reduction-in-force, transfer of function, reorganization). checkmark N/A
Provides guidance to management on all staffing issues and recommends innovative methods and strategies to resolve problems. checkmark N/A
Engages in strategic Staffing planning and advises management officials on procedural and regulatory requirements. checkmark N/A
Performs external recruitment by developing multiple recruitment strategies utilizing such sources as veteran’s readjustment, reinstatement, and direct-hire appointment authorities. checkmark N/A
Advises management on applying new HR flexibilities and programs. checkmark N/A
Provides technical guidance on advanced in-hire rates. checkmark N/A
Conducts job analyses on a wide variety of complex positions and develops crediting plans to assess varying degrees of job qualifications. checkmark N/A
Analyses trends and forecast changes in workforce requirements and implements agency-wide policy on workforce downsizing and reshaping. N/A checkmark
Develops and implements promotion procedures consistent with the agency’s merit promotion plan. N/A checkmark
Develops selection guidance to be used across organization or component lines. N/A checkmark
Integrates a variety of strategic hiring flexibilities to address recruitment and retention problems. N/A checkmark
Recommends innovative methods and strategies to resolve problems of job turnover, under representation, downsizing, and workforce planning. N/A checkmark
Supervisory Positions Only GS-11 GS-12
Plans and schedules ongoing work on a quarterly or annual basis. checkmark checkmark
Recommends adjustments to staffing levels or work procedures to accommodate resource decisions made at higher levels. checkmark checkmark
Oversees the development of technical data, estimates, statistics, suggestions, and other information useful to higher-level managers in determining goals and objectives to emphasize. checkmark checkmark
Conducts a wide range of activities related to staff work, such as: assigning work, tracking progress, and approving the final work product. checkmark checkmark
Evaluates subordinate work performance and counsels subordinates on both work and administrative matters. checkmark checkmark
Identifies developmental and training needs of employees. checkmark checkmark
Resolves complaints and effects minor disciplinary measures when necessary. checkmark checkmark
Prepares reports and communications for senior management/supervisors. checkmark checkmark
Training Areas
Training Areas
Understanding the Training Areas

  • Federal Staffing Strategies
  • Staffing Policy and Regulations
  • Posting Job Announcements
  • Project Management
  • Research and Data Analysis
  • Mentoring Employees
  • Improving Employee Performance and Productivity
  • Conducting Employee Performance Appraisals in Accordance with Agency Systems
  • Identifying and Assisting Employees with Unacceptable Performance
  • Training Individuals Making Career Transitions (e.g., non-supervisory to manager, or manager to executive)
Please note that this information is for development purposes only and does not address position requirements or your eligibility for a particular job. For information about Governmentwide qualifications requirements, please refer to Additionally, there may be position-specific requirements, including specialized experience. Your supervisor can provide more information on these additional requirements.