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Human Resources Specialist (Staffing) — Entry-Level, GS-5/7/9

Career Stage
Career Stage Flowchart
Flowchart Description: HR Assistants advance to the GS 7 Level, while Student Career Experience Program members advance to the GS 5 Level, and then to the GS 7 Level. From the GS 7 Level employees may advance to the GS 9 Level and then to the Full Performance Level. From the GS 9 Level employees may advance to the Full Performance Supervisory Level but this is a less common career advancement. Employees may be hired into any of the levels from outside the Federal Government and may change to different technical area throughout the advancement procedure.
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General Competencies
General Competencies
Understanding the Competency Information

General Competencies Proficiency Level
GS-5 GS-7 GS-9
Attention to Detail: Is thorough when performing work and conscientious about attending to detail. 2 3 3
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. 1 2 2
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. 2 2 2
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. 3 3 3
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. 2 2 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. 2 2 3
Influencing/Negotiating: Persuades others to accept recommendations, cooperate, or change their behavior; works with others towards an agreement; negotiates to find mutually acceptable solutions. 2 2 2
Information Management: Identifies a need for and knows where or how to gather information; organizes and maintains information or information management systems. 2 2 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. 3 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. 3 3 3
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. 1 2 2
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. 2 2 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. 1 2 2
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. 2 2 2
Problem Solving: Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations. 2 2 2
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. 1 2 2
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. 2 3 3
Reasoning: Identifies rules, principles, or relationships that explain facts, data, or other information; analyzes information and makes correct inferences or draws accurate conclusions. 2 2 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. 2 2 3
Stress Tolerance: Deals calmly and effectively with high stress situations (for example, tight deadlines, hostile individuals, emergency situations, dangerous situations). 2 2 3
Teamwork: Encourages and facilitates cooperation, pride, trust, and group identity; fosters commitment and team spirit; works with others to achieve goals. 2 2 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. 2 2 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 2 2
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. 2 2 3
Technical Competencies
Technical Competencies
Understanding the Competency Information

Technical Competencies Proficiency Level
GS-5 GS-7 GS-9
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. 2 2 3
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. 1 2 3
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. 1 2 2
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. 1 1 2
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. 1 2 2
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. 1 2 2
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. 1 1 2
Employee Benefits: Knowledge of HR concepts, principles, and practices related to retirement, insurance, injury compensation, and other employee benefits programs. 1 1 2
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. 1 1 2
Hiring Process Management: Knowledge of the principles, procedures, and steps that make up the Federal Hiring Process, including roles, responsibilities, timeframes, and resources. 1 2 2
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. 1 1 2
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. 1 1 2
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. 1 2 2
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. 1 2 2
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 1 2 2
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. 1 2 2
Technical Documentation: Knowledge of procedures for developing technical and operational support documentation (for example, case files, processing personnel actions). 1 2 3
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. 1 2 2
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. 1 1 2
Critical Developmental Activities
Critical Developmental Activities
Understanding the Critical Developmental Activities

To Strengthen General Competencies
  • Actively participate on a team.
  • Volunteer to participate in a high-visibility project.
  • Learn about the agency where you work.
  • Learn new technologies (e.g., through self-study, seminars).
  • Study technical writing as it applies to your work role.
  • Attend technical conferences, meetings, or seminars.
  • Join an industry or professional association.
  • Read technical publications to keep up-to-date on new development in your field (e.g., books, professional newsletters, trade journals).
  • Conduct briefings.
  • Build an informal network of peers through which you can exchange ideas and discuss issues relevant to technical advances in your field.
  • Learn from others on the job (e.g., obtain on-the-job training, ask others for guidance).
  • Find a mentor for technical and/or career guidance.
  • Study lessons learned from reviews of failed and successful projects.
  • Gain an understanding of basic position management and classification.
  • Gain an understanding of job analysis.
  • Gain a basic understanding of the agency budgeting process.
To Strengthen Technical Competencies
  • Use the staffing process to fill a job and learn standard authorities.
  • Participate in college recruitment events.
  • Research USAJOBS for examples of well written, succinct job announcements.
  • Apply formal training and learn how to qualify applicants.
  • Establish a recruitment plan for a specific position (i.e., meet with a Hiring Manager; create a service level agreement, marketing plan, etc). (GS-9 only)
  • Review OPM guidance on writing effective job announcements. (GS-9 only)
Job Tasks
Job Tasks
Works with Senior Human Resources Specialists to: GS-5 GS-7 GS-9
Develop job opportunity announcements for entry-level positions that meet legal and regulatory requirements. checkmark checkmark N/A
Develop rating factors and crediting plans for entry-level positions. checkmark checkmark N/A
Use a variety of standard recruitment strategies to identify internal and external candidates for entry-level positions. checkmark checkmark N/A
Rate applications for entry-level positions and refers candidates to selecting officials for consideration. checkmark checkmark N/A
Describe the organization’s hiring process to employees and managers. checkmark checkmark N/A
Identify, categorize, and analyze quantitative data associated with recruitment. checkmark checkmark N/A
Apply standardized legal, regulatory, and policy issuances that govern a specific application of a staffing function (e.g., mandatory placement program guidelines, procedural approaches available for workforce shaping). checkmark checkmark N/A
Develop rating factors and crediting plans for job announcements for journey and expert level positions. N/A N/A checkmark
Provide technical guidance on the impact of agency-directed actions (e.g., reduction-in-force, transfer of function, reorganization). N/A N/A checkmark
Provide guidance to management on all staffing issues and recommends innovative methods and strategies to resolve problems. N/A N/A checkmark
Engage in strategic recruitment planning and advises management officials on procedural and regulatory requirements. N/A N/A checkmark
Perform external recruitment by developing multiple recruitment strategies utilizing such sources as veteran’s readjustment, reinstatement, and direct-hire appointment authorities. N/A N/A checkmark
Advise management on applying new HR flexibilities and programs. N/A N/A checkmark
Provide technical guidance on advanced in-hire rates. N/A N/A checkmark
Conduct job analyses on a wide variety of complex positions and develops crediting plans to assess varying degrees of job qualifications. N/A N/A checkmark
Training Areas
Training Areas
Understanding the Training Areas

  • Federal Recruitment Strategies
  • Staffing Policy and Regulations
  • Posting Job Announcements
  • Project Management
  • Research and Data Analysis
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.