Tuesday, October 4, 2011

2012 PMF Online Assessment: Open Thread

According to the PMF Program Office, more than 9000 people applied for the PMF program this year. I haven't seen any official word on how many nominations resulted, nor have I seen any official list (if you've got a link to one, we would all be most appreciative).

Anyway, that presumably means some 9000 of you are or will be taking the online assessment. This is your thread to talk about the assessment, but keep in mind that, since it runs through October 10, 2011, it is probably unwise to reveal any substantive details about what you've found on the test. Once the testing window closes, please feel free to say as much as you want about the contents. They tend to change every year anyway. In the mean time, we would all be very interested to hear if you have taken the test, if you've had particular technical issues, what your thoughts are on the efficacy of the test, and any other assessment chatter you'd care to share.

As a side note: I have never seen the (entire) modern incarnation of this assessment, nor was the assessment offered online when I did take a version of it in 2009, so if you have specific technical or administrative questions, you'll have to rely on each other for answers.

243 comments:

  1. Has anyone else not received any email regarding the assessment?

    I completed the application and was nominated. Both materials were submitted a week before their respective deadlines. I have received neither the link to the online assessment nor the rejection notice (though I don't see any reason why I would not be eligible).

    OPM has not responded to my email sent over 24 hours ago, and the PMF application hotline is only a recorded messaage. I would appreciate any advice or tips.

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  2. Right now, I'm anxiously waiting for OPM to resend my invitation link--somehow, it was lost in the email abyss.

    As an aside, I am slightly annoyed by the presumption that on-line assessment invitation errors are, by default, the result of end-user issues (eg. "spam folders, incorrect email address.

    I actually find it quite plausible, given the volume of applications/nomination forms, et al., juxtaposed with an aggressive time line, that there exists significant possibility for error.

    I'll just use this time to mentally prepare for the exam; and get whatever "tips" I can gather from on-line discourse.

    Despite whatever perceived "advantage" the late testers might gather on-line, I do agree that substantive details are best omitted.

    Good luck all...

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  3. Rosie, several friends and I were nominated, and "eligible"; yet have not received an on-line assessment invitation email. We only found out that we were "eligible" when the reminder email was sent yesterday. Did you receive the "reminder email?"

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  5. @tish -- I've never gotten any reminder email, nor any confirmation that I was nominated or eligible. (My nomination form is visible on Application Manager, and datestamped 9/23.)

    How did you get in touch with OPM? Call? Email? I know they said not to call, but I'm geting anxious because I haven't received any emails from them aside from the initial application submitted confirmation.

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  6. Rosie, I sent an email.

    I know this is intuitive--my apologies if it reads condescending--but, have you received ANY correspondence from OPM? It might be that you need to check the email that you used for the application. Note: I am by no means an expert on this process.

    Good luck.

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  7. Thanks, Tish. Without any word from OPM, it's at least somewhat helpful to hear from others about kinks in this process.

    I did recive the "Acknowledgement of Occupational Questionnaire" from OPM, as I mentioned before. I've done due diligence on my part---checking my spam folder and many times verifying my email address was correct.

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  8. I too have not heard from OPM, and my application is complete and I did receive my school's nomination. I have received emails from OPM before, and I have sent an email inquiring about my status but I haven't heard back in 24 hours as well. It's very nerve wrecking considering the 10th is coming up fast!

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  9. I have received it (last friday) and completed the online test and everything on Saturday. I am because we were allotted 10 minutes at the end to answer an essay question and i went over by 47 seconds. The webpage did not alert me I had 5 minuted left like it said it would and I just clicked submit after I realized it seemed like 10 minutes had elapsed. What will happen to my application? Will they just discard everything after 10 mins or am I automatically disqualified?

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  10. I'm also in the same position...I'm definitely eligible, filled out the application fully (and verified this in the Application Manager), received a nomination, and heard nothing back from OPM. I sent them an email yesterday (Monday) and have still heard nothing back. So frustrating, but glad to hear I'm not alone.

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  11. Good news, folks! I received the assessment link from OPM. It was sent well after close of business this evening, interestingly, and is a form letter rather than a direct response to my inquiry. I am keeping my fingers crossed the rest of you have similar emails coming soon!

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  12. That's wonderful, Rosie. I guess they are actively working down the list of "oops, we forgot those folks!" I am am curious, however--did the email indicate that it was a "re-transmission"; or was it the original email. Good Luck!

    *Update*

    As I was writing this, I received an email to take the on-line assessment. Hang in there folks, obviously the invites are coming...

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  13. I know this is off topic from this subject. I will be taking the online assessment. How well do agencies match or exceed salaries of incoming PMFs? My total compensation (private firm) is at a GS-13 level. I'd be willing to drop to a GS-12 step 6 or 7. I'm in Cybersecurity with 16 years IT experience. I'm aware that they just started the Technology Fellows. Will they understand the nature of salaries in the IT industry? Or is it just GS-9 across the board? I've read some comments where people got in at GS-11/12 levels. My PMF representative mentioned that they only budget for GS-9 salaries and that coming in any higher was not possible.

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  14. Starting grade and step is negotiable for most agencies, especially if your experience is directly related to the job you are taking. The highest grade at which they can appoint you is GS-12, and the highest grade you can hold while under the program is GS-13. As far as I know, there is no cap on the within-grade step they can offer you. It will be up to you to negotiate this with any agencies. They do understand what IT people are capable of making outside the government, which is why so many, especially in computer programming and IT security, are either contractors or hired on special pay bands that are more flexible than GS pay scales.

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  15. That's great. Thanks. Getting tired of working for shareholders. Would like to serve my country now. Concerning the online assessment, I feel that it's just a myers-briggs test that focuses on leadership and interpersonal skills. Does any one know what "leadership standards" they derive the assessment from? My school had a study session last night and the rep stated that the program focuses on tact, teamwork, self awareness in a organization (know your place?). I forget what the other two are. But it seems if you've been pretty successful in the corporate world, you would score well on the assessment.

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  16. I am still waiting to receive a link or directions for the online assessment. I have sent OPM two emails in the past few days but haven't heard back. Tomorrow, I leave for a trip. It really is a frustrating wait. Anyone else still waiting?

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  17. I'm in the same boat. I received the email Monday from PMFApplication@opm.gov saying I should have received the email/link with the online assessment invitation on Friday 8/30. I have checked junked/spam and emailed PMFApp twice with no response back so far. There doesn't appear to be anything I can do but wait. Bummer.

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  18. I also haven't heard anything, and am getting really worried. I just emailed them, but it doesn't sound like they are getting back to the rest of you all that quickly... Really starting to worry.

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  19. For those of you searching for another way to contact PMF, I noticed that they have an active facebook account.

    https://www.facebook.com/PMFProgram

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  20. That reminds me. I should probably create an updated page containing all of the various PMF related communities out there. When I published the original post about it, the PMF Program wasn't on Facebook yet.

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  21. For all of you worrying, in the email I received with the link for the Online Assessment, it said that the assessment must be completed by October 10th or 48 hours after receiving the email, whichever is later. So it seems like they are allowing for some time after the 10th for those who receive the email/links later in the week.

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  22. Make sure your ad-blockers are turned off as well as other potential security measures that may affect the test. In my opinion, they should have an example link that tests all of your configurations ahead of time.

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  23. Has anyone had problems with their nomination showing up? I contacted my school to verify that I was nominated and the form was faxed in by the deadline-it was. I then contacted the PMF email address and they said that there was a backlog-I'm just not sure if I need to be concerned at this point or wait patiently?

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  24. FYI - PMF just posted this to their Facebook page:

    "Due to the volume of email traffic to the pmfapplication inbox, responses have been delayed. To addrress the problem, another email is being sent to all eligible applicants who have not entered the assessment site. The email will contain an individual link to the assessment."

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  25. I was wondering if anyone had gotten this new email yet. I am also in the nominated-eligible-no email yet category.

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  26. I just got the new reminder email at about 9:30 EDT (today, 10/7) if that helps.

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  27. I also go the email this morning at about 9:30. I had spoken to someone at the PMF office, and they had wanted to know if I had emailed pmfapplication@opm.gov (I had). I was told to email them again about noon if I had not received the reminder email.

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  28. teewye: Thanks for the update. I hadn't got a link, or even response to the mail I'd sent on Tuesday evening, so I mailed again at noon as you suggested and got a response within an hour. Phew! This was the best source of updates on the web, thank you all!

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  29. Folks, any word yet? I have yet to receive any eligibility/assessment emails. I emailed the office yesterday, but no response... a little concerned that this won't be sorted out before the deadline. Altho, I understand there's a 48 hr limit after receiving the link. Suggestions?

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  31. Kaitbr 24: I'm not sure about the 48 hour limit. My email said that you have a 48 hour window if you've filled for a reasonable accommodation by 11:59pm Oct 10, but anyone else needs to complete the survey in time (others who received the mail feel free to correct me if I misunderstood). PMF posted on Facebook that all would be out by Monday morning, which means that those folks would need to complete the test that day.

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  32. I just took the exam. Everything was pretty much as I had expected except that the 10 minutes for the essay seemed to FLY BY. It was definitely a race against the clock.

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  33. Hello fellow applicants. I have officially cleared my calendar for the afternoon, sent my dissertation draft to my chair; and prepared to go take the on-line assessment.

    I'll debrief everyone on the experience--sans the details of the exam questions--in about 4 hours.

    Fingers crossed....

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  35. Good luck everyone. I just finished the assessment and I am just glad that it's done so I can move on

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  36. Good luck to all. Just completed the online assessment. It went well. Now just hoping that I make the cut. It is unclear to me how many from 9,000+ will be selected. I will be hopeful.

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  37. Ali, they'll cut the field down to around 1,600 after the online assessment, so it's a pretty deep cut.

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  39. Just took the online assessment...glad to be finished with it...but now the waiting must begin...ugh!!

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  40. I was in the middle of taking the online assessment when I suddenly bumped back to Question 1 of the section I was on, then a "Connection was Reset" error page. Tried to re-enter from the original link and was told my time had expired. Then they asked me to certify my half-completed results. I declined.

    Does anyone know who to contact besides the generic UsaJobsAsess help desk? Much appreciated!

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  41. Are PMF selections discipline agnostic? I'm coming at this from an engineering PhD perspective, which seems rarer than J.D. or humanities applicants. Is that going to help me, or be irrelevant?

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  42. RE: Disciplines. I think that, like most criteria, it's unknown how it impacts selection. Background and discipline obviously shape what types of opportunities are available to finalists and perhaps they take discipline into account at the semi-final level--either looking for particular "high value" applicants or by attempting to put together a diverse class. Although I think the really high proportion of JDs would indicate that they're fairly discipline agnostic and that JDs are probably both self-selected at higher rates and tend to perform better on the exam, due to structural and training issues. Frankly, everyone knows that there is a massive glut of underemployed law grads so I can't imagine they would be so overrepresented if the program administers were intervening based on discipline. They're a dime a dozen. So I'd guess that it won't matter until the final stage.

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  43. RE: Disciplines
    I don't know either of course, but I suspect getting to the finalist stage is rather discipline-agnostic.

    Pmfellow or anyone else, have you ever seen a count of the number of initial applicants by degree? I'd certainly be curious to know more about who the process selects. And is there any impact of geography (where you're applying from)? I know many more applicants come from the East coast and specifically the DC area. Does that mean us Westerners have an easier time?

    I do think that once you are a finalist getting HIRED can definitely be dependent on your discipline. For one thing looking at the current finalists list, the JDs are clearly less likely to be in a position now than the less common degrees. Also, interestingly by my basic number crunching it does not appear that having veterans preference is much help in landing a job as a PMF. Again, I don't know if it helped in getting to the finalist stage.

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  44. Is there a way to know the disciplines and agency placement of last year's PMF? That is, 8 JDs went to DoJ, as an example.

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  45. @ Anonymous--19:46: The list provided for the previous year's PMF, indicated that a disproportionate number of finalists were JDs.

    While this leads me to question to what degree I am a competitive candidate (my discipline is NOT law--policy, but not law, I do not have Veteran's preference; yet my institution was in the top 5 for finalists) I am cautiously, optimistic.

    So, who knows? It all seems a bit arbitrary; or based on criteria none of us--despite our attempted analysis--can figure out.

    My belief: At this point, we have done all that we can to secure our place as a semi-finalist. Now, the next step is out of our hands.

    Good luck!

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  47. Tish, most impressive of your school. Here's hoping you make it. (My school usually has one or two at most in the finalists. I am not from an ivy school.) My field is not law. It is education. The list could have more categories: discipline, school, degree, agency.

    I also think if the Fed. govt. is facing retirement, then they need to increase the number of semi-finalists first (and then finalists later). Send more and more PMFs everywhere in the US.

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  48. I think I make some comment on this topic at least once a year. ;)

    You all can try the analysis if you'd like. I have some information, but the rest you're going to have to try to match up on your own. This will be a fairly long and involved comment, but hear me out.

    First, here's the kind of information I have at my disposal from the 2011 class: I have the list of nominees (but not the list of applicants) which includes ONLY last name and school. I have the list of semifinalists (again, last name and school), and I have the list of finalists, which includes the name, school, and graduate degree fields.

    What I don't have is the same level of detail for all of the PMF phases for any year. The information is not readily consumable in the first place (I collect it once each year, but it requires a very tedious copy/paste operation and an equally tedious data cleanup and formatting operation before I can even insert it into a database).

    What I also don't have, because it's never been feasible to collect, is the final score, if you will, the official list of those who are placed into which agencies. The reason it's not feasible is because it's a list in motion for most of a year after it's posted, and it is replaced prior to finalization by the next year's list of finalists. If you have a high threshold for tedium, you may attempt to do something with the current set of finalist data dealing with agency placement if you like. Short of having it provided to me by the PMF program office, I have few resources to invest (and commensurate interest) in tackling that kind of mountain.

    But it's not all sheer impossibility. We can infer from what data there is that JDs are indeed over-represented in the PMF finalist sets as a function of the overall job-seeking population, but it is highly doubtful that this number represents anything beyond a large starting base of JDs. This is a consequence of the program's origins, where it originally targeted those in legal, public policy, and international affairs type degree fields. That is, the number of JDs in the initial applicant/nominee set is a legacy effect. After the program was last reformed (in 2003 I think), it opened up the allowable degree fields. However, awareness of the program has not kept pace with this increase in eligibility, which means there is a definite East coast bias in all phase sets. (My previous calculations indicated that, among the top four or five PMF finalist producing schools, the share of finalists decreased directly according to distance from OPM headquarters; this means GWU, which is right across the street from OPM, has the highest number of finalists). Given that a large percentage of PMF jobs are probably (though not provably) filled in DC, one would imagine those closest to DC having the highest initial interest...

    So let's recap:

    1) Yes, there are lots of JDs in the finalist pool, and it is almost certainly because there are more JDs in the applicant/nominee pool. This would indicate that JDs have no advantage in this process. If I had the degree fields at all stages, we could measure for statistical significance of any variations we saw.

    2) Yes, there is an East coast bias in all phases of the PMF process. This is likely a consequence of interest and willingness to relocate to DC.

    What does this mean for those of you who don't fit in the East Coast, JD/Public Policy/International Affairs paradigm? It means you have as much chance as anyone of becoming a finalist. It also means that, on the one hand, you may have less competition for securing appointments, but on the other hand, there may be fewer such opportunities available in the first place. But this is speculation based on a lack of concrete data, so take it for what you think it's worth.

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  49. Thanks! PMF Fellow, you rock! I think the odds of making it to the actual placement (getting to semis, being a finalist, graduating in spring/summer, getting an officer, starting a position) makes PMF the most difficult than any. It is like running for an office (you announce [nominated], win a primary [semi], win the general [finalist], etc.). It may be easier to be elected than to be a PMF. Wow! Though I am suddenly feeling that I am not going to make it and I better start applying via usajobs. The schools that have PMF offices/coordinators to help applicants are the best schools. I wish I was in such a school. One starts with a disadvantage.

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  50. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Anonymous @ 7:33 AM.

    My only advantage applying to the program in late 2008 for the 2009 class was veterans preference. I didn't at the time live anywhere near DC, and my school knew nothing about the program. So I guess I'm just suggesting to hang in there :)

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  51. Thanks! PMF Fellow. I hope to hear something from OPM in next three weeks.

    NB: I have many questions for later stage, if I am make it, such as why people start early and why people are starting their positions just now. If people graduate in spring/summer, can they be a finalist and end up with no offers. Is there an advantage to have graduated this fall instead of before the Aug. 31/2012 deadline? If you are closer to the deadline, then the offers will be less or none?

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  52. Took the assessment yesterday. Yes, 10 minutes is not long at all when you have to formulate your thoughts and put them on paper. It's in God's hands now. All I can do is wait. I do hope my location and major plays a part regarding the new Tech Fellows program which will draw from the pool of PMFs. I'm 25 minutes from the Capitol and NSA and a cyber security major.

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  53. A question here about "Tech Fellows". Was this an option? I must have missed selecting it somewhere. I did not see this mentioned in the essay question.

    Does the location play a role? If your major is cyber security, then surely you will be selected. All best.

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  54. The Tech Fellows program is brand new. It was just announced last month when I was doing research on the PMF program. They said it was to increase the IT numbers in the government. I guess it is a way to better compete with the private industry in snagging tech grads. Just do a search on Tech Follows together with PMF and you should find it. Or go to www.cio.gov.

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  55. Thanks! Adelphi_Sky: Well, one learns something new everyday. I totally missed the notice (http://www.cio.gov/documents/TechFellows_Announcement_Final.pdf). I did not see it anywhere. I think there is no separate application for TF. One has to apply in PMF and somehow indicate TF. Not sure how one applies or how one is selected for it in the semi-finalist stage. Did you actually select TF option somewhere?

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  56. Thanks, Anonymous at 10:51 AM. That link is...interesting. I had heard mention of it, but this is the first time I've gotten a chance to really sit down and look at what they want to do.

    I have some problems with the Federal CIO Council's approach here. The biggest problem is that people with IT backgrounds are comparatively rare applicants to the PMF program, so piggy-backing there seems unwise at best. We can speculate as to why that is until we're blue in the face. My guesses are that IT, when you can get a job in the first place, pays better than a GS-9 (and in fact, midway through GS-11 is more likely to approach private sector pay scales); and the shift from deeply technical hands-on work to high level policy work is not one that many IT professionals are willing to make.

    So one of two things happens with this iteration of the TFP: either it fails to attract anything approaching critical mass; or it puts a bunch of PMF finalists into positions that don't really interest them.

    To test this, let me conduct a quick non-scientific poll: how many of you would take a shot at a cybersecurity job just for the prospect of having a job? How many of you are even interested in cybersecurity?

    (I should probably open a real poll just to see if we can figure this out).

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  57. Oh, and I should mention this: when I say that IT professionals don't seem to be attracted to the PMF program, I speak from experience (not mine; I was attracted to it and joined up). Not too long ago, I scoured the 2011 class for anyone who had even a smidgen of an IT background (we were looking to hire someone), and I came up pretty dry. I think I ended up with a list of about 10 people that weren't already taken, but within that group, the definition of IT was somewhat stretched. I would estimate that maybe a dozen or so from the 2011 class had a credible IT background.

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  58. (And boo to Blogspot for no comment editing feature)

    I pointed at cybersecurity as an example, by the way. I realize the TF Program is broader than that, but considering the growing reactionism surrounding IT security, it is likely that a good number of TFs will end up in that particular domain.

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  59. PMF Fellow, Thanks! Yes, I have IT background. The problem I see is different. You have to make the semi-finalist first then the finalist. Then go to the job fair. Then someone from CIO will consider you as a TF. You do not apply. I am not sure how Adelphi-sky applied for TF. It is not possible given the document. So, there are many steps. I also think there is an issue about TF document. It has a waiver or some language about US citizens. PMF is for US citizens. It is likely that some in TF may not have that status at that time.

    What about security clearance? If you have it, then does that make you more eligible?

    Finally, yes, I would be interested in cyber-security. I would be open to any job. Any. Job. In. The. Govt.

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  60. Ah, but the point is, Anonymous, that you already have an IT background. You are already a needle in a haystack.

    As for applying, this is the relevant text:

    "Fellows will be selected through the PMF process, and will be
    under a temporary two-year appointment codified by the current Executive Order 13318 and soon to
    be Executive Order 13562 that governs the PMF Program. Participants in the Technology Fellows
    Program will be “appointed” and “recorded” as PMFs\Fellows; however, they will have a working
    title of “Technology Fellows”."

    It means you must be a PMF finalist to be considered, presumably, unless there is some secondary siphoning mechanism available to TFP coordinators (which I suppose is possible).

    Active security clearance can help your chances, especially if you go work for an agency that uses the clearances issued by the authority that issued yours. If not, you would have to undergo a background investigation conducted for the agency by their own recognized issuer. It's byzantine, yes.

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  61. PMF Fellow: Thanks.

    It is unclear to me how one gets selected to the semi-finalist stage when one has IT background.

    The selection to semis is just on the on-line assessment scores. OPM needs to filter and that is the best way. So, no amount of interest in TF or relevant experience to TF will help.

    I now wish there was some sort of section in the PMF application (that we had to submit in Sept) that allowed us to indicate interest in TF. Oh well....

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  62. @Anonymous - I didn't apply to the TF program. Like I said, it is new. I just got nominated by my school in September. That article was printed in September. So, I'm learning about it after the fact as well. I imagine there will be some IT departments at the job fair looking for TFs that are finalists. I had no idea that IT PMFs were rare.

    @PMF Fellow, to be honest, I wouldn't mind lifting up out of the deep technical areas to create policy.

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  63. Do you have any information on how PMF makes a selection? How do people make it to the live interview level?

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  64. From what I've heard, they take the assessment scores and look for some kind of a natural break in the clustering. The number that keeps getting tossed around in the comments is 1,600 so I guess that means they will look for some kind of a gap in scores around that number of nominees to form the semifinalist pool. It's in your best interest, therefore, to score well on the assessment.

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  65. Arizona Buckeye Fan: All best. Great question.

    PMF Fellow: You know more. So, please share: How to score well on the assessment. The gov.loop doc. said: be honest and be consistent. I suspect everyone does well. Every says: they were the best in the assessment. How does the OPM really (exactly) narrow from 9,000+ to 1,600+?

    Do they look at the GPA?

    Do they look at the resume at all?

    Can people game the on-line assessment? Is there a set of answers that are most expected? If so, then I am doomed already.

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  66. I could only speculate, but gaming the system doesn't seem to be a wise approach. They do not look at GPA, and they do not look at your resume. Only agencies look at your credentials once you are a finalist and they are looking to hire.

    Semifinalists are chosen based on assessment score. The advice the Govloop document is probably sound.

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  67. Well, PMF Fellow, I suspect this is a strange way to reduce from 9,000 to 1,600 based on assessment scores. Why have people submit a resume to take the test? Why not take the test and if you are chosen based on your score, then submit your resume, etc.? I think I would be pleased had the selection team looked at everything: scores, resume, gpa, discipline relevancy. If I did not make it, then I would feel okay. At least, the process (selection) would be thorough. The online exam, if you will, had no wrong or right answer. It all depends. There got to be a better way to reduce from 9,000 to 1,600....That's all I am saying.

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  68. @Anonymous

    Their was a right and wrong answer to the questions on the assessment. It is a situational judgement test geared towards leadership. They are looking for candidates with not only the skills (resume), knowledge (GPA), but also whether or not they have the potential to be good leaders. The assessment helps to weed those people out. Then it comes down to resumes and grades.

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  69. Does anyone know how many people were invited to take the on-line assessmen test?

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  70. They do not look at resumes in any portions of the assessment. Resumes are reviewed by potential employers after making it to the finalist stage. The online assessment is the major cut off because they don't have the personnel to review 9,000 resumes or an equitable way to compare such diverse backgrounds.
    FYI-not to be discouraging, but I hope you are all keeping abreast of the current political situation and the fact that many lawmakers are working to reduce the federal workforce through massive budget cuts. It's a tough environment with a lot of competition, just a heads up.

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  71. I finished the whole assessment in about an hour. I breezed through the personality and situational awareness sections. My strategy was to go with my gut instinct and not think twice. Even if being honest, there was a temptation to over-think each question. I decided I was better off not deliberating too much, though it remains to be seen if this was a wise approach.

    For the essay, on the other hand, time flew by -- and not in a good way. I was rushed and struggling to beat the clock. I ended feeling dissatisfied with the substance of what I wrote, but I am thankful I managed to write down 3 coherent paragraphs on everything asked for in the prompt.

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  72. I wrote about 250+ words and I was cut off on my concluding sentence. Actually the preceding sentence was a concluding sentence but I wanted to add something memorable like a quote...stupid, I know.

    Either way, I just assume because of the cut, I am getting cut. But If I get to the next stage, at least I will be pleasantly surprised.

    But did you notice a lot of the personality questions were duplicates? It seems they really want to know your answer on those questions.

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  73. @Arizonan

    They were checking for consistency to see if you were trying to answer what you thought they wanted to hear. I noticed they asked questions I answered at the beginning towards the end - to see if my answer changed no doubt. Clever.

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  74. I will not make the cut. Here is why:

    - I got stuck in the written assessment. I ended up with just over 200+ (a few small paragraphs). I think I had a typo but not sure.

    - I think I may have answered questions (that were duplicate) in two different ways.

    - I was confused at a few questions and this took time. I must have responded incorrectly as I was not confident.

    In any event, I think I am disappointed at the way I did the test.

    All best to all.

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  75. @Anonymous

    Don't sell yourself short. You may have done better than you think. There are times when I thought I performed terribly. Then I find out that I didn't better than I thought. The only thing I suck at is raffles, the lottery, and sweepstakes. :)

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  76. Hey anonymous 11:47 - you just summarized MY assessment experience :)

    Don't worry! If we're tenacious enough to want to do this thing, then we will be tenacious enough to explore other options if this doesn't pan out.

    Good luck, everyone. :)

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  77. Hi all,

    Interesting reading all the comments, nice to have a community of other folks going through this process.

    I thought the whole assessment was interesting. On one hand I think I rarely if ever said I was most likely to go tell my boss. I was usually much more inclined to confront the situation/person directly. For some reason I don't feel like that was the best idea, but I figured I'd go with the honest approach.

    I liked the writing part if only because it was straight forward. I managed about 500 words on it but got cut off on my final sentence. But it was the only part of the whole test where I felt very strong about my performance, minus that cut off point.

    All in all, it should be interesting to see what develops next. I am assuming the target is to get answers back to folks in the next three weeks- anyone have any more concrete ideas on that?

    PMF Fellow- this blog is great- thank you!

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  78. @Patrick

    I asked the same question in another forum and a 2011 PMF answered and said they got notified in late November. So, it may be a while.

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  79. The PMF website says that, by 1 November 2011:

    - Applicants notified on eligibility and nomination status
    - Semi-finalists selected and notified
    - Semi-finalists scheduled and notified for in-person assessments

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  80. Kase and Adelphi-Sky:

    Thanks! The PMF program is out of my system now. I know I did bad; I cannot believe it. I think I was over anxious. In hind-sight, this would have helped:

    - Great night sleep, followed by an early morning exercise.
    - No interaction with anyone, some meditation, green tea.
    - Test first thing in the morning, no breaks, section 1 to 3.
    - A home run.

    I am of course joking. But, it is off my system. I think only having 200+ words with a few duplicate questions/conflicts will not allow to be in the semis. To get in the semis, one has to be close to perfect: At least close to 500 words, no conflicts in questions.

    All best to all.

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  81. Unless I recall incorrectly, the essay had a 150 word minimum, right? What's the source of these rumors that 200+ is insufficient?

    In reality, most of us will be cut. However, I think it is counterproductive to speculate here how "badly" each of us did. It's a personality test, not the SAT. We don't know what OPM's is looking for and its criteria for grading.

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  82. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  83. Correction: Leaders don't type, we dictate. :-)

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  84. yeah, i agree w/ the comment @ 6:33. no one on here has any clue what the cut-off re: words would be (besides, obviously the 150 words stated in the instructions). nonetheless, i will go out on a limb & opine that it is *highly* unlikely that one would *need* to type ~500 words to make it to the final round. that's just silly. (i.e., 50 words per minute + a thoughtful composition + reading the instructions + spell check + a read through?) -> it is highly doubtful that 1600 of us were capable of doing that. plus, the writing assessment is just one component. so, if someone was in the 200-300 words range and scored superbly on the other 2 sections, i would guess that person definitely has a great chance to get invited back. though, for those who were able to type 500+ coherent words, way to go! and good luck to everyone. :)

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  85. Anyone else at "incomplete" on application manager all of a sudden? I was complete prior to the assessment and now I am freaking out.

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  86. @7:19 - can you post the website to check that on? the one i went to at the beginning seems to no longer be working. though, perhaps i'm confused...
    thanks!

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  87. @TheConditionalVegan

    Mine says Complete. I'm not sure which status is worse. lol Perhaps incomplete means you get to take an interview and complete means nice knowin' ya? Or, it could be the other way around. Who knows?

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  88. I highly suggest bookmarking the PMF facebook page. Many of our questions are answered there, and whoever manages the page seems to do a good job of responding to inquiries. PMF says most recently that the assssment status should not appear as complete: "The status will be updated as a batch once the on-line assessment information is transferred over."

    For those keeping a tally, my own application is "complete" by the assessment says "no results yet."

    @cerra: applicationmanager.gov

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  89. @Rosie

    I just checked my status. I actually clicked the JobID and found where the assessment statuses were. They do say, "No results yet."

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  90. I have read that those who receive the highest score move on the the "in-person" interview...does anyone know what "the highest score" is? Is there a scoring range? I've not been able to research this information....

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  91. @Laura: You should try reading the existing comments and some of the posts on this blog. A real wealth of information.

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  92. Your status will show "no results yet" until they publicly announce who has made the cut. Applicants do not receive their official "scores" on the PMF assessment. My best advice would be to stay abreast of current news, especially political news, do your homework about the traits federal agencies look for, and be confident and articulate. There is no way to "game" the system, the in person assessment identifies those who are good at public speaking and confident, as well as those who have strong critical thinking skills. It's a brutal cut and I wouldn't hedge bets on it because approximately 15% are invited to the in-person and then half of those are deemed "finalists." Then, about half of those are able to find federal positions and agencies that are willing to pay the $7000 fee to hire PMFs. Not to be a downer. I do wish you all the best of luck!

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  93. @PMfellow, 10/10 07:21--Thanks for that explanation. I sort of deduced that the reason for the over representation of JDs was in part due to the historical representation of the law profession in the application process. I am curious to know the proportion of applicants who become finalists, in the other (non-JD)fields, from the applicant pool in those other (non-JD) fields.




    Thanks so much for this thread, BTW...

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  94. Catie Elliot: Thanks. Please can you elaborate on: "It's a brutal cut and I wouldn't hedge bets on it because approximately 15% are invited to the in-person and then half of those are deemed "finalists." What exactly happens at the in-person assessment?

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  95. anon@711: did you read the blog archives? there some very detailed descriptions of people's experiences from last year's assessment process. Be sure to read the comments.

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  96. Try this link to get all of the relevant posts:

    http://pmfellow.blogspot.com/search/label/in-person%20assessment

    Apologies for the non-clickability of the link. Those of you who get an email when someone posts a comment will see the link as clickable in the email message.

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  97. Well, there is so much information that it is not easy to figure out. Is there a specific archive for these items:

    - What exactly happens at the in-person assessment? If it is a test, then what it is? If it is a group project, then what is the process? How long is this activity? Do we have to bring something (laptop)?

    I think the specifics are not there in the thread from last year. Just same old stuff: my group had 10 or 8. That is not important while we wait.

    I need some specific nature of the assessment, as I cannot seem to locate it. If anyone has any document about it, please post here. I am sure many are like me.

    May be there can be another thread: What is in-person assessment? Lessons learned and how to prepare.

    Thanks to all.

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  98. The in-person exam has been redesigned for this year. In the past it has included a small group project, wherein your team discusses a policy/proposal/problem and then makes a brief presentation, and a one-on-one interview where you were asked to speak about a topic for a few minutes to a judge and respond to questions. Apparently this year they have stripped down the process to just an individual interview that will, presumably, also ask you to speak about a topic, but will also involve more traditional experience-based interview questions. "Can you describe an instance where you encountered and overcame adversity at the workplace.." etc. I've heard that these interviews will be with a panel of judges.

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  99. Brad, what's the source of your information? I have pretty good knowledge of last year's in-person assessments, since I spent two days on assessment panels. I was weighing whether I should post a thorough rundown of last year's in-person assessments, but was hesitant in case this year's assessment was very similar.

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  100. What Brad says is consistent with this year's preparation guide. (Anon, did you read that?) Brad, thanks for your post. Somehow it didn't click in my mind that perhaps the assessment is ONLY the structured interview this year. Government cutbacks?

    http://www.pmf.gov/media/38756/2012_pmf_assess_prep_guide_09-21-11.pdf

    "The second phase of the PMF Program’s assessment process is the in-person assessment, a structured
    interview. The structured interview consists of a set of questions related to competencies that are critical for success as a PMF. All semi-finalists will be asked the same set of questions. The interview questions ask candidates to describe their past experiences and activities. Your interview will be conducted and evaluated by a two-person panel. Finalists will be identified based on their performance in the structured interview, and any adjudicated veterans’ preference points."

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  101. Thanks, Rosie. I hadn't noticed that either.

    In that case, I can tell you from my own experience that the 2011 in-person assessments were a challenge. As I mentioned before, I was a panelist for two days (I won't be involved in any way this year except through the blog, btw), and the assessment consisted of an individual and a group presentation. Of the two, the group discussion part was difficult for the panelists, because we had to attempt to keep track of numerous factors, and in cases where some semifinalists were crowded out of the discussion, it was difficult to make a fair assessment. I like the *idea* of the group presentation, but I didn't feel it was executed well enough to get consistent assessments.

    That said, this new approach could be a money-saver as well. In any event, I think it's going to result in a better experience for the semifinalists and the panelists.

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  102. Rosie: Thanks. I am not sure if the guide has _all_ the information about the in-person. I had heard about 2011 (and 2010) via others. Thus, I wanted to know exact specifics of the in-person. Also, I just visited USAjobs.gov 3.0. It is complex.

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  103. Here is the story I was referring about the new jobs site. Hope it will work, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-e-brooks-rix/usajobs-help-not-wanted-b_b_1008711.html.

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  104. i'm glad they changed the assessment, this one sounds more fair and uniform. i assume the in-person assessment will be brutal because whoever makes it that far will be competing with the top 15% of applicants, and half will not be invited to be finalists who can apply for federal jobs through the program.
    per my previous comment, if you want to rise to the top, i highly recommend staying abreast of what is happening politically and economically and be able to talk about it succinctly. i think, aside from writing and speaking skills, that is what will set people apart from every one else.

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  105. Anonymous @ 6:52 PM: It's wise to take what you read on the internet with a grain of salt. Especially if it's on HuffPo (they let anyone write whatever they want on there). Linda Rix appears to have had a longtime axe to grind with USAJOBS, and she co-founded a company that seems to wish it could BE USAJOBS. In any event, transitioning a site to a new service provider is difficult, and you can expect kinks for the first several days even after it opens back up to the public. I mean (and this is speaking from firsthand knowledge), the site has millions of profiles and some 40,000 active jobs on any given day. It looks like it's working well now.

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  107. First, thanks for this thread!
    Second, I am interested to know the methodology behind this assessment system. For instance, one way to develop the SJA is to assess current PMFs--or only current PMFs who have been identified as particularly outstanding--and then base the grading rubric off of those responses. That would have the potential to yield a more sophisticated cross-section of profiles. My guess is that this is *not* how the SJA or even the LEA was developed. Third, I echo many of those who commented above that the writing exercise will be scored based upon grammar/spelling, word count, and maybe some text analysis. Anyway, best of luck to everyone!

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  108. @iowacademic: OPM has a group of Industrial-Organizational Psychologists who develop assessments like this for a living. I don't pretend to know the methodology they use :)

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  109. PMFELLOW: Thanks.

    I continue to be surprised that OPM is not using other items that we have already submitted during their initial/first phase evaluation.

    For instance:
    - They have: Application Manager Questionnaire Answers. This includes our location preferences, skills, etc.
    - They have: Resume

    Why just focus on the on-line essay and responses to a few questions to weed people out?

    I guess I just do not understand. Perhaps, it is because I had only 200+ words and a few conflicting responses. I wish they would look at other things that *they already have* as part of their assessment. Then, if I did not make it, I would be satisfied.

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  110. I am a JD candidate with nearly 10 years in the IT industry. I would be interested in the Technology Fellows program, but I'm not as adept at interpreting government job postings, so I'm not sure what kind of job it would actually be (more technical vs. managerial).

    But the cut-off from the random online assessment is probably more of a roadblock. No idea how I did on that or how it could accurately separate people at the percentages they seem to want to cut.

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  111. In the government's "push" to hire more IT personnel, one would hope that IT applicants would get a second look. but in this economy, I'm not holding my breath.

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  112. My status was just changed from "no results yet" to "complete." A sign of impending selection notifications?

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  113. Maxwell,

    Me too! Let's hope this means we will find out sooner than November 1st.. even if it is only a few days difference. I can't wait to find out if I made it to the next stage of the process!

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  114. Have you guys been checking every day? I'm just waiting on the email.

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  115. I likewise noticed my status changed to "complete." I assume--like others--that the "complete" indicates that they are moving through the process; and we should hear something soon.

    What I was able to gather from the last year's thread, was that there appears to be some suggestions that notifications are alphabetical...or based on geography, or requested assessment site.

    I'm a "B", school--DC, and DC for assessment site, so we shall see...

    Good luck all.

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  116. I am assuming that the "complete" is being listed next to the "written test"?

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  117. My status also reads "complete", but it also says my external assessment is complete. What is the "external assessment"? I thought it was the interview (which, of course, I have not yet undergone).

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  118. Bart - I would not worry about the external assessment. Mine has been marked complete since 9/25/2011.

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  119. My comment next to "written test" still says no results yet. However, I do not have a date under the date submitted column. Does this mean they didn't receive my submission of the on-line assessment?

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  120. Mine is indicated the same way. No date for 'written test'. I think it is OK still.

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  121. @Tish: My (potentially relevant) details are identical to yours, so post when you find out. If our timeframes corresponds, perhaps we can help crack the code for future applicants.

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  122. I have the exact same scenario for my written test as well: "No results yet" and no date either. I would assume that this is how it is for pretty much everyone, since it looks as though we aren't alone in seeing this status for the written test.

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  123. @Brad...No problem--don't mind testing theories with you. Although I must admit, my suggestions are not original--many from last year drew similar inferences. So who knows.... :-)

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  124. My status for the written test is the same too...the waiting is simply awful!!! I was hoping we would hear something today....

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  125. Here is what I have as of today (10/28).

    Application Package Status: Complete [This would be on the header of your PMF application.]

    Under the heading, Assessments, it will have first item as: Written Test. This has no date submitted or due date. That is, these are left blank.

    Other two items are: Assessment Questionnaire and External Assessment. Both are indicated as "Complete" with date submitted. But, no due date.

    I hope this helps. I expect we will all find out starting Monday to Wednesday.

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  126. Has anybody heard yet? Nothing here...

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  127. yeah, i just checked the pmf.gov website and here is how it reads:

    By November 1, 2011. Applicants notified on eligibility and nomination status Semi-finalists selected and notified Semi-finalists scheduled and notified for in-person assessments

    SO. we should be hearing *very* soon. does anyone know how we get notified? i seem to recall something somewhere stating all communication is via email...?

    good luck to everyone!

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  128. @cerra: We'll be hearing via email. Hopefully soon. The suspense is killing me.

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  129. Well, good luck everyone. We will all need it considering how the "cutting" process is done.

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  130. Anything yet? I can't believe they're pushing it to the last minute!

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  131. Still haven't heard anything...

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  132. Does anyone know... do we find out either way?

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  133. Good luck everyone. I took the test and I honestly do not have a clue if I will get in or not. I've been obsessing about the PMF for a month I'm almost ready for all of this to be over.

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  134. Anyone else feel like one of those lab rats, pressing the Send/Receive button in hopes of what trick or treats may come? :)

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  135. Is this a forecast for how we'd be treated in lifelong federal careers? First, our personalities were evaluated by a computer. Second, "by" november 1st apparently means "on or after" november 1st. Sigh.

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  136. Practically, they'll need to announce the semifinalists soon given that in-person assessments being November 14 - a mere 2 weeks away! That's barely enough time to purchase a plane ticket. In any event, maybe some telling news is that the PMF website was down for several hours early this morning (from about 04:00 to 09:00 EST). Maybe they were updating (though can't see any updates as of yet)?

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  137. I figured we'd hear by 9 a.m., no dice though. Hope we all hear soon, it's no good to be in the midst of a school or work day and get a blow like that!

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  138. Fellow future servants of the people. Have faith and be encouraged. Your destiny is not tied to one program. Where one door is closed, a window of opportunity is opened. At the very least, this experience has made me ore sensitive to the qualities a good leader should have and an even deeper desire of public service. The hardest path always builds character. And if your path is not the PMF program, then perhaps your leadership is needed elsewhere. In the end, man does not determine your destiny, only God alone. May you all prosper in your endeavors.

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  139. Some comic relief while we "build character" :) Enjoy all! http://enthronedarkness.blogspot.com/2005/06/building-character-yet.html

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  140. Posted on the PMF Facebook page about an hour ago:
    We are still on schedule to notify applicants by November 1. Applicants will receive a Notice of Results email at the address they used to apply. This notice will also be available in your Application Manager account. The External Assessment listing in Application Manager corresponds to the On-line Assessment. The PMF Program Office does not maintain application records, so please do not call with specific inquiries. Specific questions regarding an application should be sent to pmfapplication@opm.gov.

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  141. So has anyone heard from them or received notice via their application manager account?

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  142. @Faceless- nope. I have been checking up on it.

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  143. Thanks Brad for the info. The anticipation is just killing me though. It will really suck if we don't find out until night time

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  144. I look at application manager and the written test still says no result yet,hmmm

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  145. Benda, according to Brad B's comment:

    "The External Assessment listing in Application Manager corresponds to the On-line Assessment."

    You're checking the wrong status.

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  146. Lindsey... What status should we check?

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  147. The status that corresponds with the online assessment is the "external assessment"

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  148. Does anyone know where the notice "available in your application manager account" will show up?

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  149. Look at the status for the external assessment. Though, it won't be too helpful; it should say "complete."

    My guess is that we'll get emails before our status reflects whether we're semi-finalists on the application manager.

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  151. How long can this waiting go on?! I mean, this is getting mildly ridiculous...

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  152. It is only mid-day on the date they said we would hear back. I'm anxious as well, but it isn't like they told us we would find out a week ago.

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  153. Really? The "external assessment" is the "on-line assessment"? How is that possible when I took the on-line assessment in October, but my submission date for the external assessment is September 25? Also, if that is the case, what corresponds to the "written test"? Our in-person assessment?

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  154. I've noticed that my application has been taken off of my USAJobs profile. Not sure if that means anything, but it doesn't sound good...anyone else notice that their application has been removed?

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  155. @iowacademic Who knows. I'm sure there's some bureaucratic explanation for how the form is set up and when entries are posted and dated, but none of of those details are terribly relevant. As much as we'd all like to be able to read the tealeaves, none of us will know until they send an email at some point today. And then the mystery will be solved.

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  156. Matthew,

    Just checked and my application is still on USAJobs. To make sure, you can go to "My Account" on the top of the page, and select "Application Status."

    Iowacademic- They probably just chose a generic date for everyone for the online assessment, and I have no idea what the "written test" corresponds to. PMF's response was "The External Assessment listing in Application Manager corresponds to the On-line Assessment."

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  157. I don't see anything that says "online-assessment" in USAJobs or the application manager. Where are you guys getting this? I have "Written test," "External assessment," and "Assessment questionnaire" under my "Assessments" list in the application manager. And "Written Test" has a "No results yet" status. Is this different then other people? Ugh, you guys are making me nervous! Were we supposed to receive an email or notification after we completed the online test? I never got anything if we were.

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  158. External assessment in the application manager = online assessment that we all completed

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  159. @Little Fish - I think we all have the same thing. On the PMF facebook account they stated that the online assessment corresponds to the External Assessment on the application manager. I think most people, after taking the online assessment had "awaiting results, you will be notified" for the status up until a few days ago when the status changed to "complete", but that doesn't seem to indicate if we're semi-finalists or not, we have to wait for an email to find out that information.

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  160. Good luck to everyone who applied; I imagine for the most part it's a good crop of candidates.

    I don't think it's worth freaking out over the results - as Ian C said it's still the day they said we'd be notified, and we were updated just this morning that today would be that day.

    At this point, control is totally out of our hands, so sit back, try and relax, and wait for the results. (sorry for the zen-like post)

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  161. I can't get onto usajobs.gov - anybody else having this problem

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  162. @Adam -- I completely agree. It's not just Zen, it's practical. We're applying through a system that was designed around job applications, not academic fellowships.

    We should all keep in mind that working for the federal government does entail a lot of dealing with bureaucratic institutions and timelines out of one's control. The PMF application process is just the tip of the iceberg!

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  163. I can't get into usajobs.gov either.

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  164. According to the PMF Facebook page at least one person has gotten her notification of results (albeit an ineligibility notification).

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  165. That was me =P. I might have made a mistake somewhere in the app though, but i'm not sure. I e-mailed them to resolve it anyways, but i'm probably screwed.

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  166. Perhaps our emails will come with the USA Jobs update? :)

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  167. I received an email that said "Notification Letter Vacancy Id..." but no decision one way or another! Confused!

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  168. I think I have checked my email at least 30 times in the last hour.

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  169. My checklist just went blank...that doesn't seem good.

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  170. FB says: "Ali, keep in mind that the notices are currently being sent out. They will be sent to the email address of the applicant." However, I haven't heard of anyone being notified yet.

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  171. From the Facebook page: "keep in mind that the notices are currently being sent out. They will be sent to the email address of the applicant."

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  172. This is torture. At least when I applied for Teach for America 2 years ago they were viligant about their timelines and notification.

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  173. I also received an email that said "Notification Letter Vacancy Id", without any other information except a note saying to refer to the vacancy announcement. I suspect my application shows my results, but I can't access the usajobs site. anyone else having difficulty?

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  174. EMC- did you check your "application manager" accessible via https://applicationmanager.gov/

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  175. Yes. You cannot get on USAjobs. However, application manager is accessible. Unfortunately, mine doesn't show anything but I have not gotten the e-mail either.

    Good Luck!!!

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  176. I also lost my checklist a few minutes ago but no update on the application manager or the email.

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  177. thanks ian! yes i was able to access it, but the notification letter simply states what was in the email... "This refers to the application you recently submitted to this office for the position below:" then basic information about the fellowship (title, grade, location, vacancy id, my name), then "For additional information, please refer to the vacancy announcement for this position." did anyone get this? or better yet, something that definitively says whether you've made it to the next round?

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  178. I just checked application manager, and everything is pretty much the same. No email as of yet, and the checklist is still there.

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  179. Is anyone an MSW student that applied?

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  180. taking two courses..working 40 hrs...and waiting to hear is about to push me over the edge....

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  181. oh I should add that the notification letter I am referring to was under "messages" on the application page. It was posted at 4:27pm EST. my checklist is still there.

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  182. Has everyone else gotten their notification letter already?

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  183. Nope! No email, no messages here.

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  184. *cracks up a bottle of wine*

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  185. There is a lively discussion over at the FB page for the PMF if anyone else is interested in following it.

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  186. Definitely interesting to read GeekTalkGal. I think people should watch their comments criticizing the process on the very same page the people who made that process created. I'm sure we've all been on some poorly designed interviews, but how many times have you told your interviewer that their format stinks? Just my personal opinion.

    (Actually I'm okay with how this process works - we have to remember there are ~9000 applicants; concessions have to made considering the resources which can be reasonably allotted to the process)

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  187. I'm on FB too...lol...I'm going to take a shower tried to relax

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  188. No updates for me, either via email or application manager.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I'm quite surprised how unprofessional some of the comments on PMF's facebook page are. Would you really want your future employer to know that you're an impatient person? Or that you spend class time browsing facebook? I certainly wouldn't!

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  189. @Adam -- Oops, my post crossed yours. We think on the same wavelength!

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  190. I agree that talking about drinking while waiting is not probably the smartest idea, but I suppose they are offering the real side of being frustrated and their related coping mechanisms :)

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  191. Not trying to move parties, but they have wine at theirs. Sigh.

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  192. But I do agree with @Rosie and @GeekTalkGal, not gutsy enough to post those things on PMF facebook. This is a much better forum for admissions like that.

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  193. That's why I set it up this way :)

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