PMF Semi-Finalists: OPEN THREAD

PMF Semi-Finalists: OPEN THREAD

Congratulations on being named a PMF Semi-Finalist!

That means you emerged from thousands of resumes to get an opportunity to shine at the in-person assessment. You can get advice on how to approach that phase of the process here:

Got questions? Ask ’em here or shoot us an email at

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  • Ali Eorse

    Can you give us some realistic aspects of the number of finalists given that positions are not all there? There are 12,120 applicants. 1,654 are semi-finalists. How many do you expect to make to the Finalist stage and how many of those for actual placements? What are ways one can get to an actual Finalist who is Placed status? Finally, what happens if one does not a placement in a year? Is there an extension? Or, people re-apply. Can re-application be automatically assumed to be in next semi-finalist class? Thanks much for reading. Thanks much in advance for your responses.

    • Steve

      If you haven’t already make sure to download the guide we put together as it has lots of this info (top right to download).

      The # of finalists depends on the year – ranging from 500-700. One study had 60% of finalists end of actually placed (for range of other reasons like competing offers) has some good data in their FAQ too –

      Over the past few years, the number of applicants has been approximately 9,000 annually, and the number of Finalists has been approximately 750. Historical data shows applicants have averaged a 1 in 10 chance of becoming a PMF; approximately 60% of Finalists obtain appointments as Fellows. Now with expanded eligibility from the Pathways Programs regulations, we project the number of applications to increase. Please note this is a highly competitive program.

  • Jason

    I am curious about the press conference. I have been searching for information on it and it appears to be a relatively new format. What will the content of this press conference focus on? For example, will it be about information we have read and must disseminate or personal questions about our past experiences?

    • Amy

      I too am interested in learning more about the press conference aspect of the in-person assessment. Any advice/tips would be appreciated! Congrats to all the fellow semi-finalists…

      • Andrew Krzmarzick

        My understanding is that the press conference project is designed to help the reviewers see you work in a team environment and observe the degree to which you exhibit the core attributes of a PMF. There’s not much you can do to prepare for it. Just be yourself and strive to contribute to the process in a constructive manner.

  • Josh

    What is the dress code for the in-person assessment? I originally thought it would be formal but heard it’s business casual as in the workplace.

    • Andrew Krzmarzick

      See Steve’s thoughts above. I’d also add this: if in doubt, always go for over-dressed vs. under-dressed. Suit and tie for men. Similar for ladies. This might be a good question to ask on the PMF Facebook page:

  • Carlos

    What are the grooming standards (males and females) for the in-person assessment? i.e., Clean-shaved and short hair.

    • Steve

      There’s no default grooming standards. I think it’s the same as any job interview. You want to look professional and put together. (Or for those who haven’t interviewed – it’s what you would wear to meet the parents of a significant other/go to church/etc)

      Others may disagree but these days I don’t think that necessarily means clean-shaved and short hair. I see plenty of folks with beards and longer hair and tattoos get government jobs. The main thing is looking put together (trim the beard, may want to cover up tattoos)

  • HeatherKrasna

    Increase your chances by downloading my PMF Assessment Prep Guide! I have helped increase pass rates by 30%:

  • BO

    Did anyone download Heather’s prep guide for $10. Was it helpful? More helpful than the guide provided here?

    • matt

      I just downloaded it and I think it is worth the $10. The most worrisome lacuna in the free guide was just what the “press conference” presentation looks like, and Heather’s guide gives some helpful details.

  • DJ

    I really wish people who recently did the assessment would provide some input on their experience.

    • Andrew Krzmarzick

      Hi DJ – I’m not sure that they are able to do so since OPM / PMF asks candidates to refrain from discussing the process in any way. What type of information / questions would you like to know specifically? Maybe we can find a way to get some answers in a way that doesn’t violate the requirements of the process. – Andy

      • Dutch

        I would really just liken to know the make up of each portion of the In-Person Assessment.

        (1) How is the Group exercise set up? What is the group exercise going to test? [I am not asking for the answers, just look for how to prepare]

        (2) What will the Press Conference be like? Do we have to give a solo 20 minute presentation or a 5 minute presentation in which we take questions from the exam facilitators?

        (3) What will the interview be like? Will they ask standard interview questions like what is your biggest weakness and biggest strength? Or will they asking you questions more like the FSO exam, “What do you do if you get a call saying the Ambassador has been kidnapped.

        (4) What will the writing exercise be on? Will it be on a topic everyone can understand? Will certain graduate student have a leg up because they have worked in a certain field? Lastly, why do they need another writing sample if our essays are factored into our in-person assessment?

        • Linh

          I would echo Dutch’s questions. I think these are important preperational questions that students coming from Washington, DC area schools can have addressed by their counselors (the ones speaking in the videos you have on your site). I think those of us not lucky enough to come from area schools are at quite a disadvantage. It would be nice if you could shed some light on these type of questions as you did in your resume prep video.

          • Rick

            If you read through all of the guides online, most of that information is available. Other information is most likely intentionally not out there, which means DC students don’t have it either. I wouldn’t expect those who have already done the assessment to say much, since it would be giving you an unfair advantage over them (in addition to being explicitly told not to say anything).

          • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

            Dutch and Linh – I’d say that Rick is right on. OPM makes it very clear from the outset that participants should not share aspects of the process or it could actually disqualify them from consideration should it be learned that they divulged such information. In that sense, Rick is right on – no advantage to DC folks; everyone’s in the dark together.

  • New Citizen

    Howdy. I am interested in the PMF. The PMF eligibility ( has no mention of any govt. employees issues. But, only of graduation. SO, can one apply for PMF if one is a lowly govt. employee with a new degree (last fall) and a new citizenship (last year). Any insights? Thanks much.

    • Andrew Krzmarzick

      Yes. If you have completed a graduate program in the past two years, you would be eligible to apply.

      • New Citizen

        Andrew, thanks much! If I make it, then I can also use it as a way to negotiate from GS-7 to higher in my current capacity. Or, take what is offered with the PMF.
        – Do people use PMF finalist status to negotiate their current position?
        – Do PMF finalists get to negotiate with their agencies (if they want to go there) a better grade/pay?
        – Do agencies consider PMF finalists as the cream of the crop and thus are ready to do what it takes to get them hired?

        • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

          Hi New Citizen – In response to your questions:
          You might want to talk to the coordinator at your agency to see what they would mean if you made it and wanted to stay at your current agency. My sense is that you’d apply for open opportunities in other agencies as well. And, yes, from the interviews we conducted agencies indicated that PMFs were considered the best of the best and work hard to help them have a great experience.

          • diseasedaccountant

            Are the PMF Agency Coordinator, the primary contact or Hiring authority for their agencies PMF program?

  • German

    Is there any information that will be used at the in-person assessment that someone would not readily know? I am just worried some people will have an advantage in that their masters degree will be the subject of a certain question or something along those lines.

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Hi German – I’d check out John’s comment above. Sounds like there is no prep needed and one program wouldn’t prepare you better than another.

  • John smith

    Okay, sure, I did the test. All I can say is that it is very, very easy. No preparation needed, other than your graduate school experience. No personal information will be used, other than your applicant ID. Do not bring anything like a mobile phone, There is no locker. There is a common area where you can put your hat, coat, umbrella. You can put your phone there, if you like. You will want to spend as much time as possible on your 4 activities. The sooner you finish the faster you will get out. That’s all I can say. Summary: No preparation need. Your graduate school experience is all you will need. All the best. May all get selected.

    • Andrew Krzmarzick (GovLoop)

      Thanks, John. That’s helpful and validates our thinking.

    • AnxiousInLA

      As much as I want to believe this, I’m still hesitant. If it is true, then at the very least, I’ve learned quite a bit about the agency I want to work for 🙂

      To everyone attending the Los Angeles event, best of luck!

  • Elia

    Does anyone have a good sense about when we will be hearing back? I’m hoping to start job hunting and want to know what my timeline might be.

    • TekDiver

      Probably the 2nd or 3rd week of March. Next week is the last week for assessments that would give them 2 – 3 weeks to finalize the list.

      • diseasedaccountant

        Well my guess will be March 26th, the last monday in march.

        • TekDiver

          It looks like it might not be until 8APR since they are transitioning to a new system.

          • diseasedaccountant

            Yes since they are transitioning to a new system, It would be a good idea to put the Finalist list out on March 22nd and go on vacation for a week or so.

          • TekDiver

            Well that doesn’t look like it will happen.

          • diseasedaccountant

            Oh well, I guess my theory went out the window! I think I will only check for the Final list 6 times today instead of every hour.

  • New Citizen

    Have not heard back about the finalist in-person test. Will hear by late March I reckon. SO, what is going to be used in the decision making? Is this just what happened during in-person? It seems the essay questions were not used in the semi-finalist (or where they)? Will everything had to go perfect during in-person to make it? Do the review take into consideration other things – say experience, degrees, diversity, etc? I am concerned about what if one thing did not go well (what happens then) during in-person? What about essays? Will the be considered? Too many questions. Too long a wait time. I am finished. Really finished.

  • jth

    Any news on the number of finalists they will select?

    I’ve heard speculation that the sequestration will lower the number. I’ve also heard that some agencies already have the budget for their PMF hires so it won’t decrease hiring of PMFs.

    My thoughts are that if there there is a need for agencies to hire PMFs since budget cuts restrict hiring of regular FTEs, they would increase the number of finalists this year. Or at least not lower the number.

    I say, increase the number of finalists and let us fight it out for the jobs!

    • Andrew Krzmarzick

      I asked the PMF program office a couple weeks ago about the specific impact of sequestration and they are still trying to figure that out. We should know soon though.

      • jth


        • Allison Mercer

          Is there a direct number in which prospective applicants can call directly?

  • Unsure

    I wanted to poll the audience on a hypothetical situation. What would be your choice between a GS-11 job offer vs. a PMF offer?

    • Anon

      You might be able to get a GS11 PMF offer, but I would pick PMF because you have a better chance of getting a higher GS by the end of the program than if you had just gone up the ladder in the same amount of time.

      • diseasedaccountant

        If I got an offer for GS11 and a GS11 PMF offer on the same day, I would have to say that the PMF offer will be my choice. At least with the PMF position there is a huge chance to prove myself as a leader.

        • Steve

          Not so quickly. Depends what the GS 11 is – is the boss cool? Division good? Agency interesting? I’d actually pick the GS-11 job offer vs PMF – PMF is usually GS 9 plus as GS -11 one division is invested in you. Sometimes w/ PMF as you rotate every 4-6 months, the bosses are less interested in your career – plus an offer is worth everything – even if you get selected as a PMF Finalist, doesn’t mean you get a PMF job

          • diseasedaccountant

            Yea if I was you, I would go for the NON-PMF position also. (Thinning out the competition) Just kidding.

  • Carmen

    Any speculation on what this means for releasing the list of 2013 finalists?

    “The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program Office is
    transitioning to a new Talent Acquisition System (TAS) in the
    coming weeks. It is necessary to take the current system
    off-line from Friday, March 22, 12 Noon (EDT), to Monday, April 8,
    8 AM (EDT). During this period, agency stakeholders will not
    be able to enter data on current Fellows, post
    rotational/developmental opportunities, add additional agency user
    accounts, or have access to reports on the PMF website.
    Current Fellows will not be able to use the Information Worksheet
    as well. Once the new system comes on-line on April 8th, it
    will contain the records of current PMFs and user accounts for
    Agency-wide Coordinators. Thank you for your cooperation and
    we apologize for any inconvenience.”

    • diseasedaccountant

      I guess they can still get access and post the list with 13 hours left until the system goes down. That would be a great way to end the week, and give us something to celebrate all weekend!!! (hint, hint)

    • Andrew Krzmarzick

      I don’t have official information, but it would make it hard for them to announce and then give next steps if the system is down. My hunch is that it will delay the release by a few days.

  • diseasedaccountant

    Since we have less than 10 days til Late March arrives, let’s pass the time by stating which agency is your 1st pick, and where you want to work.
    I’ll go 1st- since I’m an accountant, I would like to work for the Department of Treasury, somewhere in the Atlanta area.

    • Bob

      If love ATL, you should go CDC – their actual HQ is there

      • diseasedaccountant

        As long as I don’t get locked in the labs. (Walking Dead reference) Just finished watching all 3 seasons attempting to help the time pass while waiting on the Finalist list.

  • diseasedaccountant

    Ok after a little bit of research, some agencies have definitely received the report of the finalists for 2013… for example…

    -Masters and PhD students from a range of disciplines as well as JD students are encouraged to apply. The application process for the class of 2013 has ended and finalists have been announced. 2013 finalists are encouraged to apply to PMF Forest Service positions on the OPM PMF website.-

    Too bad, that we don’t access to this list, but I would also have to come to the conclusion that they are making their dream draft picks of future leaders for their agencies. Maybe some of us will get PRE Job fair offers. Good luck to all.

  • LT

    According to the website we won’t find out until “early April” and the job fair is now a “virtual” job fair. Seems like kind of a cop out to me. Typical OPM.

  • Steve

    PMF Finalists were announced last night –

    Who got it?

    If you didn’t, what’s your Plan B?

  • Forgov

    What can we bring to the assessment?