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The GovGuru Answers Your Career Questions

The GovGuru Answers Your Career Questions

Chris McConnell | GovCentral

You can read GovGuru every Thursday on GovCentral. Send your government career questions to with the subject line “Ask GovGuru”.

I recently completed a positive interview with social security. I was excited by the great benefits, location, etc. When I was not selected and asked why I was told they picked off the grade 5 list, but I applied as a nine. Should I have applied at a lower salary grade to insure inclusion. What goes on between the interviewers and the personnel department? -bbk

Federal Agencies list many early career positions as a GS-5, GS-7, and a GS-9. As you know, these designations are based on education and work experience. The education can range from a four-year undergraduate degree to a two-year graduate degree. In addition, these positions also consider equivalent work experience.

Though I don’t know the particulars of your interview with the Social Security Administration, a lot of factors beyond basic qualifications go into a hiring decision. These can include education, previous experience with the agency as an intern, and compatibility with the larger team.

Since you were brought in for an interview, it seems that you were qualified for a GS-9 position. There is no reason to sell yourself short by applying for a lower-grade that you are over-qualified for. However, I would make sure that your education and experience is aligned with the job announcement. Having a strong KSA (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities) can definitely improve your chances the next time around.

Here is some information on beefing up your KSA’s:

GovCentral’s Federal KSA Writing Guide

The Importance of KSA’s

Lastly, there is no harm in calling the HR department again and ask them if applying at a lower grade would have affected their hiring decision.

Good luck.

I have an accounting degree, but no accounting work experience. Will this hurt my chances?

  • Img_0749_1_max50


    over 5 years ago


    The system is broken and unless there is a united front to fix the problems it will remain as it is at this point. I have been out of work for nearly a year and have over 20 years experience in the construction trades industry along with a BS degree in Technical Management and cannot find employment. I have applied for many positions at the various bases (there are 6 bases) located around me here in Colorado Springs, CO but not so much as a nibble. I have initiated a complaint with the DOL due to unfair hiring practices as I am also a VRA applicant and the jobs are currently held by non veteran people. All I can say is good luck in trying to get your foot in the door. Never give up the fight!!!!

  • Jennifer1_max50


    over 5 years ago


    It is extremely difficult to get into the government. I am a veteran and cannot seem to get anywhere. I did 4 years active duty and 11 years as a Air Force Reservist and have a Secret clearance. I have a BSBA in Management. Honestly, what does a girl have to do to get a job with the government without compromising my integrity????

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    Why aren't their contact Phone numbers on Dept of Navy's HR Hiring System - Chart.

    How would a disabled person get assistance.

    The password reset system does not work.

    They don't respond to emails.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    I ' m living outside of United State and i believe that this site is not available outside of this country.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    You know I have been apply for positions for five years at Ft. Sam Houston. I am applying within my skill sets my last resume was coauthored with a representative from the OPM. Now they all are being turned down. The system is broken everybody knows it except the people reting the resumes. I even gat investigated for harassemnt because I appealed everything they tirned down. I was found not guilty of any wrong doing, but the same people who made these false allegations will remain rating my resume. Quite a system they have at Ft. Sam Houston Texas.

    Ken Carden

  • My_offices_006_max50


    over 5 years ago


    is there any jobs that you don't have to be 37 and under, its like it's discrimination...

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