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Old 06-07-2015, 09:52 AM
 
3 posts, read 3,695 times
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This has been the most helpful forum for parsing out salary negotiations with the fed. Can interns with the federal govt (GS 7) negotiate a starting salary? I received a tentative job offer at GS 7 step 1 for an intern program with a promotional grade of GS 11. You don't have to compete until after GS 11. I am coming into the position with my PhD and 10 years of experience directly related to the position (so says me...but I don't know what they will count toward appropriate experience). However, this is my first real job offer after graduate school so my last pay stubs would be from my "real" job before graduate school. I just put in an email to the HR Person about the negotiation process. I spoke to my hiring manager and she didn't negotiate her salary and doesn't know anything about doing so. She said she did hear of other people who did so successfully. I think 39,570 is way too low for someone with my knowledge skills and abilities, even if it is an intern program. My goal is to come in a bit higher so that I don't get stuck at the low end when it comes time for promotions to higher grades.
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Old 06-07-2015, 10:01 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,738 posts, read 8,941,773 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimcam15 View Post
Your post
Maybe. It generally never hurts to ask; no one will blame you for trying, and the worst they can say is no. There are probably rules in place for your particular program, so hopefully there's an HR person assigned to it who knows those rules. (I agree that salary seems low for someone with a Ph.D in one of the sciences. At HHS, you would get at least a GS-12, maybe even a 13, coming right out of a PhD program.)

One option to be aware of in general is "superior qualifications." This means a hiring agency can offer a higher-than-usual salary to someone based on their superior quals or the urgent need of the agency. In your case, however, being a current government employee (of sorts) may mean they're obligated to base the new salary on your current salary. (This is the rule for regular employees in the General Schedule; you have to have a year time-in-grade before being promoted to the next grade.)

Do you have other employment options right now? If so, this might be one of those rare cases when it makes sense to leave the government for a while; then you could apply for a regular GS-12 or -13 job and get it based on your PhD. (I believe that once you're out of the gov for 90 days, your previous grade is no longer a consideration.)
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Old 06-07-2015, 11:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
Maybe. It generally never hurts to ask; no one will blame you for trying, and the worst they can say is no. There are probably rules in place for your particular program, so hopefully there's an HR person assigned to it who knows those rules. (I agree that salary seems low for someone with a Ph.D in one of the sciences. At HHS, you would get at least a GS-12, maybe even a 13, coming right out of a PhD program.)
My PhD is in education so this may not apply to me... I don't think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
One option to be aware of in general is "superior qualifications." This means a hiring agency can offer a higher-than-usual salary to someone based on their superior quals or the urgent need of the agency. In your case, however, being a current government employee (of sorts) may mean they're obligated to base the new salary on your current salary. (This is the rule for regular employees in the General Schedule; you have to have a year time-in-grade before being promoted to the next grade.)
I'm not a current govt employee. I just recently received an offer. I worked in the private sector before completing my PhD. I don't know if they count assistantship work as salary. That is what I was doing for six years during school (graduate teaching and research assistant). I read about superior qualifications. And while I think it applies to me I don't want to over inflate myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
Do you have other employment options right now? If so, this might be one of those rare cases when it makes sense to leave the government for a while; then you could apply for a regular GS-12 or -13 job and get it based on your PhD. (I believe that once you're out of the gov for 90 days, your previous grade is no longer a consideration.)
As of right now, I don't have any other good options. I thought applying with my PhD and years of experience would be good enough to get a decent salary, but most of my apps have reached the referred but not selected status for most of the jobs I have applied for. Right now, just unemployed.
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Old 06-07-2015, 11:24 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,738 posts, read 8,941,773 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimcam15 View Post
I read about superior qualifications. And while I think it applies to me I don't want to over inflate myself.
If you truly believe you have the superior quals, then how would it be an exaggeration? As long as you don't word the request in an arrogant way, I can't see how it would hurt. It would be one thing if they were offering you 100K, but at 40K, NO ONE would blame you for asking for more--especially in an area this expensive.
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Old 06-07-2015, 01:23 PM
 
10,596 posts, read 12,090,790 times
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Kimcam15--

I won't pretend I know everything about this but you probably need to take a look at the announcment that you applied to. They will often show how they award grades based on education. For instance, my daughter just applied for a 7/9/11 Recent Graduate HR position. To get the GS-7, you had to have a 4 year degree. The GS 9 position was awarded to anyone with a master's and some (minor) experience), the GS-11 was awarded to those with a PhD and some experience. Based on all of that and no prior government experience, you had to come in as a Step 1.

You are applying for an intern position and those rules could be a bit different. I would think that in order to get superior quals (at least in my agency) you would have to have had:
1. Some direct experience in the field you are applying to. Enough so that this experience will make training you less cumbersome.
2. Your degree should directly relate to the position and there should be sufficient relevant hands on experience as part of your program to bump you up a bit.

If you don't have either of those things, I don't believe that you will get superior quals.

As Carlingtonian states, it never hurts to ask but be prepared to state why your experience justifies it. The hiring manager will have to justify it if they decide to entertain this. I have had to do it several times when people I hire have asked for it.
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:30 PM
 
3 posts, read 3,695 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
Kimcam15--

I won't pretend I know everything about this but you probably need to take a look at the announcment that you applied to. They will often show how they award grades based on education. For instance, my daughter just applied for a 7/9/11 Recent Graduate HR position. To get the GS-7, you had to have a 4 year degree. The GS 9 position was awarded to anyone with a master's and some (minor) experience), the GS-11 was awarded to those with a PhD and some experience. Based on all of that and no prior government experience, you had to come in as a Step 1.
So I am coming in at. GS 7 with 10 years of relevant experience and a PhD. I am basing this on my questionnaire. I answered expert on everything and the hiring officials corroborated that by giving me an offer. I think other folks with PhDs applied as well so...? But I am coming I at a GS 7. If I am eligible for another grade even if it is an intern program...should I ask for that? I have no clue. The promotional grade is an 11.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
You are applying for an intern position and those rules could be a bit different. I would think that in order to get superior quals (at least in my agency) you would have to have had:
1. Some direct experience in the field you are applying to. Enough so that this experience will make training you less cumbersome.
2. Your degree should directly relate to the position and there should be sufficient relevant hands on experience as part of your program to bump you up a bit.
I satisfy both of these requirements with my prior experience and education. I was a mid career graduate school attendee going in with several years of work experience directly related to this position, and also worked in graduate school doing similar work related to the current position.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
If you don't have either of those things, I don't believe that you will get superior quals.

As Carlingtonian states, it never hurts to ask but be prepared to state why your experience justifies it. The hiring manager will have to justify it if they decide to entertain this. I have had to do it several times when people I hire have asked for it.
I feel confident that I can justify it. I think my hiring manager is on board as well. She seemed supportive. I am also going to ask if they can waive a year if my training if I qualify. But that would affect my non compete status. So many questions! So much information! Thanks for that wonderful post. It is helping me think out all of this. I know that I qualify for at least a step 8 in this grade with my directly related experience and education, that I can justify. Whether they give it to me is another story. I'm not in dire straights because my husband works, but I need to do something with this PhD besides consult.
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Old 06-08-2015, 04:42 AM
 
Location: SoCal
4,897 posts, read 8,741,326 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimcam15 View Post
. I know that I qualify for at least a step 8 in this grade with my directly related experience and education, that I can justify. Whether they give it to me is another story. I'm not in dire straights because my husband works, but I need to do something with this PhD besides consult.
A couple of questions:

1). Is the position posted for GS 7 only?

2). Can you provide your latest pay stub showing you were making an equivalent salary at step 8?

The issue I see is that you are not currently employed so they may stay with step 1. I will said make your best plea/ negotiation but at the end of day I'd recommend you take the job. After 1 year you will either be promoted to higher GS level or you are free to apply other openings at much higher level. Best of luck to you.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:54 AM
 
Location: West Hollywood, CA from Arlington, VA
2,770 posts, read 2,685,852 times
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Almost everyone at my agency has a Masters and about half have PhDs. We have a big internship program that pretty much starts everyone as 7s and are promoted to a 9 in a year and then 11 in 2 years (regardless of the fact that pretty much everyone has the education to start as a 9 or 11).

I guess it won't hurt to ask though.
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Old 07-22-2015, 12:15 PM
 
3 posts, read 4,269 times
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Default Help re GS levels + 2 positions.

Hello. This entire thread has been super helpful. I have a few questions. 2 interviews I've had in the past few months are now coming to a head. I am awaiting calls from HR at DOJ and FDA for offers.

That being said, I applied under Schedule A Disability hiring authority - I HAD to do something since all my private sector inquiries were just being thrown in the trash I'm sure. I've been actively searching for new employment since Summer 2014, and obtained a Masters in Health & Medical Policy in December 2014. I got the degree so that I could do research/policy/consulting in the private sector OR so that I could transition to a federal job (hopefully at a health agency since that's my degree) from my 11 years as a paralegal in the private sector (blech!).

The FDA job is 7/9 Regulatory Health Project Manager. I SHOULD qualify for GS9 with my Masters degree so hopefully that is what they offer me and maybe I negotiate to Step 2 to match my current salary.

The DOJ job is 9/11 Paralegal Specialist in a fantastic department (my friend used to work there and LOVED it) - they gave me the choice of which group I wanted to work in which is fantastic.

I have 0 federal experience, and I'm not sure how promotions work. My friend says that if I take the DOJ job and start at a grade 9, that after a year I would be at an 11?

She thinks I would be pigeon holing myself if I took the FDA job, but the FDA job is in a department that is alwaaaaaaays looking for people, meaning its continuing to grow, and there is a lot of opportunity to move to other positions long term I'm sure.

FDA is probably where I really want to be, but I don't want to disservice myself from obtaining some higher grade levels faster. My friend says that if DOJ offers me a higher grade/step level that I should take it and then start looking for jobs when my 1 year there is up - that I just need a foot in the door.

Does anybody know if the Schedule A hiring authority limits me in any way after my 1 year probation from moving around either within an agency or moving to a different agency?

I haven't received calls from HR yet from either agency but I wanted to have some scenarios played out so I could figure what makes sense. Thanks so much!
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Old 07-22-2015, 01:00 PM
 
Location: West Hollywood, CA from Arlington, VA
2,770 posts, read 2,685,852 times
Reputation: 1550
You'd get an 11 after a year.

I'd be skeptical about an office that is always looking for people. That would make me wonder if it has high turnover and people hate working there. That was the case at my last agency that had a horrible working environment and it's the opposite at my current office that has a great working environment.

(And it's the case at the VA for example from a lot of people I've heard).
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