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Old 04-05-2015, 04:53 AM
 
10,596 posts, read 12,086,197 times
Reputation: 6457

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[quote=starfruit1242;39092681]
Quote:
This makes me wonder: did she just get lucky and slip through? But then why would the manager even mention the possibility of a step 4 in my interview after knowing my current salary?
Please realize that every agency is different so what I tell you might not be the same where you are applying. We would have never discussed that with an applicant, first off. Our HR department changes their procedures so often, I no longer would discuss those things. It could be that in 6 months, they've decided they just are going to offer superior quals, period. Much of that has to do with budgets and all they do these days is get worse.

Quote:
I was honest about my salary in my interview and with HR. Where I work currently anyone can easily look up my salary, so there was no point in being mysterious. Can people look up other employee's salaries in the federal government and see what step they're at? Also, being at a lower step, does that mean if cuts were ever to come they go by your GS/step level? Or just seniority?
You're correct--no point in being mysterious, especially if you are asking for a step increase over the step 1. My HR demands your last pay stub before they will even entertain it.

Quote:
Benefits wise retirement: currently I put in 4.5% they put in 9.5% and federal is 5% and 5%, so really only 4.5% which percentage of salary, so in the long run maybe more, also the pension if I stay for a long time; health insurance: more expensive as I currently pay $35/month for a managed care plan and I can have my boyfriend on my insurance as an other qualified adult and he pays the additional difference; PTO (vacation and sick is lumped into one): looking at 17.33 per month which I can sell 40 hours back a year to make up for lack of salary at my current employer. I'm not sure if you can sell back annual/sick leave in a federal position.
You do have decent benefits. So you get a 9.5% of salary deposit by your company? I believe the federal is 6% but I could be wrong. There is the FERS annuity to think about but you also chip in toward that (new hires even more since 2013 and the current Congress is trying to make that contribution by the employee even more). Leave is 4 hours a pay period for annual and 4 hours a pay period for sick. That increases (annual) after 3 years. Although, you can try to negotiate more leave based on directly related experience and I would certainly ask for that.

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When I was expecting the higher step it was a no brainer which job to choose since I could take my extra pay and contribute towards more retirement/health insurance but now its a little harder to compare apples to apples. The difference in steps for the first 4 years is around $1,750 per step. So coming in at a step 1 instead of a step 4 is $5,260 difference. So worth fighting for? Or not, as I may lose the entire opportunity... decisions, decisions...
I definitely think you should contact the hiring manager and let them know what is going on. What I can say is that where I am, if your pay was under or at the GS9 Step 1 rate, we wouldn't negotiate superior quals with you. That's just the rule where I am.
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Old 04-07-2015, 08:08 AM
 
4 posts, read 6,125 times
Reputation: 12
Well my potential future manager got back to me. She said my current institution pays me peanuts so they won't pay me any more. She said shame on my current employer, as they are short changing all their employees. She said she's never run into a situation like this before, and they have always hired others with experience at higher levels because other employers pay their employees fairly. My classmate that graduated the same year didn't get asked her salary in the interview so it didn't get included on her paperwork before being submitted through HR. The manager just happened to ask me, I was honest, and I am paying for it now. Lesson learned: honesty is NOT the best policy.

Also, I asked if they would give me an increase in annual to acknowledge my years of experience that way and she said no since they've never done that for anyone else.

Card hold truth: accept or decline. Leave an employer who has shorted me the past 5 years for an employer taking advantage that I've been underpaid? Fun decision, I will say the VA is getting an amazing deal, someone with 5 years experience that they're bringing in at a lower level and will always be able to underpay compared to all of their other employees.
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Old 04-07-2015, 08:17 AM
 
Location: West Hollywood, CA from Arlington, VA
2,770 posts, read 2,684,649 times
Reputation: 1550
I would accept. I find it hard to believe your current employer has better benefits than the federal government but maybe they do? Is it a career ladder position that will let you become an 11 in a year?

It's not uncommon for new hire federal employees to take a paycut from the private sector. My mom, for example, took a $15k paycut but has had at least $20k in pay raises since then because she's a hard worker. With the job security and benefits, you can't really beat that.
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Old 04-07-2015, 11:41 AM
 
Location: SoCal
4,896 posts, read 8,738,251 times
Reputation: 3620
Quote:
Originally Posted by gomason View Post
I would accept. I find it hard to believe your current employer has better benefits than the federal government but maybe they do? Is it a career ladder position that will let you become an 11 in a year? .
There are companies out there that have better benefits than the government but I too, will advise the OP to take the job. This happened to a coworker of mine, he took a paycut to come into the government as GS-9 but after 1 year, he applied for another position within the same agency and got the GS12 instead.

OP, once you're inside the government and after your one-year term/ probational period you are free to apply other positions. Because you qualify with more years of work experience, your manager will be pressured to either give you a higher grade or he/she knows you will be applying for a higher grade positions. This is when you can jump fairly quickly through the GS scale. Take a long term view and not focus on a couple $K difference in the near term.
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in USA
569 posts, read 489,087 times
Reputation: 491
Quote:
Originally Posted by HB2HSV View Post
There are companies out there that have better benefits than the government but I too, will advise the OP to take the job. This happened to a coworker of mine, he took a paycut to come into the government as GS-9 but after 1 year, he applied for another position within the same agency and got the GS12 instead.

OP, once you're inside the government and after your one-year term/ probational period you are free to apply other positions. Because you qualify with more years of work experience, your manager will be pressured to either give you a higher grade or he/she knows you will be applying for a higher grade positions. This is when you can jump fairly quickly through the GS scale. Take a long term view and not focus on a couple $K difference in the near term.
I second this. Get in first, then leave for better opportunities elsewhere with other agencies. Just don't go back to contracts or corporate world once you're a govie. In federal salary, you're guaranteed to get increases annually and biannually depending on your position and performance on your responsibilities and GS levels. Don't hesitate one bit and take the offer now...before you regret it later.
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Old 04-08-2015, 05:14 PM
 
290 posts, read 296,539 times
Reputation: 347
Quote:
Originally Posted by ameridreamNoT View Post
I second this. Get in first, then leave for better opportunities elsewhere with other agencies. Just don't go back to contracts or corporate world once you're a govie. In federal salary, you're guaranteed to get increases annually and biannually depending on your position and performance on your responsibilities and GS levels. Don't hesitate one bit and take the offer now...before you regret it later.
Wow, where do you work?

Edit: Nevermind. I suppose you are referring to step increases. I was thinking GS levels, haha.
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:20 AM
 
504 posts, read 1,024,090 times
Reputation: 306
Higher step increases are NOT annual. I would like to know where I can get salary increase biannually (twice a year)!
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Old 04-09-2015, 01:15 PM
 
186 posts, read 284,919 times
Reputation: 113
I'd take it. It seems like federal positions are much more competitive/in demand than they used to be. At my agency we now cut off applicants at 200. It's my understanding that the average federal job has between 600 and 1400 applicants.
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:38 AM
 
Location: McLean, VA
790 posts, read 1,604,790 times
Reputation: 556
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOVAEER View Post
At my agency we now cut off applicants at 200. It's my understanding that the average federal job has between 600 and 1400 applicants.
Is this after the first 200 replies? Just curious. This will spur me to get my applications in sooner!!
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:33 AM
 
186 posts, read 284,919 times
Reputation: 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by austindoxie1972 View Post
Is this after the first 200 replies? Just curious. This will spur me to get my applications in sooner!!
That's correct, the first 200 replies.
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