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Old 06-30-2016, 02:14 PM
 
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Hello, I recently finished a masters degree, which qualifies me for a start at a GS-9 pay grade, however I still apply to GS-7 jobs, if I were to receive a GS-7 job offer what is the likelihood that I would be able to negotiate for a higher step, such as step 5 or 6 in pay grade 7? Especially since according to pay grade standards I would be over qualified. I do also have a 2-3 months of GS-7 experience through an internship. Also would the best course of action be to just take a GS-7 job to put my foot into the workforce, try to negotiate a higher step in GS-7, or just quit applying to GS-7 jobs altogether and only focus on GS-9 (though I want to start working asap I am not in any dire financial situation currently)?


I am searching for jobs in the dc metropolitan area.
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Old 06-30-2016, 05:30 PM
 
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any tips for going about salary negotiation would also be appreciated. Such as when to ask about salary during the interview process, etc.?
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Old 06-30-2016, 05:43 PM
 
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First question is masters in what? It makes a difference because some fields are more accepting of education than others. It's not official and people will claim it doesn't exist, but it does. By that I mean some fields, STEM primarily, will likely start at a GS7 whereas others will start at the GS5. The important thing in the Federal classification system is the job, not the qualifications of the person holding it.


So, what that means is, those who hire in STEM fields know the difficulty in getting good applicants and so are more willing to hire at a higher grade. There is also some ability to negotiate the step within the grade but that usually requires significant experience and earnings history to justify paying the higher step. Personally I don't negotiate on step for new hires, but I know some who do. The reason I don't is those already in the system aren't allowed to negotiate so it puts them at a competitive disadvantage.


With all that said, for a bachelors or masters, I'd be applying at GS5, 7, 9 positions unless I had some significant work background. Those would be typically entry. A masters isn't a huge benefit over just a bachelors. With a PhD, then 9 and 11.
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Old 06-30-2016, 06:06 PM
 
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Keep in mind that there are usually tons of people applying for fed jobs unless you're in a high-demand field. You may have people applying for a GS-7 job who in the private sector are doing stuff more at the GS-11 level. In my field they usually limit applications to 250-400, and that's not even for entry level positions! If they don't, they'll often get 1000 applications. You can bet people are applying to those entry level openings with 5 or 10 years of experience. I know because I've interviewed for an entry level job with more than 5 years of experience. Needless to say, I think they felt like I was overqualified, but that's just how competitive it is out there in some series. I managed to land a more mid-level interview, but I think that's unusual as it seems like most of those are hired from within the feds as a lot are advertised via merit promotion procedures.
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Old 06-30-2016, 07:37 PM
 
9 posts, read 4,270 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
First question is masters in what? It makes a difference because some fields are more accepting of education than others. It's not official and people will claim it doesn't exist, but it does. By that I mean some fields, STEM primarily, will likely start at a GS7 whereas others will start at the GS5. The important thing in the Federal classification system is the job, not the qualifications of the person holding it.


So, what that means is, those who hire in STEM fields know the difficulty in getting good applicants and so are more willing to hire at a higher grade. There is also some ability to negotiate the step within the grade but that usually requires significant experience and earnings history to justify paying the higher step. Personally I don't negotiate on step for new hires, but I know some who do. The reason I don't is those already in the system aren't allowed to negotiate so it puts them at a competitive disadvantage.


With all that said, for a bachelors or masters, I'd be applying at GS5, 7, 9 positions unless I had some significant work background. Those would be typically entry. A masters isn't a huge benefit over just a bachelors. With a PhD, then 9 and 11.
Thanks for the reply, my masters was not in STEM, rather in Public policy (which I thought would be useful in the DMV area, though likely not anywhere else) , with a specialization emphasis on public financial management, and although it was in public policy quite a few of the coursework was quite quantitative and we learned statistical computer programing in excel, stata, and sas in addition to mid-level statistical analysis. Primarily the GS-7 positions which I have applied for is the budget analyst series, of which certain agencies have show more interest thus far as compared to other gs-9 positions.


I also have a few months experience (about 3-4 total) at GS-7 pay grade working at an agencies (federal) financial management's/budget office. With a two years masters degree I qualify for a GS-9 position. The reason why I am interested in seeing if it is plausible or a good idea to negotiate at a higher step for the gs-7 grade is because educationally I am over qualified by OPM standards for GS-7 plus I also have actual GS-7 work experience. I realize my experience is not significant per se, but I think that combined with my masters degree it could provide some leverage?


Also when would be the appropriate time to ask about salary negotiations, after the interview or after I am selected for the position? Is salary negotiation largely contingent on the agency and/or the hiring manager for the position?


Also, if you don't mind me asking are you a hiring manager or a related title at a federal agency?
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Old 06-30-2016, 07:40 PM
 
9 posts, read 4,270 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RamenAddict View Post
Keep in mind that there are usually tons of people applying for fed jobs unless you're in a high-demand field. You may have people applying for a GS-7 job who in the private sector are doing stuff more at the GS-11 level. In my field they usually limit applications to 250-400, and that's not even for entry level positions! If they don't, they'll often get 1000 applications. You can bet people are applying to those entry level openings with 5 or 10 years of experience. I know because I've interviewed for an entry level job with more than 5 years of experience. Needless to say, I think they felt like I was overqualified, but that's just how competitive it is out there in some series. I managed to land a more mid-level interview, but I think that's unusual as it seems like most of those are hired from within the feds as a lot are advertised via merit promotion procedures.
If you don't mind me asking, what field are you in (IT, financial analyst, procurement, etc.)? I am more on the side of budgetary or agency business processes types of jobs.
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Old 06-30-2016, 09:12 PM
 
7,585 posts, read 4,231,097 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by everythingelseistaken View Post
Thanks for the reply, my masters was not in STEM, rather in Public policy (which I thought would be useful in the DMV area, though likely not anywhere else) , with a specialization emphasis on public financial management, and although it was in public policy quite a few of the coursework was quite quantitative and we learned statistical computer programing in excel, stata, and sas in addition to mid-level statistical analysis. Primarily the GS-7 positions which I have applied for is the budget analyst series, of which certain agencies have show more interest thus far as compared to other gs-9 positions.


I also have a few months experience (about 3-4 total) at GS-7 pay grade working at an agencies (federal) financial management's/budget office. With a two years masters degree I qualify for a GS-9 position. The reason why I am interested in seeing if it is plausible or a good idea to negotiate at a higher step for the gs-7 grade is because educationally I am over qualified by OPM standards for GS-7 plus I also have actual GS-7 work experience. I realize my experience is not significant per se, but I think that combined with my masters degree it could provide some leverage?


Also when would be the appropriate time to ask about salary negotiations, after the interview or after I am selected for the position? Is salary negotiation largely contingent on the agency and/or the hiring manager for the position?


Also, if you don't mind me asking are you a hiring manager or a related title at a federal agency?
Last question first, yes. In my experience negotiation is mostly dependent on the individual manager and whether they will negotiate. But even in those cases it's been for someone with exceptional qualification. As a GS7 budget analyst, you won't do much SAS or statistical analysis. Those positions are pretty much functional processing jobs. Not much policy work. Now that said, with your background in SAS and stats, have you thought about applying for ops research and related data analysis work? More opportunity to move up than as a budget analyst.
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Old 07-01-2016, 08:04 AM
 
9 posts, read 4,270 times
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Originally Posted by tnff View Post
Last question first, yes. In my experience negotiation is mostly dependent on the individual manager and whether they will negotiate. But even in those cases it's been for someone with exceptional qualification. As a GS7 budget analyst, you won't do much SAS or statistical analysis. Those positions are pretty much functional processing jobs. Not much policy work. Now that said, with your background in SAS and stats, have you thought about applying for ops research and related data analysis work? More opportunity to move up than as a budget analyst.
for operations research I don't think I would qualify according to the OPM description, although I have taken some econometric courses, there would be many STEM related majors who are knowledgeable in higher level mathematics that would much better fit in those positions. I have also been applying to data analyst and program analyst type positions, I emphasized budget analyst in a previous post because that is where I have had the most success thus far (i.e. referrals, though no official job offers).
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Old 07-01-2016, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC
3,873 posts, read 4,127,986 times
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everythingelseistaken,

This is how it would work:

a) You get job offer at the step 1 (GS-7, GS-9 doesn't necessarily matter)

b) You respond by saying you're not sure you can except that salary.

c) They say, if you provide proof of current earnings that is higher than our step 1, we may be willing and able to give you a higher step to match (or slightly better) that salary. W2s are usually necessary as proof.
NOTE- some agencies may not entertain this at all, especially these days.

c2) If you can prove your higher salary, AND they think you have superior qualifications relative to other candidates, AND their budget climate allows for it, you have a significant chance for the higher step.

c3) If you cannot prove higher earnings, you probably have no chance (I don't want to speak for each and every agency because many have different views on this and different budget situations). Note- since Obama took office, agencies are less likely to approve them. They are also running leaner than in the past (a good thing).

Finally, if you can get in and the works sounds good, take the job, because once you have gov't status (not necessary for most Vets), you can compete and move up pretty quickly. If you are good, you could take your salary from say $40K to $80K in about 5 years. Though if you live in an area with few gov't jobs (and you don't want to move) moving up will take much longer.
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Old 07-01-2016, 12:48 PM
 
9 posts, read 4,270 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Back to NE View Post
everythingelseistaken,

This is how it would work:

a) You get job offer at the step 1 (GS-7, GS-9 doesn't necessarily matter)

b) You respond by saying you're not sure you can except that salary.

c) They say, if you provide proof of current earnings that is higher than our step 1, we may be willing and able to give you a higher step to match (or slightly better) that salary. W2s are usually necessary as proof.
NOTE- some agencies may not entertain this at all, especially these days.

c2) If you can prove your higher salary, AND they think you have superior qualifications relative to other candidates, AND their budget climate allows for it, you have a significant chance for the higher step.

c3) If you cannot prove higher earnings, you probably have no chance (I don't want to speak for each and every agency because many have different views on this and different budget situations). Note- since Obama took office, agencies are less likely to approve them. They are also running leaner than in the past (a good thing).

Finally, if you can get in and the works sounds good, take the job, because once you have gov't status (not necessary for most Vets), you can compete and move up pretty quickly. If you are good, you could take your salary from say $40K to $80K in about 5 years. Though if you live in an area with few gov't jobs (and you don't want to move) moving up will take much longer.
Thanks for the reply, do you have any opinions from your experiences on which agencies or groups of agencies (such as health related agencies or defense related agencies) are more likely to entertain salary negotiation? Also is the likelihood of negotiation more likely in certain fields (for example IT vs. financial analyst)?
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