2011 PMF Semi-Finalists and In-Person Assessment: Open Thread

[Cross-posted to PMF Info blog here]

No, the semi-finalist list is not out (to my knowledge). Once it does come out, I’m sure most of you will know before I do. (Nor, as an aside, has the PMF site finally cleared what I assume is legal review for publishing). This post can serve as an open thread for anyone who wants to share the good or bad news, once it arrives.

In the mean time, however, we can discuss the in-person assessment a bit. A commenter in a previous thread pointed me to a document proposed to (but not, apparently, published by) the Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO) Council regarding the administration of the in-person assessment (warning: PDF). Based on other information I have seen, the document appears to cover the breakdown of the in-person assessments, anticipating the number of semi-finalists that are expected at each of the assessment centers. Of particular note is the anticipated number of semi-finalists: 1500. Of the over 9100 applicants and 7400 ultimately nominated, the PMF Program Office intends to invite around 1500 semi-finalists to the in-person assessments. For those interested in graphing this, that’s: 82% of applicants become nominees; and 20% of nominees (or 16% of applicants) will be chosen as semi-finalists. Further, the PMF Program Office indicates that about 750-800 semi-finalists will advance to finalist status (as a percentage of applicants, that’s 8.2-8.7%; as a percentage of nominees, that’s 10-10.7%; and as a percentage of semi-finalists, that’s 50-53%). Historically, agencies have been able to absorb maybe half of the finalists, depending on demand. It’s a useful approximation here, but given the state of the economy and the political climate toward federal employees right now, it’s anyone’s guess as to how this will play out in 2011. If we take the historical rate, then, an applicant has about a 1-in-25 shot at landing a position; a nominee improves to 1-in-20; and a semi-finalist improves to 1-in-4. Put another way, the program selects only about 4-5% of its applicants, which is pretty competitive (but you knew this, right?)

Now back to the in-person assessment. The locations (which were apparently polled preferentially) are:

  • Washington, DC
  • Chicago, IL
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Atlanta, GA

(According to the document) The assessment is a one-day, day-long assessment before a three member panel (comprised of an OPM official, an official from another agency, and a current or former PMF), and it will require semi-finalists to prepare and deliver an individual presentation, participate in a group exercise, and deliver a proctored writing assessment. The assessments will be spread out over approximately three weeks, so you will have a time window in which to schedule the assessment.

What do you think of this format? The assessment locations? When/where would you plan (or are you planning) to take the in-person assessment? And finally, is this process something in which you would expect to participate next year (or thereafter), should you become a finalist and find an appointment?

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Sean Hughes

The new PMF website appears to be up and running. On it they note that nominees can expect to hear on their semi-finalist status between December 20th-December 24th. Good luck everyone!


I’m not anti the new process. Seems to make sense – I’m glad there is some in-person assessment versus just an online assessment.

I truly think the real effort should be to measure and track PMF engagement and career paths.

PMF Fellow

It’s funny, I was losing hope that the new site would be approved and published. But now that it’s up, I’m interested in what people think.

I have some issues with the online assessment, but am not exactly against it. The in-person assessment sounds interesting though. And rigorous. So rigorous, in fact, that I’m sort of glad I didn’t have to go through it myself.

And yes, the next effort needs to focus on what PMFs do and where they go while they’re in the program and after they finish. 2, 5, and 10 year (or other interval) attrition rates might be helpful. And whatever it takes, build an official alumni network with state-of-the-art tools to keep us in touch.