The Foreign Service Journal, October 2022

38 OCTOBER 2022 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Deidi Delahanty, a retired Foreign Service officer, serves as senior adviser to the State Department Board of Examiners as a reemployed annuitant. During a 40-year career with the Department of State, she served overseas in Warsaw, Bridgetown, Vilnius, Tashkent, Kyiv, Ankara, and Seoul. In Washington she worked in the Comptroller's Office, the Press Office, the Operations Center, the Allowances Staff, the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and the Bureau of Global Talent Management. She was deputy director of the Office of Foreign Missions Midwest Regional Office, was detailed to the Department of Labor in Chicago, and is a 2007 graduate of the National War College. FSO SELECTION Changing the Path to the Oral Assessment No longer a pass/fail gateway to the Foreign Service, written test scores will be considered with other factors evaluated by means of a complex algorithm at the Qualification Evaluation Panel stage. BY DE I D I DE LAHANTY H ow do we ensure that the State Department attracts and hires the most competitive, qualified candi- dates for the Foreign Service? For the Foreign Service Board of Examiners (BEX), the focus is on assessment. In coordination with testing industry experts, BEX continuously reviews its various test components and materials, making data-driven adjustments and improvements STRAIGHT FROM THE SOURCE as warranted. The most recent change, announced on April 26— factoring a candidate’s Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) score at the Qualification Evaluation Panel (QEP) step—is the result of in-depth analysis to improve the selection of candidates most likely to succeed in the Foreign Service. The change is designed to ensure BEX assessors receive a holistic view of each candi- date’s qualifications. Why this change? To answer this, we need some historical context. The QEP was introduced in 2007 as an intermediate step between the FSOT and the time- and labor-intensive Foreign Service Oral Assessment (FSOA). At the QEP, BEX assessors review a candidate’s résumé, as well as answers to six personal narra- tive questions. Using a series of detailed rubrics tied to the 13 Dimensions (see box on page 40), candidate files are scored; and the strongest candidates in each career track from that testing cohort advance to the oral assessment. Considering a candidate’s experience as part of the threshold to the FSOA is in line with best practices in the private sector and makes sense for the Foreign Service, as well. Prior to 2007, any candidate who achieved a passing score on the FSOT received an invitation to the FSOA. Under that pro- cess, the historical pass rate at the FSOA hovered at around 22