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    Do you desire to protect American interests and secure our Nation while building a meaningful and rewarding career?  If so, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is calling.  DHS components work collectively to prevent terrorism, secure borders, enforce and administer immigration laws, safeguard cyberspace and ensure resiliency to disasters.  The vitality and magnitude of this mission is achieved by a diverse workforce spanning hundreds of occupations.  Make an impact; join DHS.

    Discover a challenging and rewarding career in CBP, the sole organization responsible for securing the nation's borders.  At U.S. Customs and Border Protection, we:

    • Screen passengers, vehicles, and shipments entering our country
    • Seize illegal narcotics, vehicles, and agricultural products
    • Prevent unauthorized entry into the country
    • Rescue individuals who fall into dangerous conditions traversing our border

    For more information about CBP's mission, activities, and careers, please see http://www.cbp.gov/

    Who May Apply:  Applications to take the assessments will be accepted from permanent Customs and Border Protection employees with competitive status who meet the following:

    1.  Currently or previously served at the GS-11 grade level or higher, and

    2.  Possess the basic educational requirements noted under the Education section and possess at least one year of specialized experience interpreting and applying a comprehensive range of Federal laws, rules, regulations and procedures concerning the import/export of agricultural commodities and the introduction of harmful pests, diseases and potential agro-terrorism into the United States. 

    NOTE:  The grade levels listed in this announcement (GS-13/14) indicate the grade levels that will be offered in future vacancy announcements using this assessment process.

    Learn more about this agency



    The purpose of this announcement is to solicit applications for the next CBP Agriculture Specialist Supervisory Promotional Assessments and to provide applicants the method for completing the required CBP Agriculture Specialist Career Experience Inventory (CEI) element of the assessments. Completion of the assessment (including the CEI) is required before you can apply for promotion to a supervisory or managerial CBP Agriculture Specialist position covered by this assessment process. If you have previously taken the multiple-choice written assessments, you may retain your score on those elements.

    ** Two Important Changes for the CBP Agriculture Specialist Career Experience Inventory (CEI) **

    1.  Update Your Career Experience Inventory (CEI):  The CBP Agriculture Specialist CEI portion of the promotional assessments was updated in 2014 to reflect the current experiential requirements of GS-0401-13-14 supervisors and managers.  If your most recent CBP Agriculture Specialist CEI was submitted before 2014, then it was rescored on 31 May 2015 and you received no points on the new and changed items.  Therefore, candidates who have yet to submit a new CEI are strongly urged to do so at this time.

    2.  The CEI Dashboard:  A CBP Agriculture Specialist CEI Dashboard was implemented in 2015.  It provides a summary of your CEI experiences in graphical format.  Through a secure web-based interface on the OFO Career Development website, you can compare a summary of your CEI experiences to the aggregate experiences of the candidates against whom you are likely to compete for vacancies covered by the CBP Agriculture Specialist Competency-Based Assessments for promotion.  Additionally, through a separate, secure web-based interface, selecting officials can now access a CEI Dashboard summary of CEI experience level responses of every candidate on a selection certificate.  Selecting officials can make comparisons of each candidate's summary responses to the aggregate responses of the other candidates.  They use this information as one component of the factors considered when making selection decisions.  Therefore, it is to your advantage to ensure your CEI is up-to-date with your most recent experience.

    - The CEI Dashboard supports the Workforce Transformation Initiatives Career Roadmap project and helps to address concerns raised in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey related to training and development.

    Travel Required

    Not required

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


    Who May Apply

    This job is open to…

    Current GS-11 through GS-13 CBP Employees With Competitive Status

    Questions? This job is open to 1 group.

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    Conditions Of Employment


    In order to take the assessments you must meet the criteria as defined under "Qualifications and Evaluations" section.

    The following components are required as indicated below:

    Applicants for First-Line (GS-13) Supervisory Positions              
    a. CBP Agriculture Specialist Career Experience Inventory (CEI)                          
    b. Critical Thinking Skills Assessment             
    c. Managerial Writing Skills Assessment

    Applicants for Second-Line and Other (GS-13 thru 14) Supervisory/Managerial Positions
    a. CBP Agriculture Specialist Career Experience Inventory (CEI)                   
    b. Critical Thinking Skills Assessment                  
    c. Managerial Writing Skills Assessment                                      
    d. In-Basket Job Simulation 

    If you are a GS-11 or GS-12 and only intend to apply for a first-line supervisory position, you may take the In-Basket Job Simulation for practice but the results will not be included in your score.

    If you intend to apply for other supervisory/managerial positions, you must take the In-Basket Job Simulation.


    Applications to take the assessments will be accepted from permanent U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees with competitive status who meet the following: 

    1.  Currently serving or previously served in a position at the GS-11 grade level or above.  NOTE:  You are eligible to participate in this testing open period if you will obtain your GS-11 by the start of testing which is March 21, 2018.

    2.  Possess the basic educational requirements noted under the Education section and possess at least one year of specialized experience interpreting and applying a comprehensive range of Federal laws, rules, regulations and procedures concerning the import/export of agricultural commodities and the introduction of harmful pests, diseases, and potential agro-terrorism into the United States. 

    NOTE:  Eligibility to take the assessments and eligibility to apply for specific vacancies (announcements that will be posted in the future) are not the same.  Therefore, eligibility to take the CBP Agriculture Specialist Assessments does not guarantee eligibility to compete for specific vacancies.  For example, you may have recently been promoted to the GS-12 level and may register and take the assessment.  However, you must meet time-in-grade eligibility requirements (one year at the GS-12 level) at the time you apply for a specific vacancy.  Eligibility requirements for specific vacancies will appear on the vacancy announcements as they are posted.

    Applicants must possess at least one year of specialized experience interpreting and applying a comprehensive range of Federal laws, rules, regulations and procedures concerning the import/export of agricultural commodities and the introduction of harmful pests, diseases and potential agro-terrorism into the United States.


    You must have successfully completed a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelors or higher degree that included a major field of study in biological sciences (including botany, entomology, and plant pathology), agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines (e.g., ecology).  If you have not completed the above described education, you must have completed at least 24 semester hours in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry or a related discipline plus appropriate experience or additional education.  Examples of qualifying experience may include working in such areas as pest control, pesticide management, environmental monitoring, farm management, agricultural commodity importation and/or exportation, or other related experience in pest/pathogen detection, regulation, eradication, control.

    Additional information

    The following provides important dates and a link to the Overview and Frequently Asked Questions regarding the CBP Agriculture Specialist Promotional Assessments.


    Test Opportunity Announcement Open Period                  November 20 - December 8, 2017

    Scheduling Notices E-mailed to Candidates                      February 14, 2018

    Candidates Schedule Their Assessments                         February 14-28, 2018 (by 11:59 pm EST)

    Complete Assessments/Test Administration                      March 21 - April 18, 2018

    Scores are effective for vacancies that open on or after    May 31, 2018

    Click on the link below to view the complete Overview and Frequently Asked Questions for the CBP Agriculture Specialist Competency-Based Promotional Assessments:


    How You Will Be Evaluated

    There are four assessment components.  Each is described below.

    1. CBP Agriculture Specialist Career Experience Inventory (CEI).  This task-based inventory assesses the quantity and quality of specific experiences important for effective performance as a CBP Agriculture Specialist supervisor or manager.  The CEI will be available for candidates to complete during every test opportunity open period (open periods are expected to be every 12 months).  The CEI is a comprehensive experience measure that covers many positions.  It is completed on-line and is available by clicking "Apply Online" on the right side of this announcement.


    When completing your CEI:

    • You may find it helpful to preview the questions and prepare a Word document with your responses.  You can copy and paste your responses into USAJOBS to minimize the amount of time you spend in USAJOBS and avoid the system "timing out."
    • Be aware that your responses are not automatically saved.  Therefore, you should save your responses frequently, and it is highly recommended that you use a wired (rather than wifi or cellular) connection to complete your CEI.
    • Make a note to check your application status to make sure your application is submitted and accepted by the system prior to the application closing date/time, which is always Eastern Standard Time.
    2. Critical Thinking Skills Assessment.  This multiple-choice assessment presents job-related situations and asks for conclusions about the situation and what decisions the candidates would make if they were in the situation.  This assessment may only be taken once in a 12-month period.
    3. Managerial Writing Skills Assessment.  This is a multiple-choice assessment that measures the ability to write and review the types of documents that supervisors and managers use on the job.  This assessment may only be taken once in a 12-month period.
    4. In-Basket Job Simulation.  This multiple-choice assessment presents job-related documents for review and asks candidates about the actions they would take to handle the documents.  This assessment may only be taken once in a 12-month period.

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Not Applicable

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    Required Documents

    You must complete an on-line questionnaire by the closing date of this announcement. 

    Human resources will use your e-mail address for all official notification concerning your application.  This is also the e-mail address at which you will receive important information regarding scheduling your assessments.  Therefore, we strongly suggest you enter your work e-mail address on your application; some candidates in the past who entered a personal e-mail address found that their personal e-mail service provider blocked their scheduling messages for various reasons.  It is your responsibility to ensure that you check your e-mail periodically and notify prom.support@dhs.gov if you do not receive an expected e-mail by the anticipated date (see Important Dates To Remember below).  It is also your responsibility to follow the instructions in the e-mails you receive by the deadlines given in the e-mails.


    You should receive an e-mail notifying you of your eligibility or ineligibility on February 14, 2018.  If you DO NOT receive this e-mail on February 14, 2018, send an e-mail the next day to prom.support@dhs.gov stating that you applied and have not received a notification of your eligibility.  We will follow up and write back to you.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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    A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding.

    DHS offers competitive starting salaries and an attractive benefits package, including: health, vision, dental, life and long-term care insurance, Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401(k)), Flexible Spending Account, retirement plan, Employee Assistance Program, personal leave days and paid federal holidays.  Other benefits may include: flexible work schedules, telework, tuition reimbursement, transportation subsidies, uniform allowance, health and wellness programs, and fitness centers.  DHS is committed to employee development and offers a variety of employee training and development opportunities.  For more information, please go to www.dhs.gov/careers and select "Benefits".

    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

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    How to Apply

    You must complete the online occupational questionnaire.  Please be sure to respond to all questions in the on-line questionnaire.  Errors or omissions may result in you being rated ineligible.

    You can apply directly to this announcement and complete the occupational questionnaire.  Click the Apply Online button to start a new occupational questionnaire.

    When you have completed the occupational questionnaire select the "Finish" button.  If you want to "Save" an incomplete Occupational Questionnaire and return later, select the "Save" button at the top or bottom of each of the application pages and click the "Logout" button.  

    You may return later to complete an application/occupational questionnaire.  Note that you will be allowed to apply more than once, but the most recent application is the only one that will be used.

    Remember that the application must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date, Friday December 8, 2017.  If you have difficulty with your computer system that prevents you from submitting your application, contact prom.support@dhs.gov prior to the close of the announcement.

    Applications will not be accepted by mail.  If you are unable to apply on-line, contact the Human Resources Office representative listed on this announcement at least one day prior to the closing date for further instructions. 


    There is a Promotional Assessment Study Guide available on CBP.gov.  Go to http://www.cbp.gov.  Click on the "Careers" tab at the top of the screen.  Then click on "Current Applicant Resources" on the left-hand side of the screen, and the "Study Guides."

    Agency contact information

    PROM Unit


    CBP Hiring Center
    5600 American Blvd
    Suite 700
    Bloomington, MN
    Learn more about this agency

    Customs and Border Protection (CBP):  Securing America's Borders

    Next steps

    ASSESSMENT SCORES:  Your total score will be based on your overall performance on both the multiple-choice written assessments and the CBP Agriculture Specialist Career Experience Inventory. 

    Keep in mind that if you choose to retain your previous multiple-choice written assessment scores, those scores only comprise a portion of your total score.  It is your total score that will be used as the basis for consideration for future vacancies for which you apply.  If you fail to complete any required portion of the assessment process, including the CBP Agriculture Specialist Career Experience Inventory, you will not be able to compete for vacancies covered by this process. 

    Once you have completed the required assessments, you must apply for vacancies as they occur and are posted.  They will be posted on-line.  It is recommended that you use the e-mail notification option under USAJOBS in order to receive specific notification of open vacancy announcements.  The assessment results will be used to determine which competitive candidates (who apply to specific vacancy announcements) are referred to the selecting official for selection consideration. 

    Assessment scores are valid indefinitely.  However, you may retake any of the multiple-choice assessments after a minimum of 12 months has passed from the last time you took them.  You may update your Career Experience Inventory (CEI) each open period.  If you retake any of the multiple-choice assessments or submit a new CEI, YOUR LATEST TOTAL SCORE will be used when applying for future positions. 


    APPLICANT NOTIFICATION:  All applicants who complete the assessments will receive a confidential feedback report from Customs and Border Protection on their performance in each of the competency areas assessed. The Promotional Assessments Study Guide on CBP.gov contains information for interpreting your feedback report and developmental resources.  Go to http://www.cbp.gov.  Click on the "Careers" tab at the top of the screen.  Then click on "Current Applicant Resources" on the left-hand side of the screen, and then "Study Guides."




Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy And gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a Case-by-Case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change in the workplace or the way things are customarily done that provides an equal employment opportunity to an individual with a disability. Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) must provide reasonable accommodations:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

Legal and regulatory guidance

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/484354100. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.