Special Agent Qualifications
All applicants must be United States citizens. This is a Federal Law Enforcement position. Applicants must not have reached their 37th birthday at the time of certification, and they must be available to work anywhere in the US. Applicants presently serving in or have served in a federal law enforcement position may be eligible for this position after their 37th birthday. The maximum age for law enforcement officers does not apply to the hiring of preference eligible veterans. Applicants must also meet specific education and/or experience requirements and demonstrate certain competencies. Applicants must carry and use a firearm. A valid driver's license is required.
How You Will Be Evaluated
Candidates who pass the Skills Assessment Center exercises (writing samples and interview) will be placed into final quality categories (A and B, or C) based on pre-established benchmarks of performance. Only those in the top quality Category, Category A, will move forward in the hiring process.
Special Agent Selection - Assessment Process
Online Application: Applications for IRS Criminal Investigator (Special Agent) positions will be accepted during an open vacancy announcement. Criminal investigator (CI) vacancy announcements will be posted online through the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) USAJobs website. During an open announcement period, applicants will be required to submit a résumé with his/her original application.
Phase 1 - Occupational Questionnaire: If an applicant meets the minimum qualifications requirements, his/her experience, education, and training will be rated using an online occupational questionnaire. Based on the responses to the questions, applicants will be tentatively placed into quality Categories A, B and C. If an applicant meets the minimum qualifications and initial Category A requirements, he/she will be invited to participate in the first phase of testing: a Realistic Job Preview video with follow-up questions, and the CI Job Simulation I (see additional information under Phase 2 below).
Phase 2 - Online Assessments (un-proctored): All tentatively eligible applicants who meet the initial Category A requirements will be invited to move forward in the selection process and participate in a set of un-proctored online assessments: a Realistic Job Preview (RJP) video and the CI Job Simulation I. The RJP consists of a 10-minute video applicants will view then answer a series of follow-up questions assessing their fit and eligibility for the IRS CI position. Applicants who are eligible to continue past this point will go on to complete an on-line job simulation assessment. The CI Job Simulation I is designed to replicate the real life work challenges of the special agent position and continues to verify applicants’ qualifications and measure the critical competencies required of an IRS Special Agent including: Decision Making, Reasoning, Problem Solving, Learning, Teamwork, Stress Tolerance, Flexibility, and Influencing/Negotiating. Applicants will have one hour and 25 minutes to complete the online job simulation.
Applicants who pass the Phase 2 on-line assessments will have their résumé and supporting documentation reviewed to ensure they meet the basic qualification requirements. Qualified applicants will then be invited to schedule and complete the next phase of testing in a proctored testing environment.
Phase 3 - Special Agent Test Battery (proctored): Qualified applicants who pass Phase 2 will be invited to schedule and complete a computerized competency-based assessment battery. The special agent test battery is administered via the World Wide Web at more than 500 nationwide test centers. Applicants can schedule a time to take the test battery over a two-week open testing period. Two tests are included in the Phase 3 test battery, the multiple-choice Special Agent Knowledge and Skill Examination (SA KaSE), and the CI Job Simulation II. These multi-media assessments measure numerous general and technical competencies required for the CI position including Accounting Principles, Logical Reasoning, Problem Solving, Arithmetic, Writing, Decision-Making, Interpersonal Skills, etc. Applicants must pass the SA KaSE and CI Job Simulation II to be invited to the final phase of competency-based assessment, the Skills Assessment Center.
Phase 4 - Skills Assessment Center (in-person): Applicants who pass Phase 3 testing, will be invited to a final phase of competency-based assessment, the in-person Skills Assessment Center at an IRS Field Office location. The Skills Assessment Center (SAC) consists of two Writing Sample Assessments and a panel-based Structured Interview:
- Writing Sample Assessments - The writing sample exercises will require applicants to provide written narratives based on a series of stimulus materials that model the types of information candidates may analyze and write reports on in the actual special agent job. The writing exercises evaluate an applicant’s overall writing ability, organization and structure, development of ideas and presentation of conclusions, ability to synthesize and summarize information, grammar, punctuation, spelling and vocabulary. Writing exercises are scored by teams of trained special agent assessors using standardized rating criteria. Applicants must pass both writing exercises to continue to be eligible for selection.
- Structured Interview - Two trained senior level criminal investigators administer the structured interview. The interview consists of situational questions that do not require technical knowledge or previous law enforcement experience. All applicants will be asked the same set of standardized questions and rated based on pre-determined benchmarks of proficiency. The structured interview assesses an applicant’s Judgment and Decision-Making skills, Teamwork, Influencing/Negotiating, Interpersonal Skills, Stress Tolerance, Flexibility, Conscientiousness and Integrity, Attention to Detail, and Oral Communication. These competencies are essential to success as an IRS Special Agent. Candidates must receive a "pass" in all competency areas measured by the structured interview in order to progress in the hiring process.
Candidates who pass the Skills Assessment Center exercises (writing samples and interview) will be placed into final quality categories (A and B) based on pre-established benchmarks of performance. Only those in the top quality Category, Category A, will move forward in the hiring process.
Post Phase 4 Selection Certificate: Applicants’ final category assignments determine the order in which they are considered for the position. Applicants must have met Category A criteria at each phase of the assessment process to be placed on the selection certificate for consideration by the selecting official. Those applicants selected will receive a tentative job offer pending completion of the Pre-employment Process.
Special Agent Pre-Employment Process
Candidates given a tentative job offer must satisfactorily complete four requirements prior to entering a GL-1811, Criminal Investigator Special Agent position and attend training at Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). These requirements are:
- Submit to a drug test and receive a negative result.
- Submit to an agency-provided physical examination and meet the medical requirements of the position as outlined in the OPM qualification standards.
- Initiate paperwork and receive a favorable determination based on a full background investigation.
- Undergo and satisfactorily complete a pre-appointment tax audit.
Candidates who pass the Skills Assessment Center exercises (writing samples and interview) will be placed into final quality categories (A, B, or C) based on pre-established benchmarks of performance. Only those in the top quality Category, Category A, will move forward in the hiring process.
Motor Vehicle Operation
Candidates who are tentatively selected must possess a valid driver's license at the time of appointment. They must also qualify after appointment for authorization to operate motor vehicles in accordance with applicable Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations and related requirements of the Department of the Treasury.
Applicants must agree to nationwide availability (including Puerto Rico) for their first post of duty (POD). Specific POD assignments will be announced prior to training in Glynco, Georgia. Special Agents must be available for both temporary assignments and permanent reassignments as the workload and needs of IRS dictate.
Applicants are required to sign a condition of employment indicating their awareness that they may be assigned throughout their careers to any location within the Service's jurisdiction based on the needs of the Service.
Applicants must have completed a four-year course of study or bachelor's degree in any field of study that included, or was supplemented by, at least 15 semester hours/23 quarter hours in accounting, plus an additional 9 semester hours/14 quarter hours from among the following, or closely related, fields: finance, economics, business law, tax law, or money and banking.
Have at least 3 years of successful, responsible accounting and business experience that required knowledge and application of accounting and auditing principles and general business practices - and that demonstrated the ability to analyze and comprehend accounting and bookkeeping records, financial statements, related reports and automated systems.
Possess a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Certificate. Applicants are required to show proof of possession of a CPA certificate (certificate number and date of issuance) that was obtained through written examination in a state, territory or the District of Columbia.
Possess a combination of education and experience as described above.
Applicants must have completed 1 full year of graduate-level education supplemented by at least 15 semester/23 quarter hours in accounting, plus an additional 9 semester/14 quarter hours from among the following fields: business law, economics, finance, tax law or money and banking.
Meet one of the following Superior Academic Achievement provisions:
- A GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all completed undergraduate courses or those completed in the last 2 years of study, OR
- A GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all courses in your major field of study or those courses in your major completed in the last 2 years of study, or rank in the upper third of your class in the college, university or major subdivision, OR
- Membership in a national honor society recognized by the Association of College Honor Societies.
NOTE: Superior Academic Achievement is credited only if applicant has completed all of the requirements for a bachelor's degree which included, or was supplemented by, at least 15 semester/23 quarter hours in accounting, plus an additional 9 semester/14 quarter hours from among the following fields: finance, economics, business law, tax law, or money and banking.
Have at least 1 year of specialized experience in, or related to, investigation of criminal violations that provided the specific knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform the position's duties. Experience must include the exercising tact, initiative, ingenuity, resourcefulness and judgment in collecting, assembling and developing facts, evidence and other pertinent data through investigative techniques that included personal interview; and, the ability to prepare and present oral and written reports of personally conducted or personally directed investigations, examinations or inspections; and the ability to analyze and evaluate evidence and arrive at sound conclusions. This experience must have been acquired in investigative work related to the accounting, auditing, business or commercial practices of subjects investigated.
Possess a combination of education and experience that meets total qualification requirements.
Applicants must possess one of the following education and/or experience requirements:
- A course of study that includes 2 full years of progressively higher level graduate education
- A master's degree
- An equivalent graduate degree (i.e., LLB or JD)
All of the above educational requirements must be supplemented by at least 15 semester hours (or 23 quarter hours) in accounting, plus an additional 9 semester hours/14 quarter hours from among the following or closely related fields: finance, economics, money and banking, tax law and business law.
Have at least 1 year of specialized experience, which is defined as experience in, or related to, the investigation of criminal violations that provided the specific knowledge and abilities needed to successfully perform the position's duties. Experience must have been acquired in investigative work related to the accounting, auditing, business or commercial practices of subject(s) investigated.
Possess a combination of education and experience that meets the total qualification requirement.
GL-1811-9 Grade Level
The following are examples of qualifying specialized experience (ONLY) if they were performed while doing investigative work related to the accounting, auditing, business or commercial practices of subject(s) investigated:
- Provided leadership of or was a member of a military intelligence or criminal investigative team, or a component in which the principal duties consisted of financial investigation, intelligence gathering or criminal tax prosecution.
- Analyzed or evaluated raw investigative financial data and prepared comprehensive written investigative reports.
- Investigated complex financial claims involving suspected crimes or alleged fraud.
- Conducted investigative accounting work that required the use of recognized investigative methods and techniques, and that might have included appearing in court to present evidence.
- Investigated criminal cases that required the use of recognized investigative methods and techniques and that might have included appearing in court to present evidence.
- Supervised or conducted interviews or interrogations that involved eliciting evidence, data or surveillance information related to accounting.
- Law enforcement work in which 50 percent or more of the time involved criminal investigations requiring the use of surveillance, undercover or other criminal detection methods or techniques. The experience must have been related to the accounting, auditing, business or commercial practices of subjects investigated.
- Investigated computerized business and/or accounting systems, and formed sound conclusions to related criminal business practices and compliance with federal laws and regulations.
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