Frequently Asked Questions about IRS Executive Careers

What is the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SES CDP)?

The Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SES CDP) is the principal means through which the IRS seeks, identifies and hires career executives. The CDP provides selected applicants the opportunity to work with a diverse, knowledgeable, and highly-skilled workforce. The program duration is a minimum of one year and maximum of two years, and consists of formal training, e.g., the Executive Development Program (XD), and individual developmental assignments. The CDP identifies exceptionally talented, highly qualified persons with demonstrated leadership competencies and prepares them for Senior Executive Service positions, which are classified above a GS-15 or its equivalent. Career SES positions are not Presidential appointments and do not require Senate confirmation, however, incumbents of these positions are, generally, responsible for managerial, supervisory, and/or policy functions at the highest levels of the agency.

What is the Executive Development (XD) Program?

A. The Executive Development (XD) Program is the formal training phase of the IRS SES Candidate Development Program. The program consists of a series of classroom and other group learning activities geared toward further strengthening leadership competencies, as assessed by the SES Executive Core Qualifications. The XD Program is also designed to help participants better understand the strategic vision of the IRS as it relates to their future roles as executives.

How do I find out more about the IRS SES Candidate Development Program?

A. You can find specific details regarding the CDP hiring and selection process when an IRS vacancy announcement is posted on www.usajobs.opm.gov. You may also call the Internal Revenue Service Office of Executive Services at (202) 622-6320 or send an e-mail to irs.sescdp@irs.gov to learn more about the CDP.

What are the qualification requirements for the CDP?

A. The IRS recruits individuals from a variety of career fields ranging from tax administration to information technology to support services. To be eligible for consideration for this program, you must demonstrate that you have had one year or more of leadership experience at the GS-14/GS-15 level or above in the federal government, or comparable experience in the public or private sectors. Your experience must be at a sufficiently high level of leadership or management to demonstrate you possess the competencies which comprise the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs). To learn more about ECQs, please click here.

How do I apply for the Candidate Development Program?

A. Specific instructions on how to apply are explained in the announcement whenever it is posted on the OPM website at www.usajobs.opm.gov.  As part of the application process, you will need to submit your resume as well as respond to a questionnaire with information on your leadership experiences and interests.

Are there any special requirements for my résumé?

A. Yes. Your résumé may not exceed three pages and should be prepared according to the instructions listed in the vacancy announcement. Résumé content extending over the three page limit will not be reviewed or considered. Your résumé will be used to verify and confirm the extent to which you have demonstrated the competencies, skills, and experiences defined by the ECQs.

How much time do I have to apply to an IRS vacancy announcement?

A. The specific opening and closing dates for all vacancies will be shown on the vacancy announcements posted on the USAJOBS.gov website. Please refer to these dates to determine the open period for each vacancy announcement. In order to receive full consideration, applications must contain all information requested and be submitted by the closing date of the announcement.

When are new vacancy announcements for the CDP posted?

A. VCDP announcements are posted on an as-needed basis in order to ensure that IRS maintains a highly qualified executive cadre with the required mixture of leadership and technical skills to meet the organization's needs. The number of positions to be filled by each CDP class will be determined based on IRS' business and succession planning requirements.

I previously applied for the Candidate Development Program but was not accepted. I am still interested. Is it necessary to submit a new application package?

A. Due to recent modifications to the CDP application process, you do need to resubmit an application.

What is the mobility requirement and how will it be applied?

A. Geographic and/or positional mobility is required for CDP participants and will be considered to the extent necessary to meet the developmental needs of the individual and the needs of the Internal Revenue Service. The necessity of maintaining a qualified group of executives for positions requires that all CDP applicants be available for assignments in headquarters locations in Washington, DC or Atlanta or in field offices throughout the U.S. In determining assignments, IRS will make every effort to balance the needs of individual executives with the needs of the organization. Some travel will be required during the course of the CDP.

What is the salary range for the CDP participants? What happens after I complete the CDP?

A. Candidates in the CDP are placed in the IR Senior Manager payband. Selectees who hold Federal competitive appointments in the Service’s Senior Manager payband will be reassigned or appointed to the position of Executive Officer, retaining their current pay level. Selectees who hold positions in the General Schedule pay plan will be placed in the Service’s Senior Manager payband. A selectee who is not a Federal employee, or a selectee who is a Federal employee but is serving on other than a career or career-type appointment, must accept a Schedule B appointment, not to exceed three years, in order to participate in the SES CDP. Advancement into the SES depends on performance, OPM certification, and the availability of vacant positions.

What is the process for selection into the Candidate Development Program?

A. Résumés are evaluated on the basis of an applicant’s statements describing the quality and extent of his/her accomplishments, experiences, and education. Work experiences are evaluated to determine the degree to which the applicant possesses the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) to become an executive in the federal government. (Click here for additional information on ECQs). If an applicant meets the qualification requirements, his/her application is further evaluated by a panel of senior executives.  Applicants making the best qualified list are notified if they need to be scheduled for an interview.  Final selections for the program are made by the agency’s Executive Resource Board after receipt and consideration of recommendations from the senior executive interviewing panel.

If I am selected for a CDP position, will I be subject to a background check and a tax check?

A. Yes. If you are selected to move forward to the interview process, you will be required to undergo a full background investigation and tax check. Selectees are also subject to a tax audit for open tax years (i.e., years not otherwise barred by statute, usually the last three years).

If I am selected for a CDP position, what benefits will I be eligible to receive?

A. As an IRS employee, you will be eligible to receive several benefits of federal service. You will also have the choice of participating in optional programs. Many benefits are conferred upon your appointment, including enrollment in the federal retirement plan, vacation time, and sick leave. You will also receive the option to participate in other benefits, such as health and life insurance programs, and the Thrift Savings Plan, a tax-deferred savings program with matching agency contributions, similar to a private sector 401(K). Each benefits program has specific participation rules and timeframes for enrollment.

Do veterans receive preference for SES positions?

A. No. The reason is the Federal regulation 5 USC 2108(3) which defines the term “preference eligible” provides that this term does not include applicants for, or members of, the Senior Executive Service.

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