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U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Ensuring the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce

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Recruitment & Selection

Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs)

OPM has identified five executive core qualifications (ECQs). The ECQs define the competencies needed to build a federal corporate culture that drives for results, serves customers, and builds successful teams and coalitions within and outside the organization. The executive core qualifications are required for entry to the Senior Executive Service and are used by many departments and agencies in selection, performance management, and leadership development for management and executive positions. The ECQs were designed to assess executive experience and potential—not technical expertise.

The fundamental competencies are the attributes that serve as the foundation for each of the executive core qualifications. Experience and training that strengthen and demonstrate the competencies will enhance a candidate's overall qualifications for the SES and measure whether an individual has the broad executive skills needed to succeed in a variety of SES positions-not whether they are the most superior candidate for a particular position. (This latter determination is made by the employing agency.)

Executive Core Qualifications

Fundamental Competencies

Questions and Answers

ECQ Overall Chart

Download the SES Qualifications Guide

Download the SES Guide in pdf format! The 32-page Guide to Senior Executive Service Qualifications PDF formatted Document [269KB] (sometimes referred to as the "handbook") is now available as a downloadable pdf file.

Successful performance in the SES requires competence in each ECQ. The ECQs are interdependent; successful executives bring all five to bear when providing service to the Nation. Announcements of individual SES vacancies and SES Candidate Development Programs (CDPs) generally include the ECQs. Go to USAJOBS for information on SES and CDP opportunities.