Pay scale questions to ask during virtual site visit

General Discussion for SMART Scholarship Recipients
2021 awardee

Pay scale questions to ask during virtual site visit

Post by 2021 awardee »


I was wondering if some of y’all who had your site visits in the past could give some insight on what are some good questions to ask during the site visit regarding pay when we graduate? I saw in this forum that some of the SFs follow different pay scales and I want to ask about the money and what pay scale they use/where I will start off but I don’t want to seem pushy or only money oriented.

Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:52 pm

Re: Pay scale questions to ask during virtual site visit

Post by guest007 »

Congrats on the award! You seem to have a good sense that you don't want to be pushy and make it completely money-oriented since there are a lot of other factors at play, but asking about payscales is necessary during the site visit since this is a commitment you will be locked into for X number of years. Below is a good list of starting questions, especially if you are new to the government and aren't familiar with the overall pay system.
1. What paytable are you on? (GS, NH, etc.)
2. Where can I expect to start on the table (row and column)
3. Is there a special paytable for young engineers? (There was for me, and my boss did not know about it so go to the link at the bottom to search for your field, agency, and location/base)
4. What does the hiring process and potential negotiation look like? Due to the rigidity of the federal pay system, a lot of times you can only negotiate "horizontally" on the paytable so ask how far right you can go. This is easier if you are the only scholar, if there are a few of you then it gets tougher because you get lumped in with everyone else for better or worse.

PM me if you have more specific questions.

Magikarp Patronus

Re: Pay scale questions to ask during virtual site visit

Post by Magikarp Patronus »

Guest007 offered some great questions. The only thing I think it's important to add is that the pay system for your sponsoring facility may change between now and when you graduate, so it is probably best if you take their answer as an indicator, but not a promise. This is inherently part of the risk of participating in the SMART program.

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