The Final Review Panel

Upon completion of the background investigation, a Final Review Panel will examine the candidate’s completed file (except medical records) to determine the candidate’s suitability for employment with the Foreign Service.

The attainment of U.S. foreign policy objectives depends substantially on the confidence of the public (both American and foreign) in the individuals selected to serve in the Foreign Service. The Department of State, therefore, requires the highest standards of conduct by employees of the Foreign Service, including an especially high degree of integrity, reliability, and prudence. Given the representational nature of employment in the Service, employees must observe proper standards at all times. The purpose of the Final Review is to determine, from the candidate’s total record, whether the candidate is indeed suitable to represent the United States. The Final Review Panel has the authority to terminate a candidacy.

In evaluating suitability, the Final Review Panel takes into consideration the following factors:

  • Misconduct in prior employment, including marginal performance or inability to interact effectively with others
  • Criminal, dishonest, or disgraceful conduct
  • Misrepresentation, including deception or fraud, in the application process
  • Repeated or habitual use to excess of intoxicating beverages affecting the ability to perform the duties and responsibilities of the employee’s position
  • Trafficking in or abuse of narcotics or controlled substances
  • Reasonable doubt as to loyalty to the U.S. Government
  • Conduct which clearly shows poor judgment and or lack of discretion which may reasonably affect an individual or the agency’s ability to carry out its responsibilities or mission
  • Financial irresponsibility, including a history of not meeting financial obligations or an inability to satisfy debts

The most common grounds for a finding of unsuitability are a recent history of drug or alcohol abuse and delinquency in repaying debt or other evidence of financial irresponsibility.Candidates whose file indicates such issues are unlikely to be found suitable for the Foreign Service. The Director of the Board of Examiners can reconvene a Suitability Panel should new information become available prior to hiring a candidate.

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