Guide to SES Qualifications
The law requires that the executive qualifications of each new career appointee to the Senior Executive Service (SES) be certified by an independent Qualifications Review Board based on criteria established by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) describe the leadership skills needed to succeed in the SES; they also reinforce the concept of an “SES corporate culture.” This concept holds that the Government needs executives who can provide strategic leadership and whose commitment to public policy and administration transcends their commitment to a specific agency mission or an individual profession.
OPM has identified five executive core qualifications. The ECQs were designed to assess executive experience and potential–not technical expertise. They 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. (The latter determination is made by the employing agency.) 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.