Director of the Office of Recruitment, Examination and Employment at the Department of State Kaara Ettesvold penned a reply to the article in the Washington Diplomat about the hiring slowdown at State.
She did note one error in the article:
"I would note that the article indicated that candidates who convert to the Foreign Service from the Civil Service (via the Mustang Program) or from Foreign Service Specialist positions are able to enter non-competitively. In fact, those who apply for these conversion programs also pass through a QEP process and sit for the same oral assessment that others face. These programs, which allow conversion candidates who pass the oral assessment to join the next entry class of Foreign Service employees, provide career mobility opportunities to Department employees in recognition of their skills and past service.
It is important to recognize the dedication of the thousands who pursue a candidacy for the Foreign Service. Many government agencies and private corporations consider the Department of State’s assessment process as the “gold standard” for competitive hiring, but, like any assessment process, it is certainly not perfect. We constantly evaluate and revise our process to make sure it continues to meet the needs of the Department as well as give opportunities to the broadest segment of U.S. citizens. Those of us who interact with candidates -- from recruiters and Diplomats in Residence (DIRs), to officers conducting the QEP and oral assessment -- are constantly impressed by the talent, creativity, dedication and perseverance of our candidates. Via our www.careers.state.gov website, we offer various ways to engage with candidates, from contact with the DIRs to a real-time exchange of information on the Forums."
You can read the entire letter here.