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Job Title:
Staff Assistant), IS-0301, Grade 11; $77,738 to $101,055 annually
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-Federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION:  Position is open to all qualified US citizens or perm residents. First consideration maybe made 14 days after the opening date. Note: This position requires access to export-controlled work. The candidate must be a U.S. person (citizen, permanent resident, approved asylum seeker or refugee) or be a national of a country eligible to be approved on an export license.




The purpose of the position is to provide diversified administrative and recruitment support to Central Engineering. This position is located in Cambridge, MA.



I. Financial Administration and General Duties

a. Generates proposals for CE Principal Investigators. Maintains current and pending support pages for key CE personnel that will be needed for either CE proposals or division proposals including CE key staff members.
b. Serves as fund manager on CE contracts and grants.
c. Generates costings for CE customers as required.
d. Generates requisitions in PeopleSoft, determining and applying appropriate chart fields. Tracks requisitions, monitors delivery dates and expedites orders as required. Negotiates terms for returns/exchanges, generates shipping documents, and tracks items until the orders are closed. Resolves procurement related accounting issues.
e. Serves as back up CE timekeeper. Maintains cognizance of and appropriately applies all relevant time and attendance policies and procedures. Serves as an information source to department staff on time and attendance policies and WebTA requirements.
f. Utilizes Concur to prepare travel authorizations for technical staff. Independently resolves travel related software and accounting issues with the appropriate SAO staff members.

II. Personnel Tasking

a. Coordinates all hiring and promotion activities within CE including assisting staff members with developing position descriptions and performance plans, as well as all other HR required documentation related to hiring.
b. Creates and maintains a list of template and example position descriptions and job advertisements, ensuring that they meet SI requirements, are compelling, and have no inherent biases that might discourage underrepresented candidates from applying.
c. Develops and maintains an automated process for hiring practices.
    i. Maintains data on each current job posting that tracks where in the process the posting is located.
d. Coordinates CE’s annual appraisals; sets due dates for all steps in the process, runs reports to determine stakeholder list, obtains reports from HR to remind latecomers and works with them to achieve completion within the SI deadline.
e. Manages the department’s cash awards submission.
f. Handles all contractor recruitments.

III. Recruitment Activities
a. Develops contacts at local and national engineering universities and colleges with an emphasis on underrepresented academic institutions. Posts all relevant jobs to their websites.
b. Arranges CfA booths at local and university-based engineering/software job fairs.
   i. Recruits volunteers from CfA engineering to represent CfA at these booths.
   ii. Performs analysis on the success and return on investment (ROI) of each opportunity with reports on how to improve.
c. Manages engineering recruitment through advertising, including on the CfA LinkedIn channel. Performs analysis on recruitment techniques and sites, with an aim to get the best ROI for hiring quality engineering candidates.
d. Maintains and reports on percentages of engineering applicants and hires from underrepresented populations to ensure equity in recruitment and hiring practices.
e. Sets standards for engineering interview processes and procedures and trains interview panels on proper and unbiased interviewing techniques.


Minimum of one year specialized experience equivalent to at least grade 9 in the normal line of progression for this occupation.  Specialized experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular competencies/knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position such as office administration, arranging interviews with candidates, recruiting interns, generate requisitions, tracking and monitoring requisitions, assisting in budget planning, timekeeping.


Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree.


3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree.


a combination of education and experience.

Required US accreditation if qualifying by education.

For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the web at

For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination requirements and its impact on your application, click on Smithsonian Institution’s Frequently Asked Questions.  


APPLICATION PROCEDURE We will only accept applications on line for this position.  For complete information about this position and the online application procedures, please visit:  USAJOBS


The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace

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