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Job Title:
Human Resources Assistant, IS-0203, Grades 5, 6, 7; $40,436 to $65,110 annually
Type of Position:
Permanent - Indefinite Trust Fund Appointment
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:


This is the position of Human Resources Assistant (Office Automation) in the Human Resources Department of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The purpose of this position is to provide specialized administrative support and technical assistance to the Department in the areas of staffing, classification, and employee relations/benefits


The duties of this position include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Incumbent performs the full range of personnel processing functions for SAO employees under both the Federal and Trust Fund personnel systems, to include coding and entering data into the National Finance Center system via automated HRMS system and reviewing all actions for technical accuracy in accordance with Federal, Smithsonian and NFC requirements and regulations. Additionally, the incumbent is responsible for the following related duties: printing system reports, verifying errors in the automated HRMS system and taking corrective action when errors are detected; and uploading SI-610 or SF- 52 forms to employee’s Eopf
  • Accepts applications for positions for which recruiting action is in process and prints resumés from automated staffing system. Reviews applications for inclusion of all required information; advises applicants on adequacy of information provided in applications for employment. Initiates pre-employment security checks, provides required forms to selected candidate, conducts fingerprinting, and submits all required documentation to the Office of Protective Services (OPS) at SI. Conducts employee orientation for new SAO employees, either virtually or in person, verifies I-9 electronically using e-Verify
  • Establishes and maintains electronic Official Personnel Folders (eOPFs) and uploads documents in accordance with Federal and Smithsonian regulations. Requests OPFs for former Federal employees, as required, from National Records Center or appropriate Federal agency or SI Archives for prior Trust Fund employees. Assists with archiving Federal and Trust Fund eOPFs in accordance with established time frame.
  • Notifies appropriate SAO supervisors/administrators/employees regarding expirations of appointment, probationary periods, and within-grade increases, leave category changes, etc. and disseminates all related documentation generated by NFC.
  • Works closely with the Human Resources Specialists (HRS) to provide administrative assistance in the areas of recruitment, classification, employee relations and visas. Posts job vacancy announcements to internal and external websites, proofreading for clarity and accuracy of information.

In addition to the duties listed above, duties at grade 6 may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Administers, on a rotational assignment with other Human Resources Assistants, SAO's Summer Employment and Volunteer programs. Additionally, provides clerical support to the professional peer review committees, as requested

In addition to the duties listed above, duties at grade 7 may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Classifies clerical, lower grade technical and wage grade positions (as a result of new positions, position reviews, new USOPM standards, etc.) in accordance with USOPM position classification standards. Classifies and maintains files for summer hires, students and co-ops. Reviews all new OPM standards and determines the jobs to be affected and provides listings of those to Specialist.


In addition to meeting the basic qualification requirement, applicants for all grade levels are required to have one year of specialized experience directly related to the position to be filled and which has equipped the candidate with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of that position.

Candidates for the grade 5 level must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade level (grade 4). Experience at this level normally would have included entry level experience in an HR office. Four (4) years above High School may be substituted for the experience at this grade level.

Candidates for the grade 6 level must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade level (5). Experience at this level normally would include HR work that provided knowledge of, and skill in applying Federal and Trust Fund policies, procedures, guideline and regulations governing the processing of the full range of personnel functions for the clerical and procedural processing of a variety of actions.

Candidates for the grade 7 level must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade level (6). Experience at this level normally would have included HR work that provided knowledge of personnel programs to answer questions about employment opportunities, vacancy announcements, maintaining applicant files, and coding personnel data. Education may not be substituted for required specialized experience for grades 6 and 7.

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

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

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

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