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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

Federal Hiring

  • The area of consideration describes the individuals from whom the agency will accept applications to compete for the position. It may be a broad or a limited group of individuals. The area of consideration may also be referred to as “Who May Apply” within the vacancy announcement. If you are not within the area of consideration and you are not eligible for a non-competitive or special hiring authority, the agency will not consider your application.
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  • Special appointment authorities may be used by agencies to appoint specific groups of individuals who meet the respective eligibility requirements to positions in the Federal Government. The following are a few examples where special appointment authorities may be used. Federal hiring officials are authorized to use a special appointment authority when considering certain people with disabilities (e.g., those with intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilitie, or psychiatric disabilities). Use of this authority is at the discretion of each agency. Individuals may contact agency Special Placement Program Coordinators (SPPC) to inquire about opportunities under this authority. SPPC contact information can be found by visiting: http://apps.opm.gov/sppc_directory/. For more information on Federal employment for people with disabilities, please visit: http://www.opm.gov/disability/appempl.asp. Veterans Recruitment Appointment (formerly known as the Veterans Readjustment Appointment or VRA): the VRA is an excepted appointment, made without competition, to positions otherwise in the competitive service. Use of the authority is entirely discretionary, and no one is entitled to a VRA. This special authority allows agencies to non-competitively appoint a qualified covered veteran to any position for which he or she is qualified up to a GS-11 or equivalent. Upon completion of two years of satisfactory service, the covered veteran is converted to the competitive service. For more information on the VRA, including eligibility requirements, please visit: http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/EI4.asp. 30% Disabled Veterans: Federal agencies have the authority, by law, to give a non-competitive temporary or term appointment of not less than 60 days to any veteran who has a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more and who meets the qualification requirements of the position. Like the VRA, this authority is discretionary with the agency. To be eligible, the individual must be a disabled veteran who has a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more officially documented by the Department of Defense or the Department of Veterans Affairs. For more information on this hiring authority, please visit: http://www.opm.gov/veterans/html/vetsinfo.asp.
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  • There is no single civil service "test" covering all civil service positions. To apply for many Federal jobs you do not have to take a traditional paper and pencil test. The vacancy announcements on the USAJOBS website will indicate if a specific written test is necessary. Otherwise, you should refer to the vacancy announcement to obtain information regarding how qualifications and abilities are evaluated
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  • Agencies develop their own procedures for interview practices. The decision to interview may depend on a variety of factors, including your ranking against other candidates, the number of positions being filled, and the number of people who applied.
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  • Under Executive Order 11935, only United States citizens and nationals may be appointed to competitive service Federal jobs. In rare cases, agencies may hire certain non-citizens when there are no qualified U.S. citizens available, unless the appointment is prohibited by statute. In addition, Congress frequently restricts agencies’ ability to hire non-citizens into the excepted service as well, through appropriations provisions. For more information about citizenship requirements, please visit: http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/EI9.asp.
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  • The time it takes to be contacted to schedule an interview or to be notified of non-selection for a position may vary. Agencies have a 45-day timeline goal for hiring, and OPM has developed a 45-day hiring model to increase efficiency in the hiring process. The model focuses on a series of recommended steps from the date the vacancy announcement closes until the time an offer is made to a candidate. OPM holds agencies accountable for the degree to which they achieve the 45-day goal, but the goal is not legally binding upon the agency and confers no particular rights on applicants. It is recommended you maintain the vacancy point-of-contact information so you can obtain the status of your application and the position for which you applied.
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  • If you have no prior Federal civilian service and are not eligible for any special appointing authority, you may only be considered for announcements which are open to the public or all sources or U.S. citizens. If you meet the criteria for a special appointing authority, you may apply under that authority as well; however, you may have to submit separate applications if you wish to be considered under more than one appointment authority. Each vacancy announcement will include qualification criteria outlining the minimum education or experience requirements an applicant must possess to be considered qualified. Follow the instructions provided in the “How to Apply” section of each vacancy announcement. You will be competing against other applicants based on the information provided in your application and job-specific question responses; therefore, you must ensure you provide a complete and accurate explanation of your experience and qualifications.
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  • Federal vacancy announcements are the means by which an agency advertises its vacancies. Job vacancy announcements describe position information including the title, salary, duties, qualification requirements, closing date, and application procedures. There is no universal format for vacancy announcements: each agency creates and manages announcements independently, so you should carefully review each section. Announcements are removed from the USAJOBS Website on the closing date; therefore, you are encouraged to maintain for future reference a copy of announcements to which you apply
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  • Federal agencies are responsible for posting job vacancy announcements on the USAJOBS Website. Vacancy announcements for agency positions are posted for a specific period of time and indicate a closing date. Application procedures and application time periods differ based on agency practices; it is important to review application information included in the announcement for each position in which you are interested
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  • The closing date is the last day you can apply for the job. The vacancy announcement will specify the acceptance period for electronic submissions or, if a hard copy is required, whether or not your application should be either received or postmarked by the closing date.
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