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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

  • As with all interviews, the interviewer should have a full understanding of the job requirements before interviewing any candidate. The interviewer should be familiar with his/her agency’s own policies and practices.

    The interview must focus on abilities and how the applicant will accomplish tasks and meet the goals and objectives of the position. Ask all applicants the same questions including whether or not they have any needs that will require reasonable accommodation.

    Do not ask specific questions about an applicant's disability even if the disability is obvious. Some applicants will voluntarily explain how their disability relates to their ability to do the job, but others will not. Even if the applicant does discuss a disability, do not ask any questions about the disability that are not relevant to the actual position. It is important not to speculate about how you would perform a specific job if you had the applicant’s disability.

    For more tips on interviewing people with disabilities, visit the Mainstream website and the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) website.

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  • Students appointed to the Student Career Experience Program who have met all requirements of the program and have satisfactorily completed the requirements of their diplomas may continue on the appointment for 120 days beyond the date of completing their work and academic requirements. This 120 day period is permitted by Executive Order 12015. At the end of the 120-days, if the graduate has not been converted to a position in the competitive service, he/she must be separated.

    Once a student appointed to the Student Temporary Employment Program has completed the requirements for his/her degree/diploma/certificate (as appropriate), he/she is no longer a student as defined by 5 CFR § 213.3202(a)(2), and must be separated, even if the NTE date on their current appointment has not been reached. The reason for the separation is that people in this situation are no longer "students" and therefore no longer meet the basic eligibility for the program. Executive Order 12015 does not permit these graduates to remain on a STEP appointment beyond the date of completing academic requirements. If enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an additional educational program, they may be given a new appointment.

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  • No. 5 CFR § 315.802 only allows for prior Federal service in the same agency and in the same line of work.
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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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  • If the critical functions of a job involve the need to travel, it is important that job candidates and employees are made aware of this requirement. Many people with disabilities are not limited in their ability to travel or perform temporary duty away from the office. In this case, no accommodation is needed. In other cases, a person's disability may affect his or her ability to travel.

    As with all reasonable accommodations, start with the employee. The accommodation needed for traveling will vary according to a person's disability and the mode, frequency and duration of travel. Constant travel is far different from an occasional trip. Local travel needs are far different from international air travel needs.

    For an employee who uses the services of an interpreter, reader, or personal assistant, it may be a matter of ensuring that the personal assistant, reader, or interpreter accompany the individual on a trip or be available once the individual reaches the destination. The General Services Administration travel regulations also provide authority to allow airline travel by first-class accommodation when a person with a disability is unable to travel standard coach because of space requirements or mobility limitations.

    In some cases, travel may not be involved in a critical job function, and it may be possible to redistribute duties in a work center, giving travel duties to some employees and other duties to those employees who have limitations with regard to travel. Sometimes, after looking at the job requirements and consulting with the individual and professional resources on job accommodations, you may find that the particular job requirements and the particular needs/limitations of a person with a disability are simply not compatible.The important point is not to assume that travel is impossible for a disabled person. In many situations, with a little thought and advance planning, a person with a disability can perform required travel and effectively accomplish the requirements of his/her job.

    For helpful information for travelers with disabilities, see the Disability.gov website.

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  • An individual who is granted a reasonable accommodation might not receive the exact form of accommodation requested. The deciding official has the discretion to identify reasonable and appropriate alternatives.
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  • No. A student is eligible to be noncompetitively converted in any Federal agency. Agency student employment coordinators are urged to try and place the graduates with other agencies, if placement in their own agency is not possible. Checking the job listings on the USAJOBS is one way to locate appropriate positions for graduated students.
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  • No. Students in the Student Educational Employment Program must be paid according to the criteria set forth in the appropriate general schedule or wage grade classification standard for the job. See 5 CFR § 213.3202(a)(11).
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  • No, in a case of a 5 CFR 213.3102(u) appointee transferring from one agency to another, time previously spent under a Schedule A appointment counts toward the completion of the 2 year period if the person is reappointed without a break in service.
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  • No. The required work experience must be gained prior to, or concurrent with the completion of the student's education. This requirement is stated in the Executive order.
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