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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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  • If you have questions regarding a position to which you are applying or to find out the status of your application, please speak to the point-of-contact listed for each job opportunity announcement  (JOA).  The contact information can be found at the lower portion of the JOA and also on the floating menu located on the right hand side.  If the JOA has closed and no longer appears on the USAJOBS® website, you can contact the human resources office of the hiring agency for additional information and assistance.

    If you are looking for a way to contact the agency headquarters, please visit http://www.usa.gov/Agencies/Federal/All_Agencies/index.shtml.

     

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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