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Hiring Authorities



This Hiring Authorities section covers various topics dealing with Federal employment.  Topics covered in this section will describe the competitive hiring process; hiring authorities available to agencies to hire veterans, students, interns; and information for current and former Federal employees such as reinstatement, transfer.  Each topic includes references to the various applicable laws, regulations, and guidance.

Competitive Service

To begin, the Federal Government consists of three types of services, the Competitive Service, the Excepted Service, and the Senior Executive Service.  The competitive service consists of all civil service positions in the executive branch of the Federal Government with some exceptions.  The exceptions are defined in section 2102 of title 5, United States Code (5 U.S.C. 2102). 

In the competitive service, individuals must go through a competitive hiring process (i.e., competitive examining) before being appointed which is open to all applicants.  This process may consist of a written test, an evaluation of the individual's education and experience, and/or an evaluation of other attributes necessary for successful performance in the position to be filled.  

Excepted Service

Appointments in the Excepted Service are civil service appointments within the Federal Government that do not confer competitive status.  There are a number of ways to be appointed into the excepted service such as appointed under an authority defined by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as excepted (e.g., Veterans Recruitment Appointment) or being appointed to a position defined by OPM as excepted (e.g., Attorneys).  More information can be found about excepted service in 5 U.S.C. 2103 and parts 213 and 302 of title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Senior Executive Service

The Senior Executive Service (SES) is comprised of the men and women charged with leading the continuing transformation of government. These leaders possess well-honed executive skills and share a broad perspective of government and a public service commitment which is grounded in the Constitution. The keystone of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, the SES was designed to be a corps of executives selected for their leadership qualifications.

Employment Policy

Employment Policy is primarily for Human Resources Practitioners who seek information about all aspects of the Federal recruiting and staffing process. Job applicants and employees who have personal questions about hiring procedures or eligibility for specific occupations should contact the Human Resources Office at the agency where you are seeking employment.

Appointing Authorities

Agencies may use a variety of appointing authorities to hire job applicants. This section describes the types of appointments available, including special appointments for targeting veterans.

  • Direct-Hire Authority - Authorities that permit Federal hiring without regard to the provisions of title 5 U.S.C. 3309 through 3318.
  • Disabled Appointing Authority - Information for recruiting and hiring employees with disabilities and providing reasonable accommodation in appropriate circumstances.
  •  Excepted Service Appointments - Appointments for positions that are specifically excepted from the competitive service by law, the President, or the U.S. Office of Personnel Management
  • Hiring Flexibilities (DEOH 2007)- Information about a number of new hiring authorities enacted by Congress in 2002.
  • Primary Appointing Authorities for Career and Career-Conditional Appointments - A list of the primary methods agencies use to make career and career-conditional appointments. Citations of law and regulation are provided. Also included are miscellaneous non-Title 5 authorities.
  • 30% Disabled Veterans Appointing Authority - A noncompetitive temporary appointment of more than 60 days or a term appointment to any veteran with a disability rating of 30 percent or more, or with a compensable service-connected disability of 30 percent or more.
  • Veterans Employment Opportunity Authority - Veterans Guide (VetGuide) information about the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 that allows eligible veterans to apply for positions announced under merit promotion procedures when the agency is recruiting outside of its own workforce.
  • Veterans Recruitment Appointment Authority - VetGuide information about a special authority allowing agencies to appoint eligible veterans without competition to positions at any grade level through General Schedule (GS) 11 or equivalent.

Assessment Techniques and Evaluation of Job Applicants

This section describes methods and techniques which can help identify the best qualified candidates for your jobs.

  • Administrative Careers with America (ACWA) (DEOH) - ACWA is a program that offers competitive, entry-level (GS-5 and GS-7 levels) employment, through written examination and multiple choice questionnaires in several general occupational areas.
  • Assessment Tools (DEOH 2007) - Guidance on proper test use and selection procedures.
  •  Assessment & Selection - This resource center provides information about the evaluation and use of assessment tools to improve the match between jobs and applicants. It also explains the benefits and limitations of various assessment methods and offers an extensive list of resource materials.

Competitive Hiring Process

This section contains regulatory guidance for hiring job applicants under the competitive examining and hiring process.

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Employment Laws and Regulations

This section contains the laws and regulatory guidance that serve as the foundation for the competitive hiring process and procedures.

  •  Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations - Legal authorities for issues of concern to Federal employees, applicants for Federal jobs, preference eligibles and others.
  •  Title 5, Merit System Principles - Information about the nine merit system principles that are required of Federal personnel management.
  • Title 5, United States Code - Regulatory authorities for addressing issues of concern to Federal employees, labor unions, compliance monitors, applicants for Federal jobs, preference eligibles and others.

End to End Hiring Roadmap

The End to End Hiring Roadmap describes how to integrate and streamline the five components of Federal hiring-workforce planning, recruitment, hiring process, security and suitability and orientation-and establishes Governmentwide measures for the effectiveness of Federal hiring.

Agencies should rely on the Roadmap to transform competitive hiring for external applicants into a strategic relationship between hiring managers and human capital officials to attract, hire and retain top talent.

Exchange Programs

This section describes opportunities to work in the private sector, international organizations, or state and local governments on a short-term basis through formal exchange programs.

Classification and Qualification

Go to the Classification and Qualification website for information that is used to determine the pay plan, series, title, and grade; general guidance and regulations, including the qualification standards for white collar and blue collar (labor and trades occupations).

Hiring Flexibilities in the Examining Process (DEOH 2007)

Index for the Delegated Examining Operations Handbook; refer to Chapter 2, Section A for a review of hiring flexibilities.

Medical Eligibility Requirements

Laws and regulatory information about medical standards, physical requirements, medical programs, and consideration of applicants with disabilities (including disabled veterans).

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Recently Issued Policy and Regulations

This section contains recently issued regulations and policy memoranda.

  • Federal Register - A list of Federal Register documents published by the U. S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) or by another Federal agency in cooperation with OPM.
  • Policy Memoranda - Transmittals from OPM to Executive Branch Departments and Agencies.
  • Delegated Examining Operations Handbook Updates and Information - Regulatory information and guidance for hiring applicants under the competitive examining and hiring process.


This section contains copies of the annual Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program (FEORP)and the Hispanic Employment in the Federal Government reports from the year 2000 to the present.

  • Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program Reports - Annual reports to Congress that contain information on the representation of minorities within the Federal Government and best practices of Federal agencies.
  • Hispanic Employment Program - Annual reports to the President that contain information on the representation of Hispanics within the Federal Government and best practices of Federal agencies.

Restructuring and Workforce Reshaping

This section provides information to assist agencies with major reorganizations, downsizing, and transitioning of the work force.

  • Career Transition Resources - Information about the Reemployment Priority List (RPL) for former employees who left because of a Reduction in Force (RIF) or who have recovered from a workplace injury; the Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP), and the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP).
  • Guidance and Information on Furloughs - Information about temporary nonduty, nonpay status because of lack of work or funds, or other nondisciplinary reasons.
  • Reduction in Force - Information about procedures required when an employee is faced with separation or downgrading for a reason such as reorganization, lack of work, shortage of funds, insufficient personnel ceiling, or the exercise of certain reemployment or restoration rights.
  • Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments - Also known as buyout authority, it allows agencies that are downsizing or restructuring to offer employees lump-sum payments up to $25,000 as an incentive to voluntarily separate.

Special Employment Programs

This section describes various programs that facilitate the recruitment of students and other targeted populations.


This VetGuide conveniently summarizes in one place the many laws and regulations that affect the employment of veterans in the Federal Government

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Medical Eligibility

This section provides laws and regulatory guidance concerning medical eligibility, programs, disabled veterans and their connection to Federal qualification requirements.

Applicants and employees must meet fitness and ability requirements for Federal employment. These individuals cannot be disqualified arbitrarily on the basis of medical standards, physical requirements, fitness tests, or other criteria that do not relate specifically to job performance. In addition, agencies are required to provide reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities who demonstrate that they can perform the work of the position to be filled. The following references will be helpful to people that want to know more about the subject.

Medical References

Memos to Agencies

Guidance Memorandum:

Executive Orders / Public Law

United States Code

Legal authorities for issues of concern to Federal employees, and people interested in working for the Federal Government.

TITLE 5 Government Organization and Employees
SUBCHAPTER II Administrative Procedure
Sec. 552a Records About Individuals (The Privacy Act of 1974)

- 5 U.S.C. §552a.(f) applies to establishing Agency rules for disclosure of medical records.

SUBPART B Employment and Retention
CHAPTER 33 Examination, Selection, and Placement
Sec. 3301 Civil service; generally.
Sec. 3309 Preference eligibles; examinations; additional points for.
Sec. 3310 Preference eligibles; examinations; guards, elevator operators, messengers, and custodians.
Sec. 3311 Preference eligibles; examinations; crediting experience.
Sec. 3312 Preference eligibles; physical qualifications; waiver.
Sec. 3313 Competitive service; registers of eligibles.
Sec. 3314 Registers; preference eligibles who resigned.
Sec. 3316 Preference eligibles; reinstatement.
Sec. 3317 Competitive service; certification from registers.
Sec. 3318 Competitive service; selection from certificates.
Sec. 3320 Excepted service; government of the District of Columbia; selection.
Sec. 3351 Preference eligibles; transfer; physical qualifications; waiver.
CHAPTER 73 Suitability, Security, and Conduct
Sec. 7361 Drug abuse
Sec. 7362 Alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
Sec. 7363 Reports to Congress.
CHAPTER 81 Compensation for Work Injuries
Sec. 8123 Physical examinations

TITLE 29 The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amendedTITLE 39 Postal Service

TITLE 5 Government Organization and Employees
Part II §1005 Provisions of title 5 relating to a preference eligible ((5CFR 2108(3)) apply in the same manner and under the same conditions as if the applicant, officer, or employee were subject to the competitive service.
TITLE 42 The Public Health and Welfare
CHAPTER 126 Equal Opportunity for Individuals with Disabilities.
Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) Prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments

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Code of Federal Regulations References

Regulatory authorities for addressing medical issues of concern to Federal employees, labor unions, compliance monitors, applicants for Federal jobs, preference eligibles and others.

TITLE 5 Government Organization and Employees
Title 5 — Administrative Personnel
Part 213 Excepted service Government-wide Excepted Service Appointing Authorities for Persons with Disabilities
5 CFR 213.3102 Entire executive civil service
CFR 213.3102(t) Applies to persons with mental retardation
5 CFR 213.3102(u) Applies to persons with severe physical disabilities
5 CFR 213.3102(gg) Applies to persons with psychiatric disabilities
5 CFR 213.3102(ll) For readers, interpreters and other personal assistants for other employees with a severe disability(ies)
Part 293 Personnel records
5 CFR 293.504 Composition of, and access to, the Employee Medical File System Records
Part 297 Privacy procedures for personnel records
5 CFR 297.205 Access to Medical Records
Part 339 Medical qualification determinations
Part 351 Reduction in force
5 CFR 351.703(d) Applies to physical disqualification of 30 percent or more compensably disabled veteran
Part 353 Restoration to duty from uniformed service or compensable injury
Part 432 Performance based reduction in grade and removal actions
5 CFR 432.105(a)(4)(B) Applies to consideration of a medical issue in answer to a proposed reduction in grade or removal
Part 630 Absence and leave
5 CFR 630.910 Termination of medical emergency
5 CFR 630.1010 Termination of medical emergency
5 CFR 630.1207 Medical certification
Part 792 Federal employees' health and counseling programs
5 CFR 792.101 Subpart A Regulatory Requirements for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Programs and Services for Federal Civilian Employees
Part 831 Retirement
5 CFR 831.502(c)(2) Automatic separation; exemption - applies to medical certificate to support the recommendation
5 CFR 831.1202 Definitions - examination and reexamination, medical condition, medical documentation and documentation of a medical condition
5 CFR 831.1206 Evidence supporting entitlement to disability benefits
Part 844 Federal Employees' Retirement System -- Disability Retirement
5 CFR 844.102 Definitions - medical condition, medical documentation
5 CFR 844.103 Eligibility - applies to disabling medical condition(s)
5 CFR 844.202 Agency-filed disability retirement applications - applies to review of medical documentation
5 CFR 844.203 Supporting documentation - applies to medical documentation
CFR 844.401 Recovery from disability
5 CFR 844.404 Reinstatement of disability annuity
Part 930 Programs for specific positions and examinations (miscellaneous) - applies to motor vehicle operators
5 CFR 930.105 Minimum requirements for competitive and excepted service positions
5 CFR 930.108 Periodic medical evaluation
5 CFR 930.109 Periodic review and renewal of authorization
5 CFR 930.113 Corrective action
Title 20 Employees' Benefits Apr. 1, 2006
Chapter I Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Department of Labor
20 CFR 10.320-324 Directed Medical Examinations
20 CFR 10.330-333 Medical Reports
20 CFR 10.505-509 Return to work - employer's responsibilities
Title 28 Judicial Administration July 1, 2006
Part 39 Enforcement of nondiscrimination on the basis of handicap in programs or activities conducted by the Department of Justice
28 CFR 39.103 Definitions - definition of handicap and handicapped person
28 CFR 39.140 Employment
Title 29 Labor July 1, 2006
Part 1614 Federal sector equal employment opportunity and Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government
Part 1630 Regulations to implement the equal employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act
29 CFR 1630.2(e)(2) Definitions - (e) Employer (2) exceptions
29 CFR 1630.13 Prohibited medical examinations and inquiries
29 CFR 1630.14 Medical examinations and inquiries specifically permitted
Part 1640 Procedures for coordinating the investigation of complaints or charges of employment discrimination based on disability subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Part 1904 Recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses
Part 1910 Occupational safety and health standards
1910.19 Special provisions for air contaminants
1910.95 Occupational noise exposure
1910.134 Respiratory protection
Part 1910 (§1910.1000-end) July 1, 2003
1910.1030 Bloodborne pathogens
1910.1200 Hazard Communication
Title 42 Public Health Oct. 1, 2006
Part 2 Confidentiality of alcohol and drug abuse patient records
Title 49 Transportation Oct. 1, 2006
Part 40 Procedures for transportation workplace drug testing programs
Part 382 Controlled substances and alcohol use and testing

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