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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.

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.

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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