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Job Opportunities, Qualifications, & Recruitment

Job Opportunities

Current SL and ST job opportunity announcements can be viewed at: 

Agencies with the largest numbers of SL positions include the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Justice, Treasury, Homeland Security, Interior, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Agencies with the largest number of ST positions include the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Interior, and NASA. Each vacancy announcement describes the application requirements for the position to be filled.


Agency heads are responsible for establishing qualifications standards for SL and ST positions and are delegated authority to approve the qualifications of individuals appointed to them.

Qualifications for an SL position must be determined through analysis that identifies the breadth, and depth of the knowledges, skills, and abilities, or other job-related qualifications required for successful performance in the position. A qualifications standard may not include an experience or education requirement beyond that required for a similar GS position. Time-in-grade requirements do not apply.

Unless an agency obtains OPM approval, qualifications for an ST position must include at least 3 years of specialized experience in, or closely related to the field, at least one year of which involved planning and executing programs of national significance or planning and executing specialized programs yielding outstanding attainments in the field of research. An agency may require that at least 1 year of the specialized experience be at least equivalent to the GS-15 level. Qualifications, stature, and contributions of an incumbent should be expected to have a major impact on the difficulty and responsibility of the work.

Recruitment Strategies

An agency should proactively recruit individuals for its vacant SL and ST positions, as well as SES positions, and regularly review those recruitment efforts at the Deputy Secretary (or direct designee) level consistent with existing rules and regulations. This should include tracking and raising for appropriate attention information about each position the agency seeks to fill, including recruitment sources and alternatives within and outside the civil service; prospective number, quality, and diversity of applicants; and timing and effectiveness of hiring processes.

An agency that employs SL or ST employees should include in its annual talent management and succession planning process assessment of development of SL and ST employees to inform readiness decisions about hiring, career development, reassignments, and rotations. These assessments should include input from the employees and their supervisors, and be used to inform succession planning, decisions about duty assignments, and hiring plans.

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