The Federal hiring process can take much longer than the process for private sector jobs. Most Federal job openings proceed through the following process over the course of several weeks or months. If you are not selected during any of the steps of the process, don't get discouraged. Refine your resume and continue to apply to relevant openings.

Position Analysis

This starts before the job candidate becomes involved. A manager analyzes the responsibilities and skills required for the position to develop a job description. This job description will outline the key requirements, qualifications (including education and experience), conditions of employment, and any required security clearances that are needed by any potential applicant.


The opportunity is broadcast through the appropriate channels, which usually include However, not all government positions are posted on USAJobs. Some are just posted on individual agencies' websites.

Application Screening

Screening software uses algorithms to identify qualified applicants. Sometimes, a human resources specialist, or in some cases an automated "expert" system, evaluates the application against the position's qualification requirements. This evaluation determines a candidate's eligibility and may also include a ranking relative to other candidates.


The human resources office issues a list of qualified candidates to the hiring manager.


A hiring manager selects candidates to interview from the list of qualified applicants.

Selection/Job Offer

An offer is made to the selected applicant. An applicant can negotiate salary with the Federal Government but cannot negotiate the grade assignment. A start date is determined.