The Federal Hiring Process

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 KSAs, 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 knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) that are needed by any potential applicant.


The manager works with a humane resources specialist to broadcast the opening through the appropriate channels, which usually includes, however not all government positions are posted on Some are just posted on individual agencies' Web sites.

Application Screening

The agency human resources specialist, or in some cases an automated "expert" system, evaluates the application against the position's qualification requirements to determine eligibility, and in some cases, ranking relative to other candidates.


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


A hiring manager selected 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.

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