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Hiring Authorities

There are several different hiring paths within the federal government. We have a side-by-side comparison chart of Hiring Methods we use at TTS. Below is a brief overview.

Competitive Service

We hire employees for Competitive Service positions using the following four hiring paths.

  • Delegated Examining: applications that are open to the public.
  • Merit Promotions: applications that are open to current Competitive Service employees or former Competitive Service employees who have tenure. These applications are not open to the general public.
  • Direct Hiring Authority: see the DHA selection below for detailed information.

These 3 types of applications are posted to USAJobs. We also use the following hiring option:

  • Peace Corps and AmeriCorps VISTA Non-Competitive Eligibility: Former Peace Corps and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers who successfully complete their service can be directly selected for a position, for up to one year after their volunteer service. For former volunteers who go directly into higher education or the military after their service, the eligibility period can be extended up to 3 years. The Peace Corps has a special job posting site, Career Link, for applicants with non-competitive eligibility.

TTS uses the 4 methods above to hire employees into the Competitive Service. There are two major benefits of attaining competitive status:

  • You can apply for federal jobs without competing with the public or applicants with Veterans’ Preference, via the Merit Promotion process.
  • After three years of continuous service, you achieve tenure. Tenure means that you can leave the Federal government and still apply to jobs that are only open to current Competitive Service employees, even after you depart.

Direct Hiring Authority (DHA)

The DHA is a Competitive Service hiring authority that can be used for term or permanent appointments. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) grants this type of hiring authority to federal agencies for filling vacancies in specific occupations, grade levels, and locations when it can be proven that there is a critical hiring need, or a severe shortage of candidates. Veterans’ preference does not apply, and these roles must be posted on USAJobs.

Currently, GSA has the authority to hire IT Specialists in the 2210 series via DHA with two options:

  • IT Specialist: term limited to a maximum of 8 years (4 year term that can be extended for another 4 years). This hiring authority expires September 20, 2021.
  • IT Specialist - Information Security (INFOSEC): term limited or permanent. There is no expiration date on this DHA.

GSA also uses a DHA for:

  • 1102 contracting positions: term limited or permanent. This hiring authority expires October 10, 2023.

If a DHA role was posted on USAJobs within the last 120 days, resumes can continue to be submitted for candidates to be found qualified against the announcement. The Position Description they are being qualified against would have to be similar to one that was announced.

Excepted Service

Schedule A(r)

The Schedule A(r) hiring authority is used for term appointments between one and four years. Employees who are appointed under Excepted Service term appointments do not earn competitive status, and the roles do not have to be posted on USAJobs. There are two ways we hire using Schedule A(r): via posting a job on JoinTTS or via Reserved Hire.

Schedule A(u)

This hiring mechanism is used for hiring people with severe physical disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, and intellectual disabilities. Schedule A(u) can be used to hire employees for term or permanent appointments. Employees qualify for conversion to competitive status after two years of satisfactory service. Read more about the Schedule A(u) Hiring Authority.

Senior Executive Service (SES)

Senior executive roles are open to the public. TTS does not often hire for SES roles, but when we do we use the Resume-Based process.

Veterans’ Preference

Veterans’ preference is a Federal hiring law that states certain veterans receive special consideration in the hiring process. Veterans’ preference is not a hiring authority; rather it is an entitlement that certain individuals (and relatives of individuals) earn based on their military service.

Detailed information about veterans and federal employment is available through OPM’s FedsHireVets website.

Questions?