Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Hiring Authorities

This page explains the different hiring paths within the federal government available to TTS

Here is a helpful visualization of the different Hiring Methods we use at TTS as well (courtesy of Ashley Wichman).


Roles that are posted on USA Jobs that do not have term limits. These roles allow you to obtain competitive status

  • In the competitive service, individuals must go through a competitive hiring process (i.e., competitive examining) before being appointed. This is open to all applicants
    • current or former federal employees who have worked in the competitive service, in a permanent appointment for a total of three years of qualifying service. Sometimes this is also called having ‘status’ or a ‘career appointment’.
  • There are four ways we hire using the Competitive hiring authority:
    • Delegated Examining allows applicants from outside the federal government to apply to career roles. These roles must be posted on USA Jobs and Veterans’ Preference applies.
    • Employees who have applied and become competitive (are current career feds) are eligible to apply to Merit Promotions. This lets a current or former federal employee apply for a job without having to compete with the general public or people with Veterans’ Preference. Instead, you compete with other competitive service employees. These roles must be posted on USA Jobs.
    • If you have served in the Peace Corps for two years you are eligible to apply non-competitively. This means you are only competing against other peace corp applicants, not the general public and veterans’ preference does not apply. (Note: Clearing ICTAP/CTAP is required before selecting a Returning Peace Corp with NCE. ICTAP/CTAP announcements are posted on USAjobs for 5 days)
    • Senior Executive Service (SES) The SES includes most managerial, supervisory, and policy positions classified above General Schedule (GS) grade 15 or equivalent positions in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. These roles must be posted on USA Jobs and Veterans’ Preference does not apply. TTS does not often hire for SES roles, but when we do we use the Resume-Based process.There is no ‘minimum time in grade’ requirement for SES positions, but candidates are required to demonstrate the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ’s) in their resume and address any Minimum Technical Competencies (MTC’s).

Excepted Service

Schedule A(r)

The Schedule A(r) hiring authority are term appointments for a period between one and four years. Employees who are appointed under term appointments do not earn competitive status. These roles can be posted on our website instead of USA Jobs.

  • There are two ways we hire using Schedule A(r): via posting a job on JoinTTS or via Reserved Hire
    • Once a role enters the Hiring Pipeline prioritization list, Talent and the Hiring Manager discuss which avenue they would like to pursue for a given action.

Schedule A(u)

The Schedule A(u) authority can be used to hire term or permanent employees. This hiring mechanism is used for hiring people with severe physical disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, and intellectual disabilities. Such individuals may qualify for conversion to permanent status after two years of satisfactory service. Severe physical disabilities include but are not limited to blindness, deafness, paralysis, missing limbs, epilepsy, and more.

  • There must be a hiring need identified by the head of your office to use this authority and they will determine if the role should be term or career.
  • Read more here

Direct Hiring Authority (DHA)

The DHA is a career hiring authority that can be advertised as term limited or permanent. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) can grant 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. These roles must be posted on USA Jobs.

  • Currently, GSA has the authority to hire IT Specialists in the 2210 series via DHA with two options:
    • 8-year term limited
      • This hiring authority can only be used until September 20, 2021
      • Veterans’ preference does not apply
    • IT Specialist (INFOSEC) permanent
      • no expiration date on this hiring authority
      • Veterans’ preference does not apply
  • If the role was posted 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.

Veterans’ Preference

Veterans’ preference is a Federal hiring law that states certain veterans receive special consideration in the hiring process. It applies to nearly all competitive and many excepted service positions and is distinct from the various veterans’ appointment authorities described above. 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.

Based on their eligibility, individuals are categorized as either “5 Point” or “10 Point.”

  • 10 Point. This class applies to veterans that have a service-connected disability or who have the Purple Heart Award, and mothers and spouses of deceased or one hundred percent disabled veterans.
  • 5 Point. This class applies to veterans without a service-connected disability who meet other specific criteria. These criteria include the period served, whether the veteran received a campaign or expeditionary medal, duration, and character of active duty military service.