Hiring Flexibilities: External Recruitment



Delegated Examining

Civilian Personnel Operations Centers and several have authority under delegated agreements with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Office of Personnel Management to conduct competitive examining for specified occupations. External applicants apply directly to the CPOC, which rates/ranks the applicants and issues certificates of eligibles If there are more than three applicants or a mix of preference eligibles and nonpreference eligibles on the list, selections must be made in accordance with the rule of three and veterans preference.

Administrative law judge positions and positions covered by the Administrative Careers with America (ACWA) examination are not covered under the delegations.

5 U.S.C.1104(a)(2)

Presidential Management Intern (PMI) Program

This is a two year internship program which enables graduate degree students to be appointed to federal positions as PMIs.

Although the PMI Program accepts applicants from a variety of graduate-level academic backgrounds, applicants must have an interest in a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs.

Students selected under this program are hired at the GS-09 level and are eligible for promotion to the GS-11 level after successful completion of the first year. Upon completion of the second year, they are eligible for conversion to a permanent federal civil service position and promotion to the GS-12 level.

5 CFR 213.3102(ii) and 315.708

Special Noncompetitive Appointment Authorities for Veterans

Under the Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA) authority, agencies can appoint an eligible veteran without competition to positions at any grade level through GS-11 or equivalent (the promotion potential of the position is not a factor). Individuals must meet the prescribed qualifications and military service requirements. Ordinarily, an agency may simply appoint a VRA eligible who meets the qualification and eligibility requirements without the need to announce the vacancy or rank applicants. All VRA candidates on file who are qualified for the position, however, must be given consideration and if there are two or more candidates for the same job and one (or more) is a preference eligible, veteran's preference applies in the selection process. When there are two or more VRA candidates for the same job and one (or more) is a preference eligible, veterans' preference applies in the selection process. Temporary and term appointments also may be made non-competitively under this authority.

[5 CFR Part 307]

Agencies can non-competitively appoint a veteran with a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more to a temporary appointment of more than 60 days or to a term appointment. Unlike the VRA, there is no grade level limit on the position for which this authority can be used. The employee may be converted to a career or career-conditional appointment at any time during the employee's temporary or term appointment.

[5 U.S.C. 3112; 5 CFR 315.707]

Disabled veterans eligible for training under the VA vocational rehabilitation program may enroll for training or work experience at an agency under the terms of an agreement between the agency and VA. The veteran is not a Federal employee for most purposes. If the training is intended to prepare the individual for appointment in the agency, OPM must approve the training plan. Upon completion the agency may appoint the veteran noncompetitively for a period of one year for the series/grade of the position for which trained. This Special Tenure Appointment may be converted to Career-Conditional

[5 CFR 3.1 and 315.604]

Noncompetitive Appointment of Former Overseas Employees

Agencies may noncompetitively appoint, to a competitive service position within the United States, an individual who has completed 52 weeks of creditable overseas service. This appointment authority may be used for a period of 3 years following the date of returning to the United States. Under this authority, "creditable overseas service" is service in an appropriated fund position performed as a family member under a local hire appointment overseas during the time the family member was accompanying a sponsor (civilian or military) officially assigned to an overseas area. An individual may be appointed to any occupation and grade level for which qualified.

5 CFR 315.608

Student Educational Employment Program

This streamlined program replaces and consolidates the former Cooperative Education Program, Federal Junior Fellowship Program, Stay-in-School Program, and Harry S. Truman Scholarship Program.

Students who are enrolled (or accepted for enrollment) as degree-seeking students taking at least a half-time academic, technical, or vocational course load in an accredited high school, technical, vocational, 2 or 4 year college/university, graduate or professional school are appointed to General Schedule positions.

There are two components to the program: The Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) and the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP).

Under STEP, students can be appointed to positions which are not related to the student's academic or career goals.

Under SCEP, on the other hand, the work experience must be directly related to the student's academic program. SCEP students may be noncompetitively converted to term, career or career-conditional appointments after completion of the academic and work experience requirements.

5 CFR 213.3202

Army Program Management (PM) Intern Program

The Army PM Intern Program was developed within the framework of the Defense Acquisition Scholarship Program (DASP). The DASP, authorized by Section 1744, Title 10, United States Code, was established to qualify and recruit personnel for civilian acquisition positions in the Department of Defense. Scholarships are awarded to qualifying individuals who have been accepted or are enrolled as full-time students pursuing a baccalaureate or graduate degree in engineering, the physical sciences, mathematics, or business-related disciplines. A student awarded a scholarship must agree to serve as a full-time civilian employee in an acquisition position in a DoD component for one calendar year for each school year for which he or she was awarded a scholarship. Upon completing the degree, the graduate is appointed in the excepted service under Schedule B authority 213.3206 and can be converted, after two years of service, to a position in the competitive service. Army's PM Intern Program is a three year career development program targeted for Master's degree graduates of DASP. The graduates are appointed as interns at the GS-09 level and complete the intern program after serving one year at the GS-12 level. At that time, they are permanently assigned to an acquisition position.

Section 1744, Title 10, United States Code

National Security Education Program (NSEP)

The NSEP was established by the National Security Education Act of 1991 to increase U.S. citizens' understanding of different world cultures, strength U.S. economic competitiveness, and enhance international cooperation and security. Through undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, the NSEP funds outstanding U.S. students from diverse academic disciplines to support their study of critical world regions and less-commonly-studied languages. In return for this financial support, the students must agree to work in the Federal government in an office or organization with national security responsibilities; Defense agencies meet that criterion. The students may be hired under a blanket excepted appointment hiring authority, 5 CFR 213.3102(r). This Schedule A hiring authority is for a four-year term non-career appointment. Organizations must have an available position and funding. To facilitate hiring, OPM has established a secure Internet site, NSEP-NET, that gives federal managers and human resource professionals access to resumes of NSEP students and graduates. With on-line access t resumes, managers can easily review the qualifications of candidates with the skills needed to fill their jobs.

5 CFR 213.3102(r)

Appointments of Severely Physically Handicapped Individuals

Severely physically handicapped persons may be appointed to positions under a temporary appointment if they have demonstrated their ability to perform the duties satisfactorily or have been certified by counselors of State vocational rehabilitation agencies or the VA as likely to succeed in the performance of those duties.

This is an Excepted Service, Schedule A appointment authority.

Upon completion of 2 years of satisfactory service, the employee may qualify for conversion to competitive status.

5 CFR §213.3102(u) and 315.709

Appointments of Mentally Retarded Persons

Under this authority, mentally retarded persons may be appointed to permanent or temporary positions. The activity works with the appropriate State vocational rehabilitation agency in making the placement.

This is an Excepted Service, Schedule A appointment authority.

Upon completion of 2 years of satisfactory service, the employee may qualify for conversion to competitive status.

5 CFR §213.3102(t) and 314.709

Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Mobility Program

This program is designed to provide for temporary assignments of employees between Federal agencies and non-Federal organizations; the latter includes State, local, and Indian tribal governments, institutions of higher education, and other eligible organizations. The assignments are made for purposes which the Federal agency head, or his/her designee, determines are of mutual concern and benefit to the Federal agency and to the non-Federal organization. Assignments can be made for up to two years and may be intermittent, part-time, or full-time. The agency may extend an assignment for an additional two years when the extension will be beneficial to both organizations.

Cost-sharing arrangements for mobility assignments are negotiated between the participating organizations. Costs may include basic pay, supplemental pay, fringe benefits, and travel and relocation expenses.

IPA assignments must be implemented by a written agreement. Non-Federal employees on assignment to a Federal agency by appointment are Federal employees for the duration of that appointment and have all the rights and benefits associated with that appointment. Non-Federal employees on assignment to a Federal agency by detail remain employees of their permanent organizations for most purposes. They may be assigned to an established, classified position or be given a set of unclassified duties.

5 U.S.C. sections 3371-3375; 5 CFR, chapter 334

Use of Private Sector Temporaries

Agencies may enter into a contract with a temporary help service firm for the brief or intermittent use of private sector temporaries. This is appropriate in situations such as: the absence of an employee for a temporary period due to personal emergency; a need to carry out work for a temporary period which cannot be delayed due to a critical need; or a need to carry out work which cannot be accomplished by current employees or the appointment of temporary employees within the time available.

There is no employer-employee relationship created by the use of these services. The employees are not considered or treated as Federal employees for any purpose and shall not be regarded as performing a personal service.

A temporary help service firm may be used in a single situation initially for no more than 120 workdays. If the situation continues beyond that period, the agency may extend its use of the services up to the maximum limit of 240 workdays. An individual employee of the firm may work at a major organizational element for up to 120 workdays in a 24-month period; there are provisions for extending this period to 240 in certain situations.

5 CFR part 300, subpart E

Critical Hiring Needs

Agencies may appoint an individual temporarily to a position for which a critical hiring need exists and examining for the position is impracticable. This includes short-term positions and continuing positions that an agency must fill on an interim basis pending completion of competitive examining, clearances, or other procedures required for a longer appointment.

Appointments may not exceed 30 days; they may be extended an additional 30 days if continued employment is essential to the agency's operations.

This is an Excepted Service, Schedule A appointment authority.

5 CFR §213.3102(I)(2)


Superior Qualifications Appointment

An agency may appoint an individual at a rate above the minimum rate of the General Schedule grade because of the superior qualifications of a candidate or a special need of the agency for the candidate's services.

This authority can be used when converting Student Career Experience Program employees to career-conditional status.

5 U.S.C. 5333; 5 CFR 531.203(b)

Pre-employment Interviews and First Duty Station Travel Expenses

Activities may identify local shortage positions for purposes of paying first duty station and/or preemployment interview travel expenses for permanent positions.

5 CFR part 572

Recruitment Bonuses

Activities are authorized to pay a newly appointed employee a recruitment bonus of up to 25% of the annual rate of basic pay upon a determination that difficulty would otherwise be encountered in filling the position. "Newly-appointed" is defined as a first appointment as an employee of the Federal Government unless there is a 90-day break in service. The 90-day break in service has several exceptions - please review 5 CFR 575.103 for a complete definition.

Recruitment bonuses are paid as lump sums.

Employees accepting such bonuses must sign a written service agreement to complete at least a six months period of employment with the agency.

5 U.S.C. 5753; 5 CFR Part 575, subpart A

Relocation Bonuses

Activities may pay an employee a relocation bonus of up to 25% of the annual rate of basic pay to relocate to accept a position in a different commuting area upon a determination that in the absence of such a bonus difficulty would be encountered in filling the position.

A relocation bonus is paid as lump sum after the employee establishes a residence in the new commuting area .

Employees accepting such bonuses must sign a written service agreement to complete a specified period of employment with the agency.

5 U.S.C. 5753; 5 CFR Part 575, subpart B.

Special Salary Rate Schedules for Recruitment and Retention

Higher special rates of pay may be established by OPM upon request by department headquarters and after coordination with other relevant Federal agencies for an occupation or group of occupations nationwide or in a local area based on a finding that the Government's recruitment or retention efforts are, or would likely become, significantly handicapped without the higher rates.

5 U.S.C 5305; 5 CFR part 530, subpart C

Content last reviewed: 6/8/2006-ALM