Why Haven’t I Heard About my Federal Job Application?

You’ve been scouring USAJobs, and you found an announcement that you’re sure is the perfect fit for your skills and experience.  You’ve filled out the application and questionnaire and sent in all the required documents, including your resume.  You’ve done all the leg work.  And now….

…and now the silence is, as they say, deafening.

Maybe you’re getting set to leave the military and your separation date is approaching.  Perhaps you’re just excited for a new opportunity. Regardless of your exact situation, feeling left in the dark about your own future can be nerve-wracking.

woman working on her federal resume

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

When you send in your application, you set in motion a long and somewhat complicated process.  Government agencies are bound by a large body of laws and regulations designed to help ensure they hire the most qualified applicants, and that everyone has a fair shot at each position.  But even though this intricate process has the best of intentions, it’s both largely out of your control and somewhat opaque.

Fortunately, understanding a few things about the process and what resources are available to you might help alleviate some of your concerns!

A Look Into The Federal Hiring Process

Filling a vacancy in the federal government is a multi-step process, and how long that process takes depends in part on the specific job, how many people apply, and the hiring agency.  After your application is accepted, the first thing that has to happen is the closing of the announcement. In fact, going back to the announcement and checking that closing date is a good first step to take if you’re wondering about your application. If the job is still open, then by law your application hasn’t been reviewed yet.

Once the posting closes, then personnel from Human Resources (HR) will screen each of the applications they’ve received against the job’s minimum qualifications.  This next step is one of the reasons why it’s important to carefully review the job announcement and make sure that your application materials address the specified requirements.  Of course, CareerPro Global’s team of advisors and writers are experts at this and can help you make sure you clear this first hurdle!

After screening for the minimum qualifications, the hiring manager will work with HR to narrow the list of eligible applicants to a short list of people to interview. If you’ve made this list, you can expect to hear from either HR or the hiring manager to schedule an interview either in person or over the phone. After the interview, the agency will decide on a first choice and extend a tentative job offer. Once you’ve made the interview stage, you’ll be contacted either way: hopefully with a tentative job offer if you’ve been selected, but even if they picked someone else, you can still expect to be notified.

How long all of this takes depends on the specific agency (and, if the job involves additional security investigations, it can still take some weeks or even months after the tentative job offer before you start working). In general, according to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), candidates will hear from the hiring agency 15 to 30 days after the job announcement closes.

What Can You Do To Increase Your Chance of Federal Employment?

Per the OPM, federal agencies are required to update the status of your application at four specific points in the process:

  1. When your application has been received
  2. When your application has been reviewed
  3. When your application has been referred – or not referred – to the selection official
  4. When your application has been selected or not selected

You can easily find out the status of your application by looking at your application history under “My Account” on USAJobs.  But if it’s been more than 30 days after the announcement closed and your status hasn’t changed, or you haven’t been contacted, you should consider contacting the agency that posted the job to ask about your application.  You can find the contact information near the bottom of the announcement or in the floating menu on the right side of your screen.

What Happens When You Call or Email the Hiring Contact of a Federal Agency?

“Most of the time you should receive a reply that may state:

  1. The position may already be filled
  2. The vacancy has been taken down and will be solicited at another time
  3. You weren’t the best qualified for the position.

Ask the contact person why you weren’t the best-qualified.”
Barbara Adams, President and CEO, CareerPro Global
Almost four decades navigating and winning clients federal jobs
Innovation Award Winner, Careers Industry
Member, Forbes Coaching Council

Next Steps For Finding Federal Employment

If your application on USAJobs shows that your application was not referred or not selected, or the contact person informed you that you weren’t the best-qualified person, then you might want to consider getting professional help in navigating the federal application and hiring process.

navigating the federal job landscape

Photo by Hannah Nelson from Pexels

Is the job you found and applied for the right one? Is it right match for your skills and experience? CareerPro Global’s world-class team has more than three decades’ worth of experience matching candidates to jobs and preparing effective, competitive resumes.  Our expert advisors and writers can help save you months in your job search, eliminate speculation and uncertainty, and spare you the frustration that can otherwise keep you from taking the next step in your career. Call us today at 1-800-471-9201, or contact us here!

Learn More About Federal Government Jobs & Resumes

About the author:

Previous Article10 Best Practices for Writing Federal Resumes Next ArticleHave a Happy Holiday Season Job Search with These Five Tips