Federal agencies process applications in a very thorough way. Clients that we work with and advise work very hard on every application. In one of our most recent success stories a client (James) transitioned with a branch of the federal government. The entire hiring process required a lot of patience, extensive application preparation and several time intensive workshops on behavioral-based interviewing.
We helped him write, design, strategize and perform each and every phase, including his well crafted thank you letters and his reply/final negotiations to the offer.
Here are observations based on our frontline work with clients and according to our sources and information available from USA Jobs and other internal contacts:
1. Applicants may contact and connect with the agency directly for job information and application processing.
2. Private industry employment law has and will continue to influence the federal hiring process but what governs Federal employment are laws, executive orders, and regulations.
3. We were the only company based in North Carolina that is still in existence today that has more than an 18 year history. What has changed? Candidates used to have to pass a civil service test to be put on "eligibles" list maintained by OPM – no more. Candidates then had to suffer through the SF-171 application (now thankfully considered obsolete).
4. Today, the federal process has become easier and less cumbersome. It's also become easier to screw up your application and sloppily apply for jobs. Just because applicants can fax, apply online or use their Federal resume or OF-612 (recommended if you don't want to do the pain of writing a resume) doesn't mean the quality of their application works.
5. There is no rating (by OPM) needed by applicants for non-clerical vacancies and very sparingly is a written test required for positions.