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Frequently asked questions

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Why are there two announcement numbers for the vacancy – DE and MP?

What does it mean to be qualified under a special appointing authority?

How do I determine my eligibility for veteran's preference in hiring?

What are my rights and benefits under USERRA?

How is foreign education evaluated for federal jobs?

What is an Office of Personnel Management Interchange Agreement?

What is a Miscellaneous Appointing Authority?

How can I receive immediate updates about the status of my application?​

I have received a tentative job offer. What do I need to know about my background investigation?


Why are there two announcement numbers for the vacancy – DE and MP?

DE stands for delegated examining and is referred as Public Non Status. Typically, candidates who are entering Federal service for the first time from the private sector will need to apply for delegated examining positions. Applicants are rated and ranked in score order and the top three candidates with the highest scores are referred to the selecting official. Applicants eligible for veteran’s preference, who have submitted the proper documentation, will be listed before a non-veteran if both have equal scores. Qualified applicants who are currently or have previously held a position in the competitive service (otherwise referred to as status candidates) may also apply for DE announcements.

MP stands for merit promotion and is referred to as Public Status. Applicants for MP announcements must either be qualified current or former federal employees holding positions with career or career conditional status (commonly referred to as status applicants) or qualified employees eligible for special appointing authorities. (See the definition of special appointing authorities below.) Applicants who are best qualified are referred to the selecting official. There is no limit to the number of applicants that can be referred on a Merit Promotion announcement.

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What does it mean to be qualified under a special appointing authority?
Veterans who are preference eligibles or who have been separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 years or more of continuous active service are eligible for consideration under the VEOA (Veteran’s Employment Opportunity Act). Applicants who apply under VEOA will compete against other status applicants for Merit Promotion opportunities.

Other special authorities include two specifically for veterans; the 30% disabled veterans’ special appointment and the veteran’s recruitment appointment. If you apply under these authorities you do not undergo the rating and ranking process and are automatically referred providing you meet the minimum qualifications for the job. Eligibility Requirements: The disabled veteran’s special appointment includes those veterans with a 30 percent disability or greater. The VRA appointment includes those veterans who meet any one of the following criteria: disabled veterans at any percentage, veterans who have service or active duty in the Armed Forces during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized, veterans who have received an Armed Forces Services Medal, or veterans who have separated from active duty within the last three years. VRA appointments can be made for positions up to the GS-11 level, or equivalent WB (up to journey level) or AD (up to the AD-3 level).

There are a number of additional special appointing authorities, i.e., schedule A disability, peace corps, etc. These candidates are not rated or ranked and are automatically referred providing they meet the qualifications for the position.

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How do I determine my eligibility for veteran's preference in hiring?
The Department of Labor offers a Veterans' Preference Advisor which provides a quick, initial assessment of eligibility. More information about veterans' preference is available.

What are my rights and benefits under USERRA?
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act protects the job rights of individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave employment positions to undertake military service. USERRA also prohibits employers from discriminating against past and present members of the uniformed services. More information on rights and benefits under USERRA is available on Department of Labor's Web site.

How is foreign education evaluated for federal jobs?

Education completed outside of the United States must be deemed equivalent to that gained in conventional/accredited U.S. education programs to be acceptable for Federal employment. If the foreign education is not from an educational institution accredited by an accrediting body that is recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, it must be evaluated by a credential evaluation service, a private U.S. organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign educational credentials. To be acceptable, the foreign credential evaluation must include/describe:

  • The type of education received by the applicant
  • The level of education in relation to the U.S. education system, and state that its comparability recommendations follow the general guidelines of the U.S. National Council for the Evaluation of Foreign Educational Credentials
  • The content of the applicant’s educational program earned abroad and the standard obtained
  • The status of the awarding foreign school’s recognition and legitimacy in its home country’s education system
  • Any other information of interest such as what the evaluation service did to obtain this information, the qualifications of the evaluator, and any indications as to other problems such as forgery. Foreign credential evaluations that do not contain the above information or that state there is insufficient information provided by the applicant on which to base an evaluation should not be accepted. If the requested evaluation shows the foreign education to be legitimate and comparable to that expected of a candidate with U.S. credentials, it may be accepted at Western’s discretion.

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​What is an Office of Personnel Management Interchange Agreement?
An Interchange Agreement is an agreement between the Office of Personnel Management and another agency (in the excepted service) which prescribes conditions under which employees may be moved from one system to another.  Some of these agreements may be indefinite and some are not; some only apply to employees occupying certain positions. This list is subject to change.  For a complete list of organizations with interchange agreements and specific appointment conditions see:

http://www.opm.gov/employ/html/sroa2.asp#InterchangeAgreementsWithOtherMeritSystems

If you are an employee eligible for consideration for a Merit Promotion position under an Interchange Agreement, you will be asked for information about your eligibility under the vacancy announcement questions.  If you have a copy of your agency’s specific agreement, it may be helpful to submit it with a copy of your latest personnel action when you apply for the position.

What is a Miscellaneous Appointing Authority?
A Miscellaneous Appointing Authority is an authority authorized by statue or court order and which is not regulated by OPM.  These authorities apply to Postal Career Service Employees, FBI employees and others. This authority allows these employees to compete for positions in the competitive service. For a complete listing of agencies covered by miscellaneous appointing authorities see:

http://www.opm.gov/employ/html/sroa2.asp#MiscellaneousAuthoritiesNotRegulated

If you are applying for a Merit Promotion announcement, you may be asked to provide information about your current appointment.

How can I receive immediate updates about the status of my application?
USAJOBS has added an alert setting to their system to drive status update notifications for applicants.  They recommend you update you USAJOBS Profile (Application Alert Settings) to receive these status updates via e-mail.  We will continue to update your status on-line as changes are made.  You can elect to activate the proactive notification from your USAJOBS profile at any point during the application process.  These alerts will automatically notify you that your status has changed and remind you to check your USAJOBS profile for specifics.

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Page Last Updated: 7/11/2015 3:05 PM