By: Nancy Segal, Solutions for the Workplace

As we have discussed in earlier articles, getting a federal job can be difficult. Most people are somewhat familiar with veteran’s preference but there are other special hiring authorities that may help you get the job you are targeting. Here are a few:

• Digital Services Experts: In mid-2015, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) authorized excepted service appointments at the GS 11 to 15 level for individuals with expertise in “modern digital product design, software engineering, product management, creating and maintaining flexible infrastructure, and designing and implementing agile governance structures” according to the former OPM Director. If you fall into this category, you may be eligible for this specialized hiring authority. Twenty-five agencies and a number of programs may use this authority. As you network, be sure to mention your eligibility for this appointment; not all Human Resources personnel and hiring managers may know about this. As currently structured, appointments under this authority may not be extended beyond September 30, 2017.

• Direct Hire Authority: Some occupations qualify for Direct Hire Authority (DHA). OPM provides both government-wide and agency-specific direct hiring authority for filling vacancies when a critical hiring need or severe shortage of candidates exists. Direct hiring authority can be used to fill permanent, as well as temporary, limited and term appointments with not-to-exceed dates. Some of the positions eligible for DHA government-wide include: diagnostic radiologic technologist (job series 647); medical officer (job series 602), nurse (job series 610), pharmacist (job series 660), Information Technology Management Specialist (Information Security), grades 9 and above (job series 2210), federal acquisitions positions covered under Title 41.

• Schedule A for People with Disabilities. People with disabilities can be appointed to Federal jobs non-competitively through a process called Schedule A. In order to be eligible for Schedule A, you must be qualified for the job for which you are applying (i.e., have the necessary competencies and relevant experience to perform the job) and provide “proof of a disability” documentation. “Proof of a disability” is a letter stating that you have an intellectual disability, severe physical disability or psychiatric disability. You can get this letter from your doctor, a licensed medical professional, a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist, or any Federal, state, or local agency that issues or provides disability benefits.

• Military spouse. If you are a military spouse who is relocating with their service-member spouse as a result of permanent change of station (PCS) orders; has a spouse who is 100% disabled due to active duty service; or are the spouse of a service member killed while on active duty, you may be eligible for appointment under Executive Order 13473. These are non-competitive appointments and may be made to competitive service (status) jobs. Because these are noncompetitive appointments, veterans’ preference is not a consideration when positions are filled under this authority.

The above does not represent the full range of specialized hiring authorities, nor does it include the nuances of these eligibilities. Just being eligible for any of the above hiring authorities does not guarantee you a job. It just provides you with some additional tools to use in your search. Make sure you incorporate these eligibilities in your resume, mention them during networking, and include them when you complete your USAJOBS profile. Additional information on these and other special hiring authorities can be found at www.opm.gov.


Nancy Segal is a federal career and job search expert. She is also the author of The Complete Guide to Writing a Federal Resume which is available at www.fedweek.com. Following her own senior-level federal HR career, she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC to provide HR management perspective to astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy is also one of our premier management and career development trainers for our online webinars.

If you have any questions for Nancy concerning your federal career or the federal job search process you can email her at fedcareer@fedweek.com.