Federal Centralized Hiring

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Some agencies are moving toward “Centralized Hiring Events.”  Many geographical regions in the US Forest Service have been already doing this, while other regions are newly implementing centralized hiring.  What does this mean?

Quick and dirty on the centralized hiring.  Multiple vacancy announcements are flown at the same time in USA Jobs, and all close at the same time.  These announcements may have multiple locations available to choose from.  Sometimes these places have current vacancies, while other positions may become vacant during the hiring event.

After the announcements have closed, human resources in Albuquerque will provide a list of qualified individuals to hiring managers.  Hiring managers then meet in a central location to go through the lists of qualified candidates all at the same time.  If an applicant has applied to multiple places, the hiring managers can see this, and may call the applicant to ask which location they prefer.  This can help prevent an applicant from accepting the first offer, then getting a second offer and turning down the first offer, leaving the first position unfilled, or having to be refilled. 

Applicants are told to apply to any location they would be willing to accept a job, whether there is a current vacancy or not.  Many applicants will only apply to places they see vacancies.  Applying to only current vacancies can result in losing out on an opportunity.  From my personal experience, I applied for a job I really wanted that was already filled.  I applied just in case the person in the position wanted to promote up or move around during centralized hire.  Since it wasn’t vacant while the application was open, not many people applied to the position.  I was the lucky person who did and got the job.  Others who didn’t apply were out of luck.

Centralized hiring events are used for permanent positions as well as temporary (summer) positions.  For the Forest Service, since all of the forests are hiring at the same time, if you get one offer, it may be the only offer you get from that region.  Hiring managers have sorted out their choices and alternates.  Chances are if the hiring manager is offering you a job, other hiring managers may have moved you down to alternate, or taken you off their list completely.  There is still a chance you may get another offer, but if you don’t hear back within about a week, don’t count on another hiring round 2 months down the road.

Some things to keep in mind- Centralized hiring for temporary employees has been happening earlier and earlier every year.  Sometimes the applications for summer are due 6 months before the job starts, and the hiring is done 4 months before the job starts.  Also, hiring mangers are sorting through sometimes thousands of applications.  MAKE SURE YOURS STANDS OUT (think well organized resume, cover letter, custom template resume). 

One last thing–During centralized hire, it is common to be offered a job WITHOUT EVEN HAVING AN INTERVIEW.  Your references and RESUME IS YOUR INTERVIEW.  A good cover letter can cover every question a hiring manager would want to ask you in an interview. 

I don’t think I need to tell you again, but just in case you didn’t understand, do yourself a favor ATTACH A COVER LETTER.

Good luck!!!

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  • stephen c Dubie

    I was referred to this site for help in regards to building a strong resume as this will be my eighth season in fire and fourth in the forest service.

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