Federal fast-track hiring

April 26, 2013

Tired of applying for federal jobs and never getting anywhere?

Some with specific skills, experience and education may find their wait is over.

At times, agencies determine that they have a critical hiring need to accomplish their mission. That’s when they use ­Direct-Hire Authority. Under DHA, the Office of Personnel Management gives an agency the ability to hire, after public notice is given, any qualified applicant the hiring manager selects.

DHA expedites the process by eliminating the competitive rating and ranking, veterans preference and “rule of three” procedures.

Some positions have DHA status all the time. This is called Governmentwide Direct-Hire Authorities. Under this category are medical occupations, including medical officer, nurse, pharmacist and diagnostic radiologic technologist, as well as veterinary medical officers and the information security post under the series GS-2210.

You can find such DHA postings at the USAJOBS Web site.

There are many other positions that agencies list in the direct-hire category, but only executive agencies can use DHA. Excepted service, independent, quasi-government and other type of agencies and commissions often have their own unique authority for direct hire. You can find direct-hire positions at USAJOBS, where they are required to be posted as public notice.

A quick review of the USAJOBS site yields positions such as a physicist for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, electronics engineer with the Department of Air Force, speech pathologist and management and program analyst for the Department of Air Force, and auditor and change management project manager for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

Contract specialist is an often-listed position. Several agencies — the U.S. Coast Guard and Citizenship and Immigration Services among them — are seeking people with contracting and acquisition backgrounds. Operations research analyst is another frequent listing. These analysts usually have experience in operations research, mathematics, probability, statistics, mathematical logic and science.

A number of the jobs are very technical and require certain degrees and experience. The salaries and positions range from entry level to supervisory level. Some posts are designated as permanent hires, while others are temporary or term positions.

If you have the technical skills, DHA may be the way to go.

You can find out more at USAJOBS with a keyword search: direct hire, Direct Hire Authority or DHA.

You can get additional information at opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/hiring-authorities/
direct-hire-authority
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Dortch is president of the Diversa Group, which specializes in federal employment.

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