Applying for IBC Jobs FAQs



IBC FAQs image with Joe Ward

Perhaps you have applied for numerous federal positions, or maybe the idea of a career with the Interior Business Center and the federal government is a new one. Either way, the language and steps in applying for a federal job can be confusing. This FAQ section is intended to help you navigate the application and hiring process.




Hiring Process

How Does The Hiring Process Work? What Can I Expect From The Hiring Process?

Once the vacancy announcement (that's government lingo for "job posting") closes, all applications are reviewed to determine which applicants meet the identified requirements.  Your resume, assessment questionnaire responses and supporting documentation will be reviewed and used to determine whether or not you are among the best qualified applicants. If you are found to be among the best qualified applicants, you will be referred to the hiring official for consideration.  The hiring official may contact you directly for an interview. 

You will receive notice on the status of your application via email. You must provide an email address with your on-line application. Notice of the status via email will generally occur within 2-4 weeks of the closing date of the announcement. 

Is A Background Investigation Required? If So, What Does It Entail?

Yes, a background investigation, including a fingerprint check and a credit check, is required for all Interior Business Center positions. The background investigation helps determine the applicant's honesty, trustworthiness, reliability, discretion, and unquestioned loyalty to the United States. During the background investigation, previous and current employment, education and residence are verified, and interviews are conducted with knowledgeable sources such as friends, neighbors, supervisors, and co-workers. A personal interview with each applicant is conducted to review the security forms completed and discuss the required topics necessary to help the Interior Business Center adjudicate the applicant's eligibility for federal employment.

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Applying for Interior Business Center Jobs

How Do I Find Job Openings?

The jobs section on the Interior Business Center website is the first place you will want to look. It will take you to a customized job search on USAJOBS, the official job site of the United States federal government. You can also search for our vacancy announcements and those of other federal agencies directly at https://www.usajobs.gov/. The Interior Business Center fully uses this site for posting and filling our vacancies.

All Interior Business Center jobs are grouped under our parent organization, The Department of the Interior, Office of the Secretary. So, when you look at the positions, be sure to look for the ones that say Interior Business Center in the "Jobs Summary" section on the first page.

How Do I Know If I'm Qualified For The Job?

Every vacancy announcement has a tab titled, "Qualifications and Evaluation". In addition to reading the entire announcement, you will want to review this area to determine whether you meet the qualifications for the position.

How Do I Apply- Using The Automated Recruitment And Application System

In order to apply for a job, you must establish a USAJOBS user account. This can be done by clicking on "create an account" directly from the USAJOBS home page. You will then need to create a resume through the USAJOBS resume builder, or upload an existing resume to your USAJOBS profile.

The Interior Business Center uses an automated recruitment and application system, so your application and any required documentation will be submitted on-line. You must establish an account in Application Manager in order to apply for positions with the Interior Business Center. You will be kept up to date on the status of your application through email and Application Manager.

It is critical that you note what documents are required for consideration (see required documents section of the vacancy announcement).  Make sure you carefully review the directions and always double check to make sure your application package is complete.

Your first step in applying for a job is to complete the online Assessment Questionnaire. This MUST be completed online. This questionnaire will ask you some initial questions to determine if you have worked for the federal government before, if you have veteran's preference and other general questions as well as questions that speak to the specific requirements for the position, which are detailed in the Qualifications and Evaluation section of the vacancy announcement.

Once the assessment is completed, you will then add additional supporting documents for this vacancy announcement. These documents can be uploaded directly to the specific vacancy announcement though Application Manager or you can fax your resume and supporting documents using the special cover page that is indicated in the vacancy announcement. Just don't do both!Please be sure to view your uploaded or faxed documents in Application Manager prior to the closing date of the vacancy announcement to ensure the documents are legible and complete.

If you upload your documents, please wait at least 24 hours before attempting to verify they have been processed. Click the "Details" tab of your Application Manager account to confirm the documents have been attached to your application.

If you must fax your documents, you will need to use the special fax cover page as indicated in the vacancy announcement. Or, you can click here to print the cover page. All faxes must contain the following information:

You may submit multiple documents for the same vacancy announcement using one cover page.

All documents should be faxed to Office of Personnel Management (OPM) at (478) 757-3144.

Once you have finished adding supporting documents, you must click Submit My Answers. If this step is not completed, your application package will not be complete and will not be submitted for consideration.

Remember, each Interior Business Center vacancy announcement contains specific information on how to submit your application. Please be careful to follow these instructions closely because if you do not, your application may be considered incomplete and you will lose consideration for that job opportunity.

If you apply to any of our jobs, we recommend you print a copy of the vacancy announcement, or at least the specifics of the announcement including the vacancy announcement number, as the announcement will not be accessible electronically after the closing date. You can also save a copy of the announcement as a HTML webpage by going to "File", "Save As", select "Web Page, complete", and click "Save". If you have any questions about the application process, please contact the point of contact listed on the vacancy announcement.

How Can I Be Sure You Received My Application Package?

You can check your Application Manager account (this is the account you established when applying) for verification that your documents were uploaded/received appropriately.

You should also verify that your Application Package Status states "Complete". This means that you have completed all of the necessary steps for this vacancy announcement.

How Can I Check The Status Of My Application And The Status Of The Position Being Filled?

The quickest way to monitor the status of your application and any jobs you have applied for is to use Application Manager, a component of the on-line application system.  To use Application Manager, you must create an account.

You will receive notice on the status of your application via email. This notice generally occurs within 2-4 weeks of the closing date of the announcement.

If I Submit Multiple Resumes And/Or Supporting Documentation, Will You Use The Last One Submitted?

You can submit multiple resumes and/or supporting documents, but only the most recent resumes or documents submitted will be used.

Can I Start Over If I Made a Mistake Faxing My Documents?

Yes, just re-fax the complete document again.

Why Are You So Detailed About The Qualifications Required?

If you take a look at our vacancies, you can see that we offer a variety of career opportunities in many occupations. These occupations vary as to the type of specific education and experience that is required. Applicants who do not meet these qualifications requirements will not receive further consideration for the vacancy. We know that our applicants work hard in completing their applications for our vacancies. If you clearly do not meet the qualifications requirements, we do not want you to waste your time applying for that particular vacancy. We would rather you searched for another opportunity with the Interior Business Center.

Why Are There Sometimes Two Vacancy Announcements For The Same Position? And What Is The Difference Between Delegated Examining and Merit Promotion?

There are many different ways in which a vacancy can be filled. Interior Business Center generally uses the following two types of competitive methods:

a) Delegated Examining (DE) - this kind of announcement is open to any U.S. Citizen who wishes to apply. Typically, candidates who are entering federal service for the first time from the private sector will need to apply for Delegated Examining positions. This is also referred to as "Public".

b) Merit Promotion (MP) - this kind of announcement requires applicants to have attained civil service status. This generally means that you currently work for or previously worked for the federal government with a few exceptions. This is also referred to as "Status".

There are also special noncompetitive appointing authorities for veterans, disabled applicants, and former members of the Peace Corps. More information on these authorities can be found by clicking on the specific link.

I Currently Have Civil Service Status. Should I Apply Under Both The Merit Promotion And Delegated Examining Vacancy Announcements?

This is entirely your decision. Many people opt to apply to both, since you will be considered for the same position twice. Note: we do require the submission of two application packages to be considered under both methods. Be sure to read the vacancy announcement(s) carefully and submit all required information.

What Is An "Area Of Consideration"?

The Area of Consideration is listed on the vacancy announcement and it is the source from which we will consider candidates. If you are outside of this area of consideration, you will not be considered. For instance, if the announcement states that the position is open to Department of the Interior Status Candidates, you will not receive consideration if you do not currently work for the Department of the Interior and have status. The good news though is that the Interior Business Center often recruits using an Area of Consideration of "all U.S. citizens". That means we're looking for you! If you have any question as to whether you are within the area of consideration after reviewing the vacancy announcement, contact the point of contact listed on the announcement.

What Is A Selective Placement Factor?

A selective placement factor is a special qualification that is in addition to the minimum requirements for a position. Applicants who do not meet this special requirement are ineligible for further consideration.

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Federal Terms and Lingo within the Vacancy Announcement

Whether you've applied to federal jobs before or are brand new to the process, you will undoubtedly come across many terms, lingo, and acronyms that are unfamiliar. Below we've listed some of the most common questions found in vacancy announcements to help you navigate the federal hiring process.

I See A Large Salary Range For The Position To Which I'm Applying. How Do I Know How Much The Job Will Pay?

As a federal agency, the Interior Business Center falls under the federal pay system. For white-collar employees, pay is set under the "General Schedule", which is adjusted annually. The General Schedule has a basic rate and then a locality adjustment depending on the location of the position. The General Schedule is comprised of 15 grades that are annotated by "GS" (e.g. GS-1 through GS-15) with ten steps within each grade. Our vacancy announcements include pay ranges from step 1 to step 10 for each grade advertised. So, as an example, an IT Specialist (occupational series 2210) at the 13 grade level will be shown as: GS-2210-13 and the salary range shown will indicate a range from Step 1 through Step 10.

Some announcements will show more than one GS level. This indicates that the position may be filled at any of the grade ranges indicated. For example, an announcement that shows GS-2210-13/14 means: the job can be filled at either the GS-13 or GS-14 level. What grade level a person will come in at will depend on many factors (e.g., past work experience, education).

Blue-collar employees are covered by the Federal Wage System (FWS). There are a number of local wage areas covered by the FWS. FWS employees are paid by the hour.

Senior Executive Service (SES) and Senior Level (SL) positions are covered by their respective pay systems.

Specific salary information for grades and locations can be found on the Office of Personnel Management website, or by clicking here.

I See An Announcement Saying The Job Has A Full-Performance Level Of The Next Grade.What Does This Mean?

For example, an announcement that shows GS-510-11 and says the job has a Full-Performance Level to the GS-12 means: the job will be filled at the GS-11 level, and there is promotion potential to the GS-12. Promotion potential means that you may be promoted to the next grade level without further competition (applying for the job) as long as you meet all of the qualification requirements for the next grade level.

What Do The References To Competitive And Excepted Service Mean?

These are terms that you likely have not encountered in job searches if you have not applied for a federal job. Competitive Service jobs are subject to civil service laws that have been passed by Congress. These laws ensure that applicants and employees receive fair and equal treatment in the hiring process. They give Interior Business Center's hiring managers broad authority to review applicants from a number of recruitment sources before determining who the best-qualified candidates are based on job-related criteria.

The Excepted Service is "excepted" (hence the term) from these Competitive Service requirements. They are not subject to the same appointment, pay, and position classification rules. They are still subject to preference for qualified veterans. For the most part, the only Excepted Service positions at the Interior Business Center are student and intern positions.

What Does "Career" And "Career Conditional" Mean?

These are types of appointments that are obtained through the competitive examining process and they convey "status" within the federal government. Interior Business Center hires most employees as a career or career conditional appointment. Other types of appointments the Interior Business Center tends to make are temporary and term. One of the most significant benefits of being a career or career-conditional employee is that you acquire competitive status (see below).

I See References To "Reinstatement". What Does This Mean?

Reinstatement allows a former federal employee to reenter the federal workforce without competing with the public in a competitive vacancy announcement. You may apply for any position that is open to all sources, but you may also apply for jobs only open to status candidates. To be eligible for reinstatement, you must have held a career or career-conditional appointment as a federal employee at some time in the past. There is no time limit on reinstatement eligibility for those who have veterans' preference, or acquired career tenure by completing 3 years of substantially continuous creditable service. If you held a career-conditional appointment, you can receive reinstatement consideration up to three years after your date of separation from federal service. Once that eligibility period expires, you must compete for a federal job with the public. Please note that reinstatement eligibility does not guarantee a job offer.

What Does The Probationary Period Entail?

The 1-year probationary period occurs during an employee's first year of employment under most career or career-conditional appointments. This probationary period is used to monitor an employee's job performance and personal conduct on the job.

What Does 3-Year Career Tenure Mean?

Career tenure is automatically obtained once you complete 3-years of substantially continuous creditable service as a career-conditional appointment, career appointment, reinstatement eligible or transfer eligible. It must include service under an appointment based on or leading to competitive status and the 3-year period must begin and end as a permanent, non-temporary employee in the Competitive Service. Once career tenure has been earned, it's yours for life.

What Is Veterans' Preference?

Veterans' preference grants preference in the hiring process to certain veterans. It recognizes the economic loss suffered by citizens who have served our country in uniform in times of strife, restores veterans to a favorable competitive position for Government employment, and acknowledges the larger obligation owed to disabled veterans. Historically, Congress has reserved preference for those who were either disabled, who served in combat areas, or who served during certain periods of time. Therefore, not all military veterans may be eligible for preference in the hiring process. See http://www.fedshirevets.gov/index.aspx. for additional information.

What Is An Open Continuous Announcement?

An open continuous announcement is an announcement with a closing date far out in the future with intermittent cut-off dates. This allows the Interior Business Center to establish a pool of qualified applicants and is typically for a position for which we regularly hire. Selections may be made any time a vacancy becomes available.

What Is The Requirement Regarding The Selective Service?

All male applicants born after 12/31/1959 are eligible for appointment only after registering with the Selective Service System. For further information about registering for the Selective Service System, see www.sss.gov.

What Is CTAP And ICTAP?

Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) provides priority consideration to individuals who have been or are likely to be separated by reduction-in-force. Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) provides priority consideration of displaced employees or former employees of other federal agencies. Applicants must be determined to be well-qualified for the specific vacancy in order to receive special selection priority.

We have tried to cover address many of the questions and topics our applicants are likely to encounter. For additional information on terms not listed here, please click here for a full glossary of federal terms on the USAJOBS website.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions and Information Fact Sheets are available at OPM's USAJobs website at https://help.usajobs.gov/index.php/Main_Page.

 

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