The federal hiring process can be quite lengthy, so start looking for federal opportunities early! The application that you submit will go through many levels of review.
Outline of process
After you submit your application, it will be determined whether you are among the top candidate for the position. If you are a top candidate, you may be contacted by the human resources (HR) specialist or program manager and asked to submit additional materials (such as writing samples, essays or references) or invited for an interview to help hiring managers narrow the candidate pool and make a selection.
Points of contact
Please keep in mind that you may be contacted by different people within the Department of Homeland Security over the course of the hiring process. There are usually two key players: the hiring manager, who is usually the new employee's supervisor, and the HR specialist. The HR specialist may set up interviews, request additional materials, and guide you through the hiring process. The hiring manager often conducts interviews, makes selections and decisions about alternate work schedules, telework arrangements, etc.
Once you make it through the application review process, you may receive a tentative job offer. If you accept the tentative job offer, you must receive a security clearance before an official offer can be made. Security clearance screening takes an average of three months to complete, but the process can vary from two weeks to one year, depending on the level of security clearance required for the position and a variety of other factors (e.g., if a candidate has spent a significant amount of time overseas or has dual citizenship, the clearance process may take longer). For most Department of Homeland Security jobs, an employee cannot start until a clearance has been received.
Starting your job at the Department
Once you clear security, you will receive an official job offer and start date. Your first few months at the Department will include orientation and training. Welcome to the Department of Homeland Security!