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Keeping Applicants Informed Throughout the Federal Hiring Process

Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Keeping Applicants Informed Throughout the Federal Hiring Process

Maximizing the success of recruitment efforts includes effective communication with job applicants.  Maintaining communication with applicants about where they stand in the hiring process helps provide transparency about the process and can contribute to a positive impression and reputation of the hiring organization.  Regular communication and notification to applicants are also key to maintaining the engagement and interest of applicants, particularly in cases where the hiring process involves multiple steps or when there is a risk of losing the applicant to a competing employment offer.


The importance of applicant notification has been amplified by multiple Members of Congress, including during a March 1, 2018, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management hearing examining Federal managers’ role in hiring. 


The concerns expressed at this hearing and in other forums are supported by reporting from applicants.  Based on data from a USAJOBS applicant survey, the majority of applicants indicate that they are notified when their application is received; however, later notifications at key touch points of the process are not provided as consistently.


The U.S. Office of Personnel Management reminds agencies to be diligent in notifying applicants in a timely fashion at the following key touch points in the process: 

  1.       Upon receipt of the application;
  2.       Upon completion of qualifications assessments and whether or not the applicant was referred to the selecting official; and
  3.       Whether or not the applicant was selected. 

Agencies are encouraged to leverage functionality in their talent acquisition/staffing systems to facilitate notifications.  To attract talented and highly-skilled applicants to public service, the application process should apprise job seekers (within applicable limits) and enable them to make informed decisions, rather than deter them from pursuing Federal career opportunities.  We appreciate your continued partnership in helping to support the Federal Government in a process that reflects these principles, and we are committed to providing assistance in these areas.


For additional information, please contact Kimberly A. Holden, Deputy Associate Director, Talent Acquisition and Workforce Shaping at


cc:  Chief Human Capital Officers