WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE APPLYING FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT: COMPETITIVE SERVICES VS. EXCEPTED SERVICE

Have you ever found yourself on http://www.USAJobs.com applying for dozens of jobs, only to find out that you did qualify for any of them, although you have the required qualifications?

Well, you’re not alone. Even those within the federal government find it difficult to navigate the deep sea of rules and regulations governing the federal hiring process. While there are hundreds of hiring regulations depending the agency’s mandate, governance, branch, and so on, in this article, I will briefly explain two of the most important elements when applying for federal employment: The competitive service and the excepted service.

The Federal Government has four hundred fifty-four agencies and only approximately twenty-five agencies operate under excepted services (ES) regulations. Most of the other agencies operate under competitive service (CS) regulations:

The competitive service consists of all civil service positions in the executive branch of the Federal Government with some exceptions. The exceptions are defined in section 2102 of title 5, United States Code (5 U.S.C. 2102). In the CS, individuals must go through a competitive process open to all applicants. Appointments to the ES are appointments that do not confer competitive status. There are a number of ways to be appointed to the excepted service such as appointed under an authority defined by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as excepted (e.g., Veterans, Recruitment Appointment) or being appointed to a position defined by OPM as excepted position (e.g., Attorneys, FBI agents).

Job announcements for federal employment must specify the type of service announced. If you are a federal employee, you can find your service appointment on your SF-50 Notification of Personnel Action, box 34.

One of the prospective flexibilities of working for the CS is that your time in service and most of your benefits are recognized and honored between federal agencies under the same CS regulations. In general, job applications under CS status allow you to move to the top of the list without competing with the general public, and among the same qualified competitors, giving you a preference status based on your federal government experience, above the general public.

If your employment appointment is under ES, you don’t qualify to apply for job announcements under CS, even when such a job announcement is open to all federal employees. Unless the job announcement states explicitly that employees under the ES status may apply, which means that the agency has an interchangeable agreement with OPM. Suppose you don’t work for the federal government and want to apply. In that case, the competitive or excepted service regulations are less likely to significantly impact your initial appointment, although the hiring process may be considerably different.

I have worked under both appointments, the excepted, and CS. In 2010, I worked at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a federal agency regulated by competitive service. Shortly after the year, I resigned USCIS and went to work at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), an excepted service agency. At the time of leaving USCIS, no one explained the significance of leaving the CS to enter the ES. I had to learn it with anxiety and frustration. After a couple of years at the FBI, I wanted a change. I applied for other jobs within the federal government and was repeatedly rejected. Morally, it was devastating. I have a higher education degree, more than 30 years of business experience, and more than a decade of federal government experience. I felt trapped and deflected. At the time, I didn’t know the meaning and significance of each appointment, and quite frankly, it was disappointing.

Here is what you need to know:

  • If you are interested in entering the federal government, CS or ES is not of the greatest importance, but it is a matter of preference.
  • CS versus ES can limit your federal government career options as CS employees can easily transition between agencies unless there is an interchangeable agreement for ES employees.
  • If you are under a CS appointment transitioning to ES appointment, you MUST be informed in writing.
  • When it comes to job announcements open to ‘all federal employees,’ you ES appointment doesn’t qualify you to apply, unless the announcement specifies that it is open to ES employees.
  • When you apply to job announcements open to the public, you will be competing with the general public, regardless of your time in civil service.
  • CS is under the merit system in the Executive Branch and OPM. ES has its own hiring system, merit, and evaluations.
  • Federal employees with CS hired by ES agencies receive credit for federal service toward retirement, and benefits are subjected to OPM’s rules regarding creditable service for retirement purposes.
  • Employees entering into Excepted Service, even if they are coming from a Competitive Service position, must work 1,250 hours before becoming eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Employees transferring from a competitive service agency who have already fulfilled a probationary period with their initial appointment are still required to serve another probationary period under AOC authority

Iberkis Faltas

Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration

Specializations:

Management & Leadership | Law and Policy Analysis

Emotional Intelligence Psychometrician.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iberkisfaltas/

Instagram: @emotionalintelligence4

Nonprofit: Shining Women

Instagram: Shiningwomen4

Community: Center for Emotional Intelligence & Professional Development (CEIPD)

What If We Radically Reimagined the New School Year?

“Anti-Blackness works 24/7 to kill the Black imagination… The destructiveness is ongoing, chronic, but it is manifested acutely. It tells our children to dream of a better future instead of a better now, in the communities where they live.…”

What If We Radically Reimagined the New School Year?
— Read on educationpost.org/what-if-we-radically-reimagined-the-new-school-year/

Perception in Public Administration

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Emotional intelligence has been one of the faster-growing conceptualizations in social science since the 1990s. Research shows that the scientific development of emotional intelligence as a tool to drive thinking, behavior, and performance is an essential skill to have and manage. In the world we are currently living, fulfilled with a multigenerational culture, societies currently affected by drastic socioeconomic and sociopolitical changes, a pandemic, and workplaces culture on a fast-racetrack to embrace virtual workplaces environments, emotional intelligence is a set of essential skills to help us deal with the uncertainty and insecurities of changes.

Public administrators are civil service employees. They are employed by the government of the United States—local, state, or federal government, and for the most part, their salary is paid by taxpayers’ money. Their responsibility is not only toward the government, but also the community. Because of the nature of public service employment, civil servants’ behavior and actions are frequently and closely scrutinized by the public. More so as public servants moved into virtual environments. Those are external factors adding to already organically stressful situations.

How can public servants manage the stress and pressure of dealing with public scrutiny in a constantly changing society and workplace environments? The answer should be simple: do what is right, honorably, and ethically appropriate for you and your community. However, the problem of doing what is right, honorably, morally, and ethically appropriate for the public and the community relies on a proficiency that is extremely subjective to the perception of each individual.

The problem with perception is that it is a cognitive trait in which the human mind is set on a conscious state based on events that induce a perceptual awareness. That perception is not always aligned with the reality of the facts. This type of behavior is also referred to as situational behavior. In emotional intelligence, one’s perception is deeply influenced by the information found in our environment. The way we perceive that information and how we accurately identify such information has the greatest impact on how we use that information to communicate with others, make decisions, and solve problems. Likewise, that information is essential when right, honorably, and ethically appropriate. Information is subjective, and that subjectivity is open to the interpretation of one’s perception.

For a public service servant, to do what is right—by the general and consensual law of social behavior—it takes transparency, awareness, and adaptability. Doing what is right, honorably, morally, and ethically appropriate has nothing to do with one’s perception, and all to do with the logical and reasonable sequence of facts. Those are proficiencies cognitively attached to transparency and awareness. Those are proficiencies closely related to openness relating to other people, the things we do, and the little efforts of making a good impression under one person’s perception. Those proficiencies make you invisible to certain compromising situations, as one will not hide behind others’ wrongful and inappropriate actions. On this matter, research shows that “Transparency is normally defined as the thesis that reflection on, or introspection of, what it is like to have an experience does not reveal that we are aware of experiences themselves, but only of their mind-independent objects.” Another factor influencing those cognitive characteristics is awareness.

Awareness is the perception and knowledge of an action that generates some form of information. Awareness is the accurate “reportability of something perceived or known widely used as a behavioral index of conscious awareness.” It is that awareness that gives us the perceptual acceptance of experience. It gives us a “perceptual awareness of ordinary mind-independent objects.” In emotional intelligence, awareness involves recognizing and understanding our environment. Awareness is the ability to perceive, understand, and differentiate between the subtleties of our own perception, the reality of the world around us. Awareness involves putting your perception to the side while being mindful and observant of the transparency and clearness of the facts, the source of information, and the impact that such information has on our actions. It is the ability to recognize and understand what is right, honorably, and ethically appropriate for all members of our society–equally, impartially, and correspondingly.

Adapting to radical social changes takes time. Learning how to do what is right, honorably, and ethically appropriate, even in a virtual environment, takes longer. It takes learning to differentiate and set apart the cognitive difference of one’s perception, and the reality of the facts, even when one does not agree with such facts, “For we think of an illusion as any perceptual situation in which a physical object is actually perceived, but in which that object perceptually appears other than it really is.” Remember that your perception is influenced by your background, personality, education, socioeconomic status, personality, moods, and emotions. When analyzing the facts of any given situation, be sure to do a self-reality check and identify how the factors mentioned above are influencing your own perception. After, do a process of elimination. It will help you clearly understand the facts of any given situation and help you align what is right, honorably, morally, and ethically appropriate with the reality of the facts.

Iberkis Faltas