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Navigating the hiring process

Don’t let the federal hiring process seem daunting. We demystify it below, so you know what to expect. Here’s a look at the average time of each stage from application to your first day at TTS. Please note that these are only averages, and length of process stages can vary based on a number of factors such as the number of applications received.

Process Stage Average Duration/Days
Application collection 12 to 14
TTS application review 10
Interviews 30
Offer and security 50 to 80
Total from application to start 102 to 134

Info Sessions

Before you apply for a position, we would strongly encourage you to attend an info session. TTS hosts monthly general hiring info sessions as well as role-specific info sessions for upcoming or newly-opened roles. At our general info sessions, candidates can learn about working at TTS, what kinds of roles we hire for, and what our application process is like. At role-specific info sessions, candidates will hear some of the same information but will also have a chance to hear directly from the hiring team about what their vision for the role is and what a day-in-the-life might actually look like. Candidates can also ask us questions about the application process, the work, and the team culture. In order to ensure equity in our hiring processes, TTS Talent will not conduct one-on-one conversations with candidates about roles, but instead will welcome folks to attend one of our info sessions.

Registration information about info sessions can be found on the JoinTTS homepage.

Application

When you apply for a role at TTS, you’ll need to submit a government-style resume. We collect applications during the period specified in the Basic Information section of the job posting, generally 10 business days. After the period has closed, we review and evaluate all applications at the same time.

TTS usually posts roles using a Direct Hire Authority, which does not apply Veterans’ Preference. In some instances, we may post roles using other hiring authorities that do apply this preference. In those cases Veterans’ Preference is applied for candidates who have claimed their veteran status.

TTS does not use automated screening tools, and your application will be evaluated by people who have varying levels of familiarity with your professional experience. It’s better to be explicit in your resume and not assume the reader has expert domain knowledge or context. Because applications are reviewed by real people, the application review process typically takes a couple of weeks and the length of time varies by the number of applications received.

Interviews

The interview process with TTS typically takes 3-4 weeks total, and we typically interview in 2-3 rounds total. The first round is a 30-60 minute preliminary screen by phone or video. During this call, plan to talk briefly about your skills, experience, and professional passion. We’ll share more about the role, the teams, and the work we do on a daily basis.

If we both think, based on the initial call, that you’re still interested in the opportunity and that you could be a good fit for the role, we’ll invite you to a series of formal video interviews with different TTS team members. It’s during these longer conversations that we’ll discuss your past work experience in addition to the skills and knowledge that you bring with you to TTS. Some positions will have a technical interview (such as a coding exercise interview) as a second round before moving candidates forward to the final round of interviews. Our final round of interviews will always include a TTS Core Values interview, and if you are interviewing for a supervisory position, you will also be invited to a TTS Supervisor interview.

We share copies of all of our interview guides with candidates in advance of your interviews. Sharing questions in advance helps our team provide you a better and more informed interview experience. As a candidate, you can better understand what we’re looking for. By sharing the same prep information with every candidate, you get a taste of our values in action and we ensure a fair, equitable hiring process. Everyone comes to the table better prepared. Federal hiring can be very different from industry or private-sector hiring, and we want to make this experience as transparent - and enjoyable - as possible!

Interview Format

We typically use Google Meet for all of our screens - if you are not comfortable or familiar with using Google Meet let your recruiter know and they will be happy to set up a test chat with you prior to your interviews! You can also test your sound and video prior to your interview using these instructions.

In case there are technical issues with a video call, you will also be provided with a dial-in number you can call by phone.

We realize video chats aren’t an option for everyone, so we are also happy to work with a candidate’s individual needs to ensure they have a good interviewing experience and can use their preferred method of communication.

Accommodations

We want to interview you at your best, and we’re more than happy to provide reasonable accommodations to support that! Let us know if there are accommodations that we can provide that will help you show your best self.

Some examples:

  • Giving you extra time to answer questions
  • Sharing questions in written form as well as verbally
  • Bringing an emotional support or service animal to your interview
  • Using a medium other than video chat
  • Having a captioner or an ASL interpreter

Security and Onboarding

If TTS identifies you as a strong candidate after we complete the interviews, a TTS recruiter will reach out to you with next steps. The hiring process continues in partnership with GSA’s (our parent agency) Human Resources team. They’re responsible for extending tentative and official final offers. The process is as follows:

  • A GSA HR specialist will call you with a tentative offer. “Tentative” means the offer is contingent on a security clearance. This offer will include salary for your consideration.
    • Please note: This is only a tentative offer. At this point you should not give notice or resign from your current employer. You should delay these steps until you receive the final offer with a confirmed start date from HR.
  • Once you have accepted the tentative offer, you will receive an email from the HR onboarding system. You will need to login and accept your tentative offer.
  • Once you accept your tentative offer, you will complete a series of forms and receive a USAccess email requesting you to schedule a time to provide your fingerprints for your security clearance and complete an electronic questionnaire for investigation processing (e-QIP).
  • Once your e-QIP has been initially cleared, you will receive an interim security clearance, and a GSA HR specialist will call you with a final offer.
  • At this stage, GSA HR and the TTS Talent team will work with you to identify and set a start date.

Security Clearance Documents

All government positions require some level of background check. Most roles at TTS require a public trust position clearance, which is more thorough than most private-sector background checks but not as intensive as a higher government security clearance. The clearance process adds some time and forms to the hiring process, but the GSA Human Resources team will guide you through it.

More about how we hire

TTS is an Equal Opportunity Employer

We’re building a team that reflects our country. We don’t discriminate based on race, color, culture, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, neurodiversity, genetic information, age, socio-economics, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factors.

Hiring Authorities

There are three primary types of hiring authorities used by TTS: Direct Hire Authority, Competitive Service, and Excepted Service. The application and hiring process will vary slightly based on the type of role for which you are applying.

Direct Hire Authority: DHA is a special appointing authority and we use this authority to fill the majority of roles at TTS. Applications for these roles are completed on USAJOBS.gov. DHA positions can be either term-limited or full-time career positions. See About the Direct Hire Authority for more details.

Competitive Service: Applicants for all competitive service roles must complete the application process at USAJOBS.gov. Individuals go through a competitive hiring process before being selected and appointed. This hiring process may consist of a written test, an evaluation of the individual’s education and experience, or an evaluation of other attributes necessary for successful performance in the position to be filled. Competitive Service roles can be either term-limited or full-time career opportunities.

Excepted Service: These roles are “not to exceed” (NTE) positions, which means they are two-year terms and can be extended once for a total of four years of service. These roles are not always posted on USAJOBS.gov. Instead, candidates can apply via our online application.

Eligibility

All United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands) are eligible to apply.

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