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Recruitment Policy Studio

Federal Section
Hiring Toolkit

Competitive Service Hiring

Public Notice


Public notice explains to job seekers when, where, and how to apply for a Federal job. Public notice is required whenever you are considering hiring applicants from outside your agency’s workforce for competitive service positions. Public notice can also be required when hiring from within the Federal workforce

Basic requirement for public notice

Under 5 U.S.C. §§ 3327 and 3330, you must notify OPM of job opportunities in the competitive service. This legal requirement supports the merit system principles (5 U.S.C. § 2301), the first of which reads:

“Recruitment should be from qualified individuals from appropriate sources in an endeavor to achieve a work force from all segments of society, and selection and advancement should be determined solely on the basis of relative ability, knowledge, and skills, after fair and open competition which assures that all receive equal opportunity.”

Although the public notice requirement is an essential component of a merit-based recruiting and examining program, meeting this requirement is not itself sufficient to satisfy the merit system principles. There are nine merit principles, each of which is equally important, and several of which are relevant to the delegated examining process. For a complete summary of the merit system principles, and how they relate to various aspects of delegated examining, see Appendix H, Model Agency-Based Accountability Agenda, of the Delegated Examining Operations Handbook (DEOH).

Required notice via USAJOBS

You must list your jobs on the USAJOBS database (see 5 U.S.C. §§ 3327 and 3330). Once this information is on the USAJOBS database, OPM transmits this information electronically to State employment service offices nationwide.

Adequate public notice

The merit principles require that agencies provide adequate public notice of every competitive service vacancy that they are filling. Adequate public notice means that any person who wants to apply for a position will have access to all of the information necessary to apply, and will be given an open and fair opportunity to be hired. Depending on your need for applicants, additional recruitment activities may or may not be necessary.