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Recruitment Policy Studio

Federal Section
Hiring Toolkit

Excepted Service Hiring


Selections


An evaluation of the qualifications of applicants may be conducted at any time before an appointment is made. Once the evaluations/assessments are complete agencies will assign ratings to the individuals. Then agencies can generally choose from among three ranking and selection methods when filling jobs in the excepted service: 1) the ranked list, 2) the unranked list, and 3) a category rating-like process.

Ranked list – Individuals are assessed against criteria which produces a numerical score. Preference eligibles who earn a passing score receive 5 or 10 points, as appropriate, which are added to their score. Applicants are then listed in score order and selection is made from the highest-ranked three names available on the list. Preference eligibles with a 10 percent or more disability are placed at the top of the list, and thus achieve the highest ranks. Agencies cannot select a non-preference eligible veteran over a preference eligible veteran with an equal or higher score without going through the applicable pass over procedures.

Unranked list – Applicants who meet basic eligibility criteria are listed by veterans’ preference category: 10 percent or more disabled veterans, other 10-point preference eligible veterans, 5-point preference eligible veterans, and then non-preference eligible veterans.

Agencies cannot select a non-preference eligible veteran until the preference eligibles are exhausted or the agency has gone through the proper pass over procedures with respect to the preference eligibles that are remaining.

Category rating- like process – Under 5 CFR part 302.105, agencies may establish their own systems for applying veterans’ preference provided that such a system results in preference eligible applicants receiving at least as much advantage as they would under the numerical ranking or unranked selection methods.

Rather than using numerical scores, individuals are assessed against agency-established criteria and placed in one of two or more pre-defined quality categories.

Preference eligibles are listed ahead of non-preference eligibles in the quality category into which they are placed. Preference eligibles with a 10 percent or more disability are placed in the highest quality category (ahead of the non-preference eligibles).

Professional Order – When filling professional and scientific positions at the GS-9 level and above, the rules differ slightly. Agencies may list applicants either in a ranked list by score order or in an unranked list by preference status.

When a ranked list is used, preference eligibles who earn a passing score will have an additional 5 or 10 points, as appropriate, added to their score. Applicants are then listed in score order (i.e., nobody “floats”), and selection is made from the highest-ranked three names available on the list.

When an unranked list is used all qualified preference eligibles will be listed in order of preference status (which will consist of candidates eligible for 10-point veterans’ preference followed by candidates eligible for 5-point veterans’ preference), followed by all other qualified applicants. An agency must consider preference eligibles in the highest preference group first. An agency may not consider a non-preference eligible until all preference eligibles have been exhausted or the agency has gone through the proper pass over procedures with respect to the preference eligibles who are remaining.

Just like in the competitive service veterans’ preference and evaluating applicants to make meaningful distinctions among best qualified applicants is required when making excepted service appointments.

Veterans’ preference must be applied when making appointments in the excepted service.

It may mean:
  • Adding 5 or 10 points to a candidate’s earned score and/or
  • Placing veterans ahead of non-veterans.
  • Agencies may use a category rating like process similar to what is used in the competitive service
Passovers of 30% or more disabled veterans must be approved by OPM.

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