HR University Logo, Teaching the Business of HR; and CHCO Council seal

Recruitment Policy Studio

Federal Section
Hiring Toolkit

Hiring Authorities/Other Hiring Options

Hiring VISTA Alumni and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers through Noncompetitive Eligibility

Why hire applicants who served in these volunteer programs?
VISTA Alumni and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers are resourceful, flexible, and committed, and have the potential to become high-performing employees across a wide range of agencies. VISTAs commit to a full-time year at a nonprofit or government agency and create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty. Peace Corps volunteers serve two years in developing countries on issues ranging from AIDS education to English teaching to environmental preservation and complete 27 months in volunteer service. Alumni and returned volunteers’ areas of expertise include:
  • Education
  • Community development
  • Environment and agriculture
  • Health and HIV/AIDS
  • Business and information technology
  • Volunteer management
  • Child and youth development
With wide ranging skills and experiences, applicants who completed these programs are seeking entry-, mid-, and senior-level positions.

How can you hire VISTA Alumni and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers through a fast-track process? (READ MORE)
Through a quick and simple process called Noncompetitive Eligibility (NCE), you can hire applicants who have successfully completed either of these two programs within the last 12 months. NCE empowers a federal agency to hire a candidate without going through a formal review process. All that is required is that the agency has a classified position and an available opening. Agencies must clear federal placement assistance programs prior to non competitive hiring.

Methods for recruiting applicants with NCE include:
  • Creating a call for resumes directed at candidates with NCE status
  • Attending career fairs with VISTA and/or Peace Corps participants
  • Conducting employer information sessions targeted at this audience
  • Posting job opportunities on and through online tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter

Does applying through NCE guarantee employment? (READ MORE)
No, the decision whether to hire a VISTA or Peace Corps candidate with NCE status is at the discretion of the hiring agency.

How long do candidates retain their NCE status? (READ MORE)
Upon successful completion of the VISTA or Peace Corps program, a candidate retains NCE status for 12 months. The hiring agency may extend a candidate’s NCE status for up to three years after the close-of-service date. Reasons for extension can include military service, higher education, or other activities that, in the agency’s view, warrant an extension.

How do you know if an applicant has NCE status? (READ MORE)
VISTA Alumni can present a Certification of Service letter following the completion of their 12-month assignments. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers can demonstrate their status with a Demonstration of Peace Corps Service (DOS) document. All applicants should have copies of their official certification documents available for your review. Eligible applicants are instructed to upload their supporting documents to They are also encouraged to highlight their NCE status at every stage of the hiring process.

What grade and series do VISTAs and Peace Corps volunteers fall under? (READ MORE)
Even though federal regulations require that grade and series be included when proving NCE status, applicants from these programs do not have a grade or series since they were volunteers and not federal employees. Applicants with NCE who do not have a grade or series are encouraged to contact the hiring agency to determine how they should fill out the application.

Does noncompetitive eligibility apply to Peace Corps staff? (READ MORE)
Even though they are not volunteers themselves, Peace Corps staff members who have successfully completed 36 months of continuous service (without a break in service of three days or more) receive NCE when applying for other federal positions. NCE for Peace Corps staff lasts three years and cannot be extended.

Resources (READ MORE)