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Government Jobs

Since applying to a few jobs on I’ve received responses from two of the positions.

One stated you are qualified but you weren’t selected:

This is to notify you that you were qualified, but not selected for the [Attorney Advisor Position]. We truly appreciate the time and effort you took during the application and interview process.
Thank you for your interest in this position and we wish you every success in your employment endeavors.

The other stated I was one of the most qualified applicants but I have not heard from them in over a month:

You were determined to be among our best qualified candidates and your application was referred to the selecting official for further consideration.  You will be contacted by either the selecting official for an interview, or this office regarding the final disposition of your application.

Not sure what to think. I have a friend who works for the Federal Government now and it took them six months to make him an offer from the date he submitted his materials. So I guess the second post could still lead somewhere, but a month and a half without hearing from them has caused me to write them off. Thoughts?

  • Rebecca_M

    The six month time frame sounds about right. I applied for a temp job on a University of California campus. It was 4 months before they even contacted me for an interview. I am now happily temping. (Some money coming in is better than no money!)

    I wouldn't give up on this one.

  • tb1

    Have you applied to the civil division of the United States Attorney's Office in Manhattan (Southern District) or in Brooklyn (Eastern District)? I've never heard of anyone getting a legal position through USAJobs.

  • Shannon

    Speaking as a (non-attorney) fed, I'd say you shouldn't think anything because those messages are meaningless. Remember a large number of fed jobs are pre-selected (meaning they're going to someone already on the inside) but the HR people still have to go through the motions. It's common for federal hiring to take several months – a month or two for them to send the initial message like the ones above, maybe another month to conduct interviews, a little longer to notify everyone, and if you get selected and have your BGI done through OPM…you could be looking at a few more months to a year.

    None of this is to discourage you from applying to fed jobs…just to give you a sense of what you're dealing with and to let you know that prompt hiring is very rare in the government.

  • josh

    I am a federal attorney who does hiring for my office and who got my job through USAJobs. I can tell you that I applied for nearly 100 jobs and received 5 responses and 3 interviews. It was nearly 6 months between applying for the job I got and hearing back that I had received a screening interview – long after I had forgotten I had even applied (had to search through my sent mail to even find the application). Now that I am on the inside, I can understand the endless bureaucracy that causes these inordinate delays. Lucky for me, during the interim period I was on a long term temp assignment, so I was able to survive and then take the job when it was finally offered.

    I would note that our average (non-prestigious) federal office typically receives 200-500 applications for each attorney position listed on USAJobs, so while there's no harm in applying, I would recommend casting a wide net, and exercising patience.

  • Government lawyer

    Last year, it took me 9 months after applying for my job to make it through 3 interview rounds, get the job, and complete my background check. Patience is key when trying to get a job with the government! I couldn't be happier now though and don't see myself ever going back to biglaw.

  • sarah

    in your experience, for attorneyjobs, approximately what percentage of qualified applicants get referred to the selecting official? also, if referred, do you recommend calling HR to follow up?

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