Federal agencies get hundreds of applications for each job, so you might not hear back right away. Get a snack! Stream some music! A response may show up when you least expect it.

After the Application Period Closes

When the application period closes, it’s time for the human resources office to read and assess every application. People in the HR office create a list of highly qualified candidates who, at minimum, meet the basic qualifications required and send it a selecting official, that is, the person who chooses candidates to interview.

Most agencies strive to fill their open positions within 80 days or sooner. Or sooner if they can. However, the average “time to hire” as it’s often called, is still close to 100 days—although government strives to do better.

How to Track an Application

The agency notifies you at four points in the process (if you are being considered for the job):

  1. When the application is received.
  2. If someone meets the minimum qualifications.
  3. When the application is referred to agency official who will make a selection.
  4. When a job candidate is offered the position.

If you don’t hear from someone within 15 to 20 days after the closing date, letting you know the agency got your application, you may want to get in touch with the agency contact listed in the job announcement. You can email or call to confirm that the agency received your application and verify that you completed the application materials as you were supposed to.

Always have a specific reason for calling. If the application period hasn’t closed, for example, are you calling to request additional information? To make sure your application was received? To ask where to drop off a batch of freshly baked cookies? (No, that last one is not a good idea.)

While agency contacts are open to courteous inquiries, remember to respect their time. Answering these inquiries is probably not their primary role.

You also can track your application status through your USAJOBS account or the agency system you used to apply.

Reference the announcement number
Each job announcement has a reference number. Be sure to use that number when you communicate with an agency so someone there can quickly locate your application.