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eRecruit Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Personal Information
  2. Demographic Questions (Optional)
  3. Eligibility Questions
  4. Job-specific Questions

Personal Information

These questions cover your basic information and include eligibility, demographic information (optional) and core/profile questions. You only have to answer these questions the first time you apply for a job in eRecruit, although you will be given the option to "update your information that is on file" each time you apply to a vacancy.

First Name, Middle Initial (optional) and Last Name: You must use your LEGAL NAME on your application. Legal name is the name which appears on your social security card. There is a federal requirement to use this name on all employment documents, and it is critical for verification of eligibility for NSF employment. If you have never updated the Social Security Administration after a name change (e.g., marriage), you are strongly encouraged to do so.

  • Date of Birth: use drop downs to select month/day/year
  • Address 1, Address 2: self-explanatory
  • City, State, Zip Code, Plus 4: self-explanatory
  • Phone: This number may be used to contact you for a telephone interview; be sure to use an active telephone number and update it, if necessary.
  • Email: Failure to provide a valid, unblocked email address may result in our inability to contact you regarding your application and may result in your loss of further consideration.
  • Citizenship: self-explanatory
  • Military Service and Veterans' Preference: Select the most appropriate answer. For more detailed information, go to the website indicated.
  • Start of Service, End of Service: use drop downs to select month/day/year

Demographic Questions (Optional)

Demographic data are requested for aggregate reporting and tracking purposes and are not associated with your application. These questions are optional and the decision not to answer them will not affect your consideration in any way.

  • Ethnicity
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Physical disability
  • Designation of targeted disability

Eligibility Questions

Based on the type of announcement that you are applying for, you will be asked to respond to some or all of the following questions.

  1. Are you either a preference eligible OR a veteran who was separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions (under General or Honorable discharge) after substantially completing an initial continuous tour of duty of three years?
    This information helps us to determine if you are eligible to apply for certain types of vacancies based on your military service.

  2. Are you a current federal civilian employee?
    If you answer "yes" to this question, you will be asked two follow-up questions:

    • By what agency and organization are you employed?
      Please select "National Science Foundation" only if you are currently appointed to an NSF position (not an IPA).
    • Under what type of appointment are you currently serving? Read these definitions to help determine the appropriate answer:
      • Permanent career, competitive service/Career-conditional, competitive service: You are currently on a federal civilian appointment without time limit which is in the competitive service. You can determine if this is the case by looking at your most recent Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50), to see if item #24 is either 1 or 2 and item #34 is 1. If so, you are likely in this category.
      • Permanent Excepted Service: You are currently on a federal civilian appointment without time limit which is in the excepted service. You can determine if this is the case by looking at your most recent Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50), to see if item #24 is either 1 or 2 and item #34 is 2. If so, you are likely in this category.
      • Veterans' Recruitment Appointment: You are currently on a federal civilian appointment, without time limit, which was made under the authority of the Veterans' Recruitment Appointing Authority. You can determine if this is the case by looking at your appointment Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50), to see if item #5-B is either 'Transfer,' 'Exc Appt,' or 'Conv to Exc Appt' and item #5-C is 'J8M.' If so, you are likely in this category.
      • Time Limited Appointment (any appointment with a "not to exceed date."): You are currently on a federal civilian appointment with a time limit. You can determine if this is the case by looking at your appointment Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50), to see if item #5-B includes a date following 'NTE.' If so, you are likely in this category.
      • If you are unsure, refer to your most recent Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) or ask your servicing Human Resources Office.
  3. Are you eligible for reinstatement based on career or career-conditional federal status in the competitive service?
    Please select "yes" only if you are eligible for reinstatement into the federal civilian competitive service. You can determine if this is the case by looking at any of your Notifications of Personnel Action (SF-50), to see if item #24 is 2 and item #34 is 1 and you are within 3 years of your most recent separation from federal service; or if item #24 is 1 and item #34 is 1. If so, you are likely eligible for reinstatement (this will be confirmed by review of your documents).

  4. If you are or ever were a federal civilian employee, what is the pay plan of the highest graded position you held on a permanent basis? If your pay plan is/was not General Schedule (GS), please select "Other." Be sure to use the pay plan of the highest grade or level position you held on a permanent basis (that is, not a temporary promotion or detail or an appointment that had a specific time limitation).

    • If you selected "Other" in the previous question, please fill in the pay plan (for example: NH, GG, FS).

    • Please indicate the highest grade level or pay band you held on a permanent basis.

    • Remember to use the highest grade or pay band you held on a permanent basis (that is, not a temporary promotion or detail or an appointment that had a specific time limitation).

    • Please indicate the dates of the position you listed in the previous question (MM-YYYY to MM-YYY or MM-YYYY to Present).

    • Enter the 'from' and 'to' dates you served in the position you referenced in the previous question.

    • Time-in-grade restrictions may apply to your eligibility to be considered for positions under merit promotion procedures.

  5. What is the highest full performance level (promotion potential) of the highest graded position that you held on a permanent basis?
    Select the highest level/grade (or highest full performance level/grade) position you held permanently in the competitive service. This means either the highest level/grade you actually held or the highest full performance level/grade (i.e., promotion potential) of your position.

    • You must have held the position on a permanent basis in the competitive service (i.e., SF-50 item #24 must be either 1 or 2 and item #34 must be 1). If you are using your highest full performance level/grade instead of the level/grade which you held, that level/grade will be shown in the 'Remarks' section of the SF-50 which documents your initial placement in that position.

    • In which agency and organization did you hold the position addressed in the previous question?
      Provide the name of the agency where you held the position so that we may access and review the pay schedule used at that agency.

  6. Are you a federal retiree receiving an annuity?
    This information is important so that we may advise you correctly regarding any impact on either your annuity or your salary, if you are selected for the position.

    • With certain types of disability retirement and for certain types of federal appointments, your annuity could be suspended while you are federally employed. For details on the impact federal employment may have on your annuity, please go to http://www.opm.gov/retire/index.aspx.

    • For most reemployed annuitants who continue to receive an unreduced annuity based on civilian federal service, their NSF salary will be reduced by an amount equal to their annuity. (For example, if you are receiving a $20,000 per year federal annuity and accept an NSF GS-11 position with a salary of $55,000, you will actually be paid $35,000.)

  7. Have you accepted a buyout from a federal agency within the past 5 years?
    In most cases, if you have accepted a buyout from a federal agency within the past five years, you are required to repay it prior to federal reemployment. You may want to speak with a Human Resources representative to determine whether or not you are required to repay the buyout and how much would be due if you accepted a position at NSF.

  8. Are you eligible for, and interested in, a noncompetitive appointment under a Special Appointing Authority? These can include:

    • Disabled Veterans
    • Veterans Recruitment Act
    • Schedule A
    • Pathways Interns who have completed their educational program and are eligible for conversion
    • Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
    • Certain Military Spouses (Executive Order 13473)
    • Former Overseas Employees
    • Foreign Service Employees
    • Postal Career Service Employees
    • Postal Rate Commission Employees
    • Government Accountability Office (GAO) Employees
    • Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts Employees

    If you are eligible for noncompetitive appointment under a Special Appointing Authority, and wish to be considered for such an appointment, please indicate for which authority you are eligible and under which you wish to be considered. You MUST provide supporting documentation in order to be considered.

  9. Are you eligible for appointment under an interchange agreement or other similar authority?
    Interchange agreements between the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and other agencies with established merit systems prescribe conditions under which employees may be moved from one system to another. OPM has agreements with the following agencies:

    • Tennessee Valley Authority
    • Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    • Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS)
    • Non-appropriated Fund (NAF) employees of the Department of Defense
    • Federal Aviation Administration
    • Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration
    • Corporation for National and Community Service

    For more information and/or to determine if you might be eligible for movement from one of the above systems to NSF's competitive service, click here. There are some additional noncompetitive authorities not listed in the above 'Interchange Agreements' for which you may be eligible. They include:

    • Miscellaneous Regulated Authorities (for more information, and/or to determine if you might be eligible for movement from one of these systems to NSF's competitive service, click here).
      • Appointment of Foreign Service employees
      • Career or Career-conditional appointment under special authorities (such as Peace Corps volunteers, former overseas employees, incumbents of positions brought into the competitive service)
      • Conversion to career or career-conditional employment from other types of employment (such as employees formerly appointed via competitive examining and appointments leading to noncompetitive conversion).
    • Miscellaneous Not Regulated Authorities (for more information, and/or to determine if you might be eligible for movement from one of these systems to NSF's competitive service, click here)
      • Postal career service employees
      • Postal Rate Commission employees
      • Government Accountability Office (GAO) employees
      • Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts employees
      • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) employees

    If you are eligible for appointment under an interchange agreement or similar authority, please identify the agency and organization for which you work(ed).

    Are you a displaced employee?
    For more information and/or to determine if you might be eligible as a displaced employee from NSF (CTAP), click on this link: http://www.opm.gov/rif/employee_guides/career_transition.asp#ctap. For more information and/or to determine if you might be eligible as a displaced employee from another agency (ICTAP), click on this link: http://www.opm.gov/rif/employee_guides/career_transition.asp#ictap

    Applicants eligible for selection preference under the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) must meet the agency definition of "well qualified." At NSF, this means a score of 90.0 or higher. If you claim eligibility for one of these plans, you will be asked to provide supporting documentation.

  10. Are you a U.S. Citizen?

    If you respond No, you will receive the following questions:

    • In what country do you hold citizenship?
    • Do you currently have a green card/permanent residency and are you eligible to work in the United States?
    • Are you "actively seeking" citizenship as outlined in 8 USC 1324b? If selected, you may be asked to provide proof of this requirement
    • Are you now, or have you ever been, a permanent Federal employee?
  11. Are you currently a permanent employee on the rolls of your institution (for at least 90 days)?

  12. Indicate the type of organization of your current employer.

    • US State or Local Government
    • US Private or Public College/University
    • Indian Tribal Government
    • Federally-Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC)
    • US Non-profit Organization
    • Other
  13. By what organization are you currently employed?

Job-specific Questions

The final step of NSF's eRecruit application process is the questionnaire. Here you will answer job-related questions that ask you to evaluate or explain your experience or training as it relates to competencies necessary for successful job performance in the announced position.

Your responses to the job-specific questions are very important. Your relative ranking will be determined (either in whole or in part) by your responses to these questions. Above all, be honest. If your answers are found to be unsubstantiated in your application package, your score may be lowered. The types of questions we use are described below:

  • Yes/No: These questions address a variety of topics about your background, but you should be sure that your education, experience & background reflect that you meet the full intent of the question.
  • Multiple Choice: Choose the single most appropriate answer.
  • Multiple Answer/Multiple Choice: You may select as many answers as are applicable, but you should choose only those answers that are supported by your application package.
  • Verification (Short answer, limited to 250 characters): This type of question is used as a follow-up by the hiring officials to pinpoint where in your resume you gained the experience that is being referred to in a previous response. Typically, a question like this asks "Identify the position(s) in your resume in which you performed the above activity/activities; and/or gained the relevant experience." As with all responses, you should ensure that your resume will support the statement and that the information is accurate.

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