Government Service: How the U.S. Government Hires Its Employees

The American flag

Government employees are the lifeline of today’s democracy. Unless we start to see a shift in how the government works, we’ll rely on these daytime heroes to be doing every government function. Without them, many departments in the United States government would not work, and without these departments, the entire country would go down in anarchy.

However, some jobs have less impact on how society works but are still important, nonetheless. Whatever their function is in the government, these employees are still essential in making society work.

Currently, 2.1 million Americans are working for the government. These employees can be found in many departments working various jobs. The government agency with the most employees is the United States Postal Service, with about 500,000 employees.

Second to this is the Department of Veteran Affairs, with about 300,000 employees. With this many employees, you might be wondering how the government finds so many willing applicants to work for them. Well, there are many ways that the US government hire their employees. Here are some of those ways.

Traditional Method

In most cases, the United States government hires employees using the traditional hiring method, processing walk-in applicants. Using this conventional method, they would post a job listing, wait for applicants to show on their doorstep, and then process their application. Currently, the government has a dedicated website for their job listings. Known as USAJOBS, this particular platform helps direct different applicants to various open jobs in the government. This expedites that job searching process and helps interested applicants find the position of their dreams.

Some departments of the US government also put their innovations in the traditional method of hiring. Some departments may opt to use an employee referral platform to incentivize employees to look for potential candidates for an open government job.

Although government officials aren’t allowed to employ an individual who is considered a relative, there are employees within the government who aren’t part of the executive department who can direct their relatives to work for the US government. These individuals must still pass the needed tests and exams to be hired for the job.


In some cases, government officials are free to appoint specific individuals to fulfill a job in the government.

The previously mentioned method is for jobs that are considered to be competitive service, which means that each applicant has an equal chance of being hired for a particular government job. However, in some cases, an appointment from an official is required to get the job. An appointment can be made to employees that might have gained their job from the competitive service method.

This appointment can be made through promotions, delegated examinations, or non-competitive actions. The appointment’s basis is primarily dictated by the individual’s service record, expertise, and proficiency. This means that if you’re looking for a higher position in the government, you have more chances of working your way into the position instead of directly applying for it.

Appointments can be made across departments, given that the job isn’t unique to one particular department. This may force certain employees to relocate to a new state, maybe even to the capital if need be. Some assistants to government officials are prone to these relocations as their appointments may ask them to live in another state.

people with a big flag


When it comes to non-profit organizations and some temporary government jobs, volunteering is the method of employment. Volunteers fill many temporary government jobs. These jobs may sprout out due to a disaster, or it might be because someone hurriedly left the job. Basically, there is a considerable need for an individual to take the job, so volunteers are made to do it.

Most of these jobs are considered low-impact, which means these employees can’t make a real difference in how the government works, but they are still essential. Most volunteers can be found working for non-profit organizations organizing various projects such as Feeding America. These volunteers are the lifeline of every non-profit organization’s work. They are also the lifeline of many families that are hit by disasters. Many homeless people also look into these government employees to give them their needs.

Here are some of the few ways that the US government hire their employees. Although certain departments might have their specialized way of hiring, the ones on this list are the main ways the US government obtains their employees. There is still a growing need for government employees and non-profit organization volunteers out there, so if you’re looking to work for the government, you can try and apply by using these ways.

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