A misconception about VA is that we only hire from within, and that only candidates who are already part of the federal system will get a job. While that may be one person’s experience, we’re here to do a little myth-busting and tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.

As we continue to serve the most diverse group of Veterans in history, VA is committed to hiring staff from a variety of backgrounds. That can only be done by choosing candidates with a broad range of experience and skills, not from a limited pool of job seekers.

Appearance vs. reality

There are a number of reasons why you may think candidates from within VA or the federal system have a leg up in hiring.

In some cases, we do allow existing employees to transfer to another facility. Some of these transfers are voluntary, while other employees may be experiencing a hardship move and are shifted to an available position at a new facility.

While a hardship transfer may offer precedence for an open position, in the case of voluntary moves, even current employees must go through the application process, just like an outside candidate.

Something to consider, though, is that job applicants who already work at VA or another agency have learned to overcome some of the more common issues that create problems for other candidates.

“There are a lot of reasons why people’s applications may not make it to the hiring manager,” explained Mike Owens, a recruitment marketing specialist and the host of our weekly “Talk About It Tuesday” broadcast. “Sometimes those common mistakes may cause us not to get called for the interview or even selected for the position.”

Where to begin

So how do you get to that same point? How do you get your application through the system?

To help you navigate the application process here at VA, we have gathered numerous tips and tricks from other blog posts, as well as in episodes of “Talk About It Tuesday.” We want you to succeed in your quest for a job as part of our team.

Whether you need help with your resume, cover letter or even the coveted interview, we have career advice available for every step of your journey to a VA career.

The power of perseverance

The road to a VA career may not seem like an easy one. The federal application process is long and it often takes several tries to get a first interview, let alone a job on our team.

Perseverance is the name of the game when it comes to the federal hiring process. There are a number of jobs open to the public right now, and one of them could be yours.

“If you want the job, you have to try to do everything you possibly can to make sure you get that position,” shared Owens. “If I see a job I like, even though I know a hundred other people are going to apply for the same job, I’m going to tell myself that this is my job, and I’m going to put everything humanly possible in this application to make sure I get this position.”

Work at VA

Don’t let the fact that you’re not a federal employee deter you from applying. Every day, candidates like yourself join our team and expand our expertise. You could very well be the next one.

By VA Careers

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Published on Mar. 11, 2022

Estimated reading time is 3.1 min.

Views to date: 2,751


  1. Linda March 19, 2022 at 5:14 pm

    This article is misleading but not for the reasons cited in the previous comment. As a long time VA selecting official, I can tell you that the civil service rules that propose fairness in hiring, along with union contract requirements and considerable red tape caused by HR processing inefficiencies and inability to assess applicant skills made it nearly impossible to get qualified and quality candidates -particularly for non-clinical positions. Not to mention the time delays that often cause quality candidates move on. It’s a bit easier to hire clinical staff, but not by much. VA needs to be exempt from civil service and contract with one of the more successful private sector hiring companies. VA claims to be making HR more efficient by consolidation, but in fact consolidation has completely ruined hiring, contacting and Information Technology. They really do not have the skill to reengineer their current Highly cumbersome processes.

  2. Melinda March 12, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    Lies. The only way to get a job at VA is to have a FAMILY MEMBER who already works there!!!!! Other than that DISCRIMINATION is RAMPANT! Doesn’t matter if you are the most Qualified person for the job A LESS QUALIFIED, YOUNGER candidate will get the job. VRA eligible’s are forced to go through competitive hiring process despite the “rules” that say they can be hired directly if they meet the qualifications of the position. Remediation only gets the candidate who has been DISCRIMINATED AGAINST LAUGHED AT. Meanwhile HR doesn’t have to do it’s job. I’m STILL WAITING for an official letter telling me I wasn’t hired!!! Either that or a date when I need to report for work! Better yet, give me what I asked for at remediation!!!!! Paid at WG-9 for six years!!!!!!!! I was told that “not even the director is authorized to pay anyone that much”. Really, so WHO hires the chief of staff for over $200,000.00 a year?!!! I DID NOT say lump sum, that was ASSUMED by the A–H— who denied me anything and LAUGHED at me!!

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