Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

Blog archive

How did you land your federal job?

We’ve seen a number of comments on this site over past months concerning the existence of “good old boy” networks that influence new hires, promotions and all the other good stuff.

And we’ve also read posts detailing futile efforts to gain employment using the existing recruitment and job application tools.

With all the folks currently pounding on the door trying to get federal employment, this sets us to wondering just how the feds who read this blog actually got on the federal payroll.

Our own experience as a federal employee many years ago (it lasted only months) involved all the traditional steps, starting with the dreaded SF-171. In those pre-Internet days, one had to go to the library and squint at tiny job listings in some sort of periodical whose name escapes me. It was printed, if memory serves, on paper the same color as Monopoly $500 bills.

All in all, not a pleasant experience.

But truth be told, if I hadn’t known someone who knew someone, the whole exercise probably would have been fruitless.

So—how did you land your federal job?

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Sep 29, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Tue, Dec 21, 2010 Tulsa, OK

Took the FSEE test, filled-out a 171 & forgot about it Spring 1970. Was called for an interview the following winter; entered on duty January 4th 1971; will retire January 3rd 2011. Deafness is a BIG drawback in a career. Their communictions & power games go on all around you, and you mustn't ever expect to get credit for anything you think of. Oh, well, at least I have a life after employment to look forward to. Lotta other folk are so intellectually impoverished they can't think their way out of the office - they're stuck. Cheers!

Wed, Oct 27, 2010

Only did 1/2 year of college because I wanted to go to business school to become a secretary. Government came to business school and gave civil service test there because they were looking for employees. I was already employed a few months later when government called me to offer job as GS-3 secretary. I took that job so fast. Now 42 years later with a 8/9 year break in service to have my children, I'm still here and still happy. PS, I work now for the Marine Corps.

Fri, Oct 8, 2010 Glen Dallas, TX

Mine was a mix of "good ole' girl" and the traditional way.

My mother worked for the Government and I had just gotten out of the military and was living back home with my folks. The agency had an opening in their mailroom for a GS-3/4 clerk. I dutifully filled out an SF-171 and submitted my paperwork.

A few weeks later I was notified that I was not selected for an interview.

Three weeks later I received a call that the agency was using the same cert to interview for Collections Officers (5/7) and asking if I was interested.

I was interviewed and hired. That was 35 years ago and I've always joked that I ended up with the agency because I wasn't qualified to work in the mailroom.

Wed, Oct 6, 2010

Could have gone to Washington DC right out of high school in 1965 as a GS-4, but back then that was like going to the moon for me. Finally, took the Civil Service Exam again and after 10 years as an Agency Sec. for an Ins. Co., I went to work for the FAA. It had been a year since I took the Exam and it was my first interview. I knew no one and had no recommendations from any one. The manager interviewed me and told me to come to work in 2 weeks, and I have been here almost 35 years.

Wed, Oct 6, 2010 Now a Retired Gov Emp In the heartland of the nation.

I was first employed by the government because the selecting official didn't look at the name of the person he hired. The job that I filled was created specifically for a certain individual. That person didn't complete and submit the SF 171 by the closing date of the job posting and I was the only person who applied. The position I retired from I obtained because the selecting official did not want to hire the person he was being instructed to hire by his manager. So you can say, "I was first hired by a mistake in the 'good ole boy system' ", then later, "I was hired because the selecting official did not like, 'the good ole boy', he was told to hire!" I believe I have a career of, "being in the right place at the right time, 'TWICE'" Also all the time I felt like the 'redhead step child no one wanted' but could not do any thing with because I could do the job better than the person they wanted to hire and I never gave them a real reason to fire me and they tried many times!!!!

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