skip navigation links
USGS - science for a changing world

Human Capital Services and Support

We Are USGS!

Government-Wide Direct Hire Authorities

PDF Version

General Information

A Direct-Hire Authority (DHA) is a hiring authority that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) can grant to Federal agencies for filling vacancies in specific occupations, grade levels, and locations when it can be proven that there is a critical hiring need or a severe shortage of candidates. Direct hire authorities expedite the hiring process by eliminating veterans’ preference, rating and ranking, as well as the typical selection procedures.

In order to use one of the government-wide DHAs, hiring officials must meet the public notice requirements by posting a vacancy announcement open to the public on OPM’s USAJOBS job listing board. All applicants who meet the qualification requirements of the position will be referred to the hiring manager for consideration.

There are a number of government-wide direct hire authorities in place that can be used by any executive agency that has delegated examining authority. Some of these authorities cover occupations outside of the USGS mission, but there are a few authorities that cover positions relevant to the USGS.

Current Government-wide Authorities

  • Information Technology Management (Information Security and Cybersecurity), GS-2210-09 and above at all geographic locations.
  • Veterinary Medical Officer, GS-0701-11 and above at all geographic locations.  This authority may be used indefinitely or until terminated by OPM.  Because this authority is based on a severe shortage of candidates, OPM may request information from agencies on their use of this authority on a periodic basis in order to determine if continued use is supportable.
  • Medical Occupations - All grade levels at all locations for Diagnostic Radiologic Technologist, GS-0647; Medical Officer, GS-0602; Nurse, GS-0610, GS-0620; and Pharmacist, GS-0660.
  • Positions involved in Iraqi Reconstruction Efforts that require fluency in Arabic or other related Middle Eastern languages at all WG levels, single-grade interval occupations in the General Schedule and two-grade interval GS occupations at GS-9 and above.  Agencies may appoint U.S. citizens to positions at all locations.
  • Federal Acquisition positions covered include:
    • entry-level positions in the Contracting series, GS-1102;
    • senior positions in the Contracting series, GS-1102;
    • all positions in the Purchasing series, GS–1105; and
    • positions in other series in which significant acquisition-related functions are performed.
    This authority is based on a severe-shortage of candidates. Prior to using this authority, the agency head must determine whether a shortage of highly qualified individuals exists. When determining the existence of a shortage of highly qualified individuals, agencies are required to use the supporting evidence prescribed in 5 CFR 337.204(b).  OPM may request information from agencies on their use and implementation of this authority. This authority expires on September 30, 2017.

Appointment Options

Unless the specific DHA states otherwise, agencies may use a DHA for temporary and term appointments with not-to-exceed dates as well as for permanent appointments.

Requirements for Considering Displaced/Surplus Employees

Displaced or surplus employees are entitled to priority consideration when filling a position from outside the agency’s (DOI) workforce and the position is expected to last 120 days or more. In order to receive priority consideration, these individuals must meet the eligibility requirements for the Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) or the Interagency Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) and must apply to the vacant position when applicable.

When a CTAP or ICTAP eligible applies to a position, meets all of the eligibility requirements, and is determined to be well-qualified for the position, they receive priority consideration. This means that no other applicant can be considered for the advertised position unless the CTAP/ICTAP eligible is selected or declines consideration for the position.

Probationary/Trial Period Requirements

In most instances, individuals will be required to complete a 1-year probationary or trial period.


Conflict Management | Employee & Career Development | Human Resources |
Organization Development | Pay & Benefits | Performance & Conduct | Staffing & Workforce

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information:
Page Last Modified: Thursday, 09-Jun-2016 15:45:22 EDT