e-Recruit Application Guide

Overview of the Application Process


In November 2010, changes were made to eRecruit as a result of the Hiring Reform Act, and in March 2011, further enhancements to eRecruit were made.

New Features

The following are some of the features as a result of the Hiring Reform Act, effective November 2010:

  • Essay questions have been removed from our vacancy announcements. In accordance with OPM guidelines, the NSF does not require all applicants to complete responses to  “essay-style” assessment questions in order to be considered. Instead assessment questions are now in a Yes/No, multiple choice and multiple answer format. Please ensure that all responses to the assessment questions are supported by responsibilities/experiences in your resume. We highly encourage you to tailor/focus your resume towards the specific vacancy to which you are applying.
  • After completing your assessment questions, you will find hotlinks for all required/optional paperwork that you can submit as supporting documentation. If you wish, you may include a cover letter to your submission; however this is not a requirement for any of our announcements.

The following are some of the new features that were effective beginning March 2011:

  • There are now several ways to submit your résumé. You may still create and store as many as five résumés using the USAJOBS résumé builder. You may also upload a résumé from your computer, or download it from another source.
  • You may submit supporting documentation by either faxing or uploading the documents in a variety of formats.
  • Social security numbers will no longer be transferred from USAJOBS and stored in eRecruit.
  • If you have begun the application process, but have not completed the assessment questions, you will be notified prior to the announcement closing date that your application is not yet complete.

Eligibility Requirements

If you are a current/former federal employee who wishes to be considered under "merit promotion procedures," you must meet the following eligibility criteria.

Note: If you wish to be considered as an external candidate from the general public (i.e., "Delegated Examining Unit or DEU," "All Sources" or "Any US citizen"), these restrictions will not apply to your consideration.

  • Competitive Status: You are eligible to apply to vacancy announcements that are open to "current or former federal employees with competitive status obtained through current or former permanent federal competitive service appointment."
  • Time-after-competitive appointment: Generally, you cannot be promoted or reassigned to a different line of work or to a different geographic location, or be reinstated, until at least three months after your latest permanent competitive appointment. For further details, click here.
  • Time-in-grade: Generally, to be considered for a position above GS-5, you must have completed at least 52 weeks of service in positions at the next lower level in the normal line of promotion progression (e.g., for positions like Accountant, which progress at two-grade intervals like GS-7/9/11, you must have served at no more than two grades lower; for positions like Secretary, which progress at one-grade intervals like GS-7/8/9, you must have served at no more than one grade lower; for any position at GS-12 or above, you must have served at no more than one grade lower). For further details, click here.
    NOTE: There are some limited exclusions to the time-in-grade requirement. For detailed information on specific exclusions, click here.
  • Citizenship: All general schedule (GS) positions in the competitive service require US Citizenship (Pathways participants are an exception until conversion to a permanent appointment.). Certain positions in the excepted service under the NSF Act may be filled by Non-Citizens. Recent changes in Federal Appropriations Law require Non-Citizens to meet certain eligibility criteria to be considered. Therefore, Non-Citizens must certify eligibility by signing and attaching this Citizenship Affidavit to their application. Non-citizens who do not provide the affidavit at the time of application will be considered for IPA only, if eligible.

NSF is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Selection will be made without discrimination for any non-merit reason such as race, religion, age, sex, national origin, marital status, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.

NSF provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need an accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the contact person indicated on the vacancy announcement. Decisions to grant requests for accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.