General Recruitment and Hiring FAQs


The federal hiring process is different than applying for a position in the private sector. While the process can be confusing to navigate, below we have gathered our most frequently asked questions and provided answers to assist you in applying for a position with CISA. 

Still have a hiring related question? We're here to help! Send us an email at Careers@cisa.dhs.gov to access our team of recruiters who are happy to give you further guidance. 

 

Do I need a clearance to apply?

No, you do not need clearance to apply. If you are selected for a position, a CISA staff member will provide you instructions on how to begin the necessary clearance process once you accept the tentative job offer.

What is the difference between the levels of security clearance?

Public trust is a suitability check for a low-risk federal position, but it is not a security clearance.  Non-Critical Sensitive, Critical Sensitive, and Special Sensitive require more in-depth background checks necessary for access to increasingly sensitive information. This is also known as Secret, Top Secret, and Top Secret/SCI. Details about the different levels of security clearance is available on USAJOBs Help and FAQ pages.

What does promotion potential mean?

Promotion potential is the highest advancement level that a position can reach. Generally, once an employee in the General Schedule reaches the highest promotion level in his/her position, they need to apply for positions that have higher promotion potential in order to receive further promotions.

What is Veterans Preference?

Veterans preference is a special eligibility designed to thank veterans for their service, recognize their economic loss, and restore them to a favorable competitive position for federal employment.  Veterans can apply for positions under the Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA) up to GS-11, the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA), or the 30% or More Disabled Veteran Appointment Authority. You can learn more about veteran preference at FedsHireVets.

What types of cyber certifications are required to seek employment at CISA?

Cyber certifications are not a requirement for employment at CISA. Once onboard CISA invests in all its employees with training money that can be put towards a certification. This will be a discussion with your supervisor when you develop your performance plan and individual development plans.

I do not possess any cyber experience. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply to positions based on your level of education. CISA also has opportunities in many other career fields, such as human resources, security and risk analysis, chemical security, stakeholder engagement, supply chain management, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, business, finance, legal, communications, and privacy. Opportunities are located in the metro Washington DC area as well as within CISA’s regional areas. Explore our mission areas and career opportunities now. 

What entry level opportunities does CISA offer?

CISA offers entry-level positions based on prior work experience or education level. Learn more about our programs tailored for students and recent graduates. 

Where can I find CISA’s job announcements?

Please visit www.usajobs.gov and keyword search for “Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.” 

How do I apply through USAJOBs?

Create your account on www.usajobs.gov; upload your resume and supporting documents, as requested in the announcement. Click the “Apply” button on the announcement, attach your resume, supporting documents, and answer the assessment questions. You may also be directed to submit a longer USAHire Assessment. 

Do I have to apply through USAJOBs? 

It's always recommended to apply online to any job announcement that interests you. CISA also hosts hiring events where eligible and qualified candidates may be selected. Learn more about special recruitment opportunities and the documents needed when applying. Candidates not eligible for at least one of the special recruitment opportunities must apply to CISA's vacancies online

I applied and did not hear anything back. What does this mean?

Applications go through a pre-screening process before reaching hiring managers for review. USAJOBs will notify you if you have been referred to a hiring manager or if you did not pass the pre-screening process. You can also check status on your USAJOBs application dashboard or reach out to the contact information at the bottom of the announcement. You can view the announcements for positions that have closed by accessing you USAJOBs application dashboard. 

What is a tentative job offer?

Congratulations! This means you have been selected for a position with CISA. All offers of employment are tentative and contingent upon successful completion of pre-employment requirements, which are listed in your tentative offer letter. 

I just received my tentative job offer! When should I give notice to my current employer?

After receiving your tentative job offer you will begin the pre-employment process, which includes drug testing and a background investigation. You should not give notice to your current employer until you have been notified you have successfully completed all pre-employment requirements and have a firm offer in hand. A CISA HR Specialist will reach out to you and coordinate a mutually agreeable official start date. You’ll then receive an official firm offer letter with reporting instructions.

How long does the pre-employment process take?

The pre-employment process can take weeks or months depending on the depth of the background check, and your responsiveness to the different steps (i.e. drug testing, completing security forms, etc.). 

What will happen during my first few days as a new employee with CISA?

You’ll attend a robust orientation that will help acclimate you to the organization and introduce you to benefits and other important employment information. You’ll also meet your sponsor, a current CISA employee that will familiarize you with your new office, receive security briefings, receive your credentials and IT equipment, and finally, meet up with your supervisor and meet your team.  During COVID, much of the orientation and onboarding activities are completed virtually.

What will my work schedule be?

Your work schedule will be negotiated with your supervisor at the time of hire and/or during your first week onboard. Most CISA positions are full-time; many positions are eligible for flexible work schedules and telework opportunities. Work schedule information and available flexibilities is also listed in the job opportunity announcement. During COVID most of our workforce is, and will remain, virtual.

How can I stay up-to-date on future job opportunities?

To receive email notifications when new CISA positions are announced, set up a “saved search” on www.usajobs.gov (account creation is required) with keyword “Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.” Find us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. You can also check our hiring events page to be the first to know when CISA will conduct the next hiring event!

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