Yes, I said appearance a couple of times. The bureaucrats have no interest in hiring outsiders for these cushy jobs for life, they already have someone in mind for each and every position. That's right, the call for outside applicants is nothing more than a show. Unless you know an insider, they are not even looking at your USAJobs.GOV application. Just take a look at the qualifications and requirements for any particular job. Does it look like it was written off of an existing resume? No coincidence there, it was written from the resume of the person they already decided to hire. When you apply, all you are doing is validating the appearance system, helping them appear "fair."
Another method used to "narrow down" the search is redundancy. Frequently, when you click "apply" for a job announcement at USAJobs.GOV, you are sent to another website and must re-enter all of the information that you gave to USAJobs.GOV, when this information could have easily been passed to the agency, or, now this is way too simple, the agency could have used the information in the USAJobs.GOV system without creating their own redundant system. In the end, the hiring activity gets all the data they want to "show" that their pre-selected candidate is the best candidate because so many people looked at the job and did not complete and application, while the ones who did complete did not meet the qualifications. The 'best' bogus qualifications I have seen are PhD requirements that are totally irrelevant to the position.
So, gentle reader, be forewarned, if you are applying for a federal job without an engraved invitation all you are doing is wasting your time and helping a bloated GS15 get a few more points on their evaluation.
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