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Direct Hire Authorities


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DOI-Specific Direct Hire Authorities Government-wide Direct Hire Authorities

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.

Public notice is required, meaning to use a DHA, a vacancy announcement must be posted on OPM’s USAJOBS job listing board and open to the public. All applicants who meet the basic qualification requirements of the position will be referred to the hiring manager for consideration and may be selected.

There are a number of government-wide direct hire authorities in place (see list below) 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 others that cover positions relevant to the USGS.  There is also one DOI-specific direct hire authority (see below). 


Benefits of Using a Direct Hire Authority

  • Can be used to fill temporary, term, or permanent appointments unless otherwise noted in the individual authority. 
  • Expedited posting of vacancy announcement since a job analysis and vacancy questions are not needed.  Less paperwork to submit in the recruitment package.
  • The additional assessment required by E.O. 13932 does not apply.
  • Still have the option of customizing the specialized experience needed for qualifying for the position and can still use a subject-matter-expert to assist HR with making qualification determinations.
  • Can set application limits to help manage anticipated large applicant pools.
  • Applicants are not rated or ranked.    
  • Veterans' preference does not apply. 
  • All qualified candidates are referred and can be selected.


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.



Contact your servicing Human Resources Team


DOI-Specific Direct Hire Authorities

Direct Hire Authority for Information Technology Positions — In April 2019, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced a new direct hire appointing authority (DHA) for Information Technology (IT) positions available to agencies who meet the established criteria.  Based on a workforce analysis conducted, the Department of the Interior (DOI) determined that a critical hiring need in the GS-2210 IT occupation exists; therefore, supporting the implementation of this DHA. 

References: Personnel Bulletin 19-07, Direct Hire Authority for Information Technology Positions issued June 10, 2019.

Position Title Occupational Series Grade Levels
All Information Technology Specialist Positions GS-2210 GS-5 through 15

Information Specific to this DHA

  • Effective June 10, 2019 and remains in effect until rescinded or superseded.  
  • Applies to all 2210 positions in any geographic location at any grade level. 
  • Can only be used for appointments lasting more than 1 year but less than 4 years (i.e., term appointments); it cannot be used to fill permanent appointments.
  • Does not allow for conversion to a permanent appointment at the end of the term appointment.  
  • Appointments can be extended for up to 4 additional years (for a total of 8 years) if the DHA remains in effect.  Extensions must be requested through the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).  The Chief Human Capital Officer is the approval authority for all extensions beyond the initial 4-year limit.
  • Individuals hired under this direct hire authority cannot be assigned to any position outside of the 2210 occupational series and can only serve for a total of 8 years.


Government-Wide Direct Hire Authorities

Current Government-wide Authorities

Scientific, Technical, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) Occupations — This direct hire authority applies nationwide for the specific occupations/grade levels listed below.  This authority expires October 11, 2023.

Position Title Occupational Series Grade Levels
Economist GS-0110 GS-11 through 15
Biological Science GS-0401 GS-11 through 15
Fishery Biologist GS-0482 GS-11 through 15
General Engineer GS-0801 GS-11 through 15
Civil Engineer GS-0810 GS-11 through 15
Physical Sciences GS-1301, 1306, 1310, 1320 only GS-11 through 15
Actuary GS-1510 GS-11 through 15
Mathematics GS-1520 GS-11 through 15
Mathematical Statistician and Statistician GS-1529, 1530 GS-11 through 15
Acquisitions GS-1102 GS-11 through 15

Cybersecurity and Related Occupations—This direct hire authority applies nationwide for the specific occupations/grade levels listed below.  This authority may be used indefinitely or until terminated by OPM.

Position Title Occupational Series Grade Levels
Computer Engineers (Cybersecurity) GS-0854 GS-12 through 15
Computer Scientists (Cybersecurity) GS-1550 GS-12 through 15
Electronics Engineers (Cybersecurity) GS-0855 GS-12 through 15
IT Cybersecurity Specialist** GS-2210 GS-12 through 15

**These positions must require IT knowledge and IT competencies, the work must be coded to include cybersecurity functions as supported by the job codes in the Guide to Data Standards and the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, 2017, and the cybersecurity work must be performed the majority of the time.

Information Technology Management (Information Security and Cybersecurity)—This authority applies to the GS-2210-09 and above at all geographic locations.

Veterinary Medical Officer—Applies to 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—Applies to 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 —Applies to positions 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.


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