What is the Process to get Hired at the IRS?

A job at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) isn’t just a job. It’s a career. Like many federal agencies, the IRS offers long-term employment with ample opportunities for career advancement, competitive pay and an excellent benefits package. Landing a job at the IRS requires patience and persistence, but the rewards are worth the wait.

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Step 1: USAjobs.gov

The IRS hires exclusively through the USAJOBS website. Applicants can search job openings by location and keyword as well as upload resumes and transcripts. Veterans and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers should clearly document their service to receive special consideration. It’s important for applicants to tailor their resume to each job opening. The IRS receives hundreds of applicants for each position, and the only way to move on to the next step of getting hired by the IRS is to have a strong resume. Initial applications received from USAJOBS are screened by human resources employees who use a checklist to ensure applicants have the necessary skills and education for the position. Then, applicants are ranked based on how well they meet the requirements for the job. The top applicants are invited to interview with the IRS.

Step 2: Interview

Because the IRS offers so many different positions, from Customer Service Representative to Staff Attorney to Accountant, the interview process is not standardized. For example, contact centers that answer questions from the general public might have applicants take mock phone calls or solve problems based on real-life customer questions, while attorney applicants might write a sample legal brief or review contracts for inconsistencies. In all cases, applicants should prepare in advance by researching potential IRS interview questions and practicing answers to each question.

Step 3: e-QIP and Fingerprinting

All federal employees must pass a detailed background check, called e-QIP, that includes questions on financial debt, drug usage and job history. Working for the IRS provides access to sensitive information on a daily basis, so applicants must demonstrate trustworthiness, respect for the law and financial stability. Although marijuana is legal in many states, it is still illegal federally, and federal employees can be fired for using marijuana products, according to NBC Washington. If applicants cannot obtain a public trust clearance, the IRS cannot move forward with the application.

Step 4: Conditional Offer

After passing a resume screening, interview and background check, applicants receive a conditional job offer. This offer includes starting pay, the proposed entry-on-duty date, information on vacation time and a short job description. It’s possible to negotiate these terms, particularly the entry-on-duty date, but the agency uses strict guidelines to determine starting pay rates. Because IRS jobs are so competitive, it’s unlikely for candidates to successfully negotiate an increase in salary; there are likely five more candidates who would be willing to accept the position at the offered rate of pay.

The IRS offers a number of employment opportunities for students, including seasonal jobs and the Pathway Program. Anyone planning a career in the Internal Revenue Service can take advantage of these short-term job opportunities to increase the chances of a long-term career with the agency.

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