The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of the United States of America is a wing of the US federal government responsible for the nation’s public security. It is headquartered in Washington DC and was founded by George Bush in 2002. DHS offers multiple unique opportunities which are rewarding to one’s talents and skills. The prime objective of a role at the DHS would entail securing the nation’s borders, waterways, and seaports. There is also a great scope for the research and development of modern security technologies, which will help quickly respond to acts of natural calamity. Let’s know How to Get a Job at Homeland Security?
The general method of obtaining a job at the DHS would be first to visit their website, “dhs.gov,” where all the resources required to find a job will be available. Upon deciding the job which you want, you have to visit “dhs.usajobs.gov”. Post application, you must await the job announcement, which will inform you about job qualifications, duties, salary, duty location, benefits, and security requirements. You must then apply for the desired job, and the most qualified candidates will be selected for the interview, through which the best candidates shall be provided the job offer. This article shall give a detailed step-by-step process.
Categories for Job Opportunities
- Mission Support- all jobs that support the department’s primary objective fall under this category: human resources, budget, facilities, medical, science and technology, intelligence, training, civil rights, detection, fraud detection, training, procurement, and other support related jobs.
- Law Enforcement- as the phrase suggests, the jobs available in this sector will directly be involved in enforcing the laws. Positions such as protection of the President, the Vice President, both their families and the safety of other heads of the state are some jobs available under law enforcement. Enforcement of immigration laws, economic, transportation, and infrastructure security are also a few different jobs available.
- Immigration and Travel Security- jobs related to the protection of the country’s transport systems and overseeing lawful immigration to the nation also come under the purview of the DHS.
- Prevention and Response Team- these jobs involve the protection of the public, the general environment, and the economic and security interests of the United States in any maritime region. The main goal is to provide protection, preparedness, recovery, response, and mitigation to reduce loss of life and property.
Upon submission of applications, there is an extensive review process. Essential eligibility criteria have to be met for every profession, and Human Resource experts vet this. The applicants are then rated based on their additional qualifications provided for in the job announcement. The best-rated applications are forwarded to the hiring manager, who is responsible for making the final call. It must thus be kept in mind that after the job announcement closes, an applicant must make sure that they at least fulfill the minimum requirements.
After deciding the desired job, you must click on the “how to apply” section of that particular job’s announcement and familiarize yourself with the job’s requirements. You must then click “apply” to begin the application process. A five-step application process will commence with all the required information needing to be filled in. The five steps are as follows:
- Select Resume
- Select Documents
- Review Package
- Personal Information
- Continuation of Application Process
The process gets saved as you fill in the information.
The reviewing process gets initiated after the closing of the job announcement. Every applicant shall be categorized into two segments:
- Minimally Qualified
- Highest Qualified
As mentioned earlier, only the applicants who are cut to the “highest qualified” category will stand a chance to be selected by the hiring officer. Once the “highest qualified” applications reach the hiring officer, an interview is conducted either in-person or by telephone. Rare cases exist where an applicant is directly selected for the job solely based on the information in your application. The Federal Civil Service Laws are subjected to the selection procedure to ensure that applicants are not mistreated and provide equal treatment to all people. The interview round tests the applicants on various competencies such as leadership positions, performance and result management, team building, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, oratory communication, etc. the interviewers may also ask multiple scenario-based questions.
Requirements for a Job at the DHS
According to John Terpinas, professor at the Homeland Security program and a 21-year FBI veteran, “Homeland Security Organisations are looking more for the right people than the right skills.” The search for the right person rather than the right skills is because the agency’s needs may vary tremendously based on the job requirement. The agency’s ability to find the right people get limited if specific conditions are set for technical skills. There are three skills that a person must possess to get a job at the DHS:
- A Sense of Duty- a desire to be a part of something bigger than oneself is an essential prerequisite for a job at the DHS. Degrees and PHDs are something that many people will have, so to stand out in the selection process, an applicant needs to have the mindset to keep their community and country safe. This sense of duty is especially taken note of in the interview process.
- Leadership- the development of strong leadership skills is another thing that is looked out for. The DHS search for people who are proactive and take up responsibility and leadership positions. Whatever field you apply in, leadership is of prime importance to not just the DHS but most employers. However, the more important thing is to know when to lead. There will be days when the employee must take the initiative to lead, when you must be a team player, and when you must work independently. Choosing when to take up responsibility is essential.
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving- when an employee of the DHS is working independently, the capacity to think on one’s feet and solve problems is required. People who need little to no supervision are preferred. You must be able to find answers to challenging questions and issues by yourself. For example, suppose a driver is experiencing a flat tire quite often; rather than simply changing the tire and repeatedly facing the problem, he must understand what is causing the flat tire so that it will stop happening altogether. Applicants should take a similar approach to tackle challenging questions and problems.
Apart from these core aspects, other technical requirements need to be fulfilled too, and that can be categorized in the following manner:
- Eligibility- each job has particular eligibility criteria which need to be met by every applicant. If the specific eligibility criteria are not met, the application immediately gets discarded. Some jobs might be available only to US citizens, while others may be open to current or former federal employees. Field agents have to meet physical fitness requirements or even age limits. Sometimes, convicted felons, loan defaulters, or tax defaulters may automatically be ineligible to apply for a job. For such conditions to be met, the DHS may conduct drug tests or background checks.
- Qualifications- once a person becomes eligible, the next step is to see if they have the necessary qualification to meet the job description. A person’s qualification could be their educational qualifications, their work experience, or sometimes even their knowledge of the particular field. Hiring paths have been mapped out by the Federal Government to assist applicants in understanding which roles they are eligible to apply for. Some qualifications may be highly niche and specific to fit the job description. It must thus be kept in mind that a person should strive for excellence to become qualified for a job at the DHS.
An added advantage for veterans is that the DHS gives them special consideration during selection for a job. Apart from veterans, their family members and active service members are given the same special consideration. The DHS looks at the experience of these veterans and service members as valuable assets to their cause. The department believes that by hiring veterans, service members, and their families, the sets, as mentioned earlier, of people honor their sacred oath to protect and serve the nation. These members often operate in a variety of positions such as transportation security officers, border patrol agents, investigators, and in different other support roles.
Two Types of Service Positions
Non-executive positions with the DHS are of two types:
- Competitive Service– such positions are subject to the laws passed by Congress, which help foster open and fair competition and equitable recruitment from every segment of society. Merit-based selection takes precedence over other factors for a job in competitive service. A distinctive feature of competitive service is that applicants must enter a competitive hiring process involving competitive examination. Competitive examining can be of many types; a written test, evaluation of the applicant’s education and/or experience, or an interview.
- Expected Service– these jobs and roles are pre-defined by statutes or by other executive authorities. The rules governing regulating competitive service do not apply to these sets of jobs.
The Transportation Security Administration is the only segment of the DHS which has only expected service positions and not competitive service positions.
Job Opportunity Announcement (JOA) Structure
The basic structure of all Job Opportunity Announcements is the same even though they may differ in style, wording or order. If this following structure is understood, the fundamental facts to be imbibed from the JOA can be easily understood:
- Basic Information- details such as the position name, announcement number, location of duty, and the grade are categorized as “basic information”. More often than not, the contact person is provided at the end of the announcement, along with their contact details.
- Who May Apply- currently serving federal employees, reinstate former employees, service employees, veterans are all eligible to apply and be given special consideration. Over and above that, the general public is eligible to apply for the same.
The Department of Homeland Security employs a massive number of people for a large number of jobs. Through this comprehensive article, you can understand the process and take tips to apply for your desired job. As mentioned in the article, the DHS website is an ideal starting point for the application process and to get a good understanding of all the requirements, eligibility, and application process to get a job at the Department of Homeland Security. The three significant requirements must always be considered before submitting an application and appearing for an interview. The department exists ultimately to serve the people of America in the best way possible.
The sense of duty thus happens to be one of the most essential prerequisites in the whole application process. Desired application candidates should work not just on their skills but also their adaptability, leadership qualities, and oratory skills. The department looks to hire the right candidate who is capable of handling the role to its best. The incapability of meeting the job requirements would result in quick dismissal, and applicants must thus be hardworking and determined individuals. I wish everyone applying very good luck and success in their future endeavors.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and where is it headquartered?
The Department of Homeland Security is is a wing of the US federal government responsible for the nation’s public security. It is headquartered in Washington DC.
- What are the categories where job opportunities exist under the Department of Homeland Security?
There are four categories under which a person can get a job under the DHS, namely, missions support, law enforcement, immigration and travel security, and the prevention and response team.
- What are the core traits that are required to be eligible for a job at the DHS?
Three main traits are looked for in a person: a sense of duty, leadership, critical thinking, and problem-solving ability.
- What are the non-executive positions available under the Department of Homeland Security?
There are two types of non-executive positions, which are competitive service and expected service.