322 Announcement and Application Process

322.1 Competitive Nature of Entrance Examinations

Postal Service entrance examinations are competitive examinations. Registers of eligibles are established in descending order of entrance examination scores attained by the applicants with additional points added for claimed veterans’ preference. Such examinations may be a written or rated application or a combination of both types. Entrance examinations may also be associated with a performance test.

322.2 Procedure for Opening Examinations

The following are guidelines for opening examinations.

322.21 Announcing Examinations

Postal entrance examinations are announced when necessary to meet Postal Service staffing needs. After the Human Resources manager approves the reopening of an examination, the examination center obtains the necessary announcement materials from NTAC. The manager of Human Resources or designee must alert appropriate Diversity staff to give them a lead time for affirmative employment efforts. Whenever possible, this notification should be made at least 60 days in advance of the examination opening. An examination is announced for all postal installations served by the register.

322.22 Announcement Period

The EA is responsible for ensuring that announcements are posted in appropriate locations and that a recruitment campaign is launched to attract qualified candidates. Examination announcements must be open for a minimum of 5 working days. Opening and closing dates must not fall on a federal holiday.

Examination center personnel must fill out the required information on the announcement. The examination center then duplicates and posts the announcement in postal installations for recruiting applicants and in nonpostal locations.

The announcements must be strategically placed for generating widespread publicity where recruitment will be conducted. Announcements should be posted in the following places:

  1. On public and employee bulletin boards in Post Offices and in installations covered by the announcement.
  2. On public bulletin boards in Post Offices accepting applications.
  3. On public bulletin boards in local, federal, state, and municipal buildings, as appropriate.
  4. At a federal job information center in the local area or in the state employment office.
  5. On public bulletin boards in areas where announcements would attract attention from potential qualified applicants.

Examination personnel must provide notice to the following groups:

  1. Community service organizations.
  2. Veterans’ organizations.
  3. Colleges and universities.
  4. Community newspapers.
  5. Women’s and minority associations.

Persons may apply during the period the examination is open, if they meet the qualifications stated in the examination announcement. For age and citizenship eligibility, applicants do not have to meet these requirements at the time of application if they will become eligible during the time their ratings are on the register (see 322.5, Eligibility for Examinations).

322.3 Authorization to Administer Examinations

Human Resources managers who are responsible for maintaining registers are also responsible for announcing or reopening examinations in time to permit replenishment of registers to meet hiring needs.

322.4 Processing Applications

The following guidelines are for processing applications in response to an open announcement.

322.41 Where to Apply

Individuals interested in taking the examination must apply according to the instructions provided on the examination announcement.

322.42 Accepting Applications

Examination announcement instructions include a contact telephone number and location (usually the examination center) for referring people with other–than–routine questions.

Applications are not accepted before the opening date or after the closing date of an examination announcement.

322.43 Canceling Multiple Applications

An applicant may submit only 1 application during the open announcement period. The examination administrator must cancel any additional applications submitted or ratings received as a result of multiple applications.

322.5 Eligibility for Examinations

Entrance employment examinations are the primary method for citizens and noncitizens having permanent resident alien status to be considered for Postal Service employment. The following examination eligibility information concerns applicants not yet age 18 or who are temporary resident aliens.

322.51 Applicants Not Yet Age 18

Applicants who are less than 18 years of age, who are not high school graduates, and who have not terminated formal education, may participate in the examination if they will reach age 18 during the time their eligibility is active on the register.

322.52 Applicants Likely to Gain Permanent Resident Status During the Period of Eligibility

Applicants who are temporary resident aliens may compete in an examination if they are likely to gain permanent status within their eligibility period.

322.6 Participation of Career Postal Employees

Career postal employees may apply for open entrance examinations. Employees take entrance exams at the location specified by the examination center that serves the installations for which the examination is opened.

322.7 Delayed and Reopened Examinations

Several exceptions apply to the general rule (see 322.42, Accepting Applications) prohibiting acceptance of late applications in response to entrance examination announcements. The following exceptions to the prohibition of late applications are allowed even though examinations are closed:

  1. Valid delayed applications.
  2. Applications from individuals entitled to 10–point veterans’ preference.
322.71 Delayed Application

This section contains special conditions that allow for the acceptance of applications on a delayed basis due to military service and other situations. Except for applicants entitled to 10 point veterans’ preference, applicants or temporary employees are allowed to take an entrance examination when it is not open to the general public only under circumstances described in this section. To take an examination under one of these authorities, the applicant or temporary employee must meet all the requirements for that authority.

Special Note: Certain examinations are used to fill positions restricted to applicants who are entitled to veterans’ preference (see 232.52). Only applicants entitled to veterans’ preference can file a delayed application for these examinations.

322.711 Persons Unable to Apply During an Open Examination Because of Military Service
  1. Persons on Active Military Duty — Persons who were unable to file while an examination was open because of active military service or because of hospitalization continuing for not more than 1 year following discharge from military service, may file a delayed application if all of the following conditions are met:
    1. The application is filed within 120 days after discharge from the military or the hospital.
    2. Active applicants still exist from the missed examination.
    3. The applicant was discharged under honorable conditions.
  2. Persons Filing Early Applications Before Military Discharge — A person who is currently serving in the Armed Forces may file an application before discharge from active duty for any examination that was open while he or she was in the military. Such a person may file within 120 days before discharge under honorable conditions.
  3. Federal Employee Reservists Filing Applications While on Active Duty — An application will be accepted from a member of a reserve unit of the Armed Forces who is a federal employee and who was unable to file an application or appear for the written test because of active duty (even if designated for training purposes). Acceptance of the application is subject to the following conditions:
    1. The active duty must have been for a period of more than 15 days.
    2. The examination for which the applicant wishes to file must have been open to the public anytime during the period of active duty.
    3. The examination ratings that resulted from the examination are still active.
    4. The applicant may file the application while on active duty, but must file no later than 120 days after release from such duty.
322.712 Postmaster Relief/Leave Replacement

Postmaster Relief/Leave Replacements (PMR/LRs) may take two competitive entrance examinations on a delayed basis for entrance registers in the district where they work as a PMR/LR. They cannot take an examination under this authority for the same register more than once. To be eligible, PMR/LRs must be currently employed and have been a PMR/LR continuously for at least 1 year in their present period of employment. Service as a temporary postmaster or officer in charge (OIC) is counted the same as PMR/LR employment for the purpose of eligibility for the two competitive entrance examination opportunities. PMR/LR employees are limited to a maximum of two opportunities regardless of any separate employment periods they may have had in past or will have in the future. Once PMR/LRs use their two examination opportunities, they cannot request additional administrations under this authority.

322.713 Casual Employees

Casuals may take two competitive entrance examinations on a delayed basis for entrance registers in the district where they work as a casual. They cannot take an examination under this authority for the same register more than once. To be eligible, casuals must have completed a minimum of 180 days of employment as a casual and continue to be actively employed as a casual on the date of application. The 180–day minimum service does not have to be continuous, but it must have occurred during the 2–year period before the date of application. Casual employees are limited to a maximum of two entrance examination opportunities. Once casuals use their two examination opportunities, they cannot request additional administrations under this authority.

322.714 APWU Transitional Employees

A transitional employee (TE) represented by the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) may take two competitive entrance examinations for positions represented by the APWU on a delayed basis for entrance registers that serve the installation where the TE is currently employed. An eligible TE can take two different entrance examinations or the same entrance examination twice. An APWU TE is allowed to take an examination only for APWU– represented positions and may be considered only for such positions under this authority. To be eligible, a TE must have completed a minimum of 180 days of employment as an APWU TE and continue to be actively employed as such on the date of application. Once APWU TEs use their two examination opportunities, they cannot request additional administrations under this authority.

322.715 NALC Transitional Employees

A TE represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) may take one competitive entrance examination on a delayed basis for the carrier entrance register that serves the installation where he or she is currently employed. A NALC TE is allowed to take an examination only for carrier and be considered only for a carrier position under this authority. To be eligible, a TE must have completed a minimum of 180 days of employment as a TE and continue to be actively employed as such on the date of application. Once NALC TEs use their one examination opportunity, they cannot request an additional administration under this authority.

322.72 Reopened Application

Persons entitled to 10–point veteran preference (XP, CP, or CPS) may file at any time to reopen any entrance examination, provided that at least one of the following conditions is met:

  1. There are active applicants on the register for which the application is submitted.
  2. A career appointment from the register has been made within the 3–year period preceding the date the application is filed.
322.73 Verifying Entitlement

Examination personnel verify the entitlement documents, determine the limitations on filing, and schedule the examinations.

322.731 Accepting and Determining Eligibility

The human resources office issues application instructions and the applicant must apply according to these instructions. When a designated official receives the application, he or she determines whether or not the applicant is eligible for delayed and reopened filing.

322.732 Presenting Proof of Entitlement

The applicant must present proof of entitlement to the official designated by the district before the applicant is scheduled for the examination. Entitlement to veterans’ preference is not a requirement for eligibility to file a delayed application.

322.74 Limitations on Filing

A 10–point veteran may reopen (file a reopened application) an examination only once for any examination register. A CPS, CP, or XP preference eligible qualifying under both reopened and delayed may take the examination for the same register only once (i.e., the individual may not use a reopened filing in concert with a delayed filing to take the same examination twice). Where an area eligibility register (AER) or mega register is in use, the examination may be reopened only once, not once for each installation served by the register.

322.75 Scheduling for Examination

Examination personnel must test applicants who are taking delayed and reopened examinations no later than the end of the calendar quarter following the quarter in which the application was received. For example, for a qualified delayed application received on February 24, which is in the first calendar quarter (January 1–March 31), the applicant must be tested by June 30, which is the end of the second calendar quarter.