512 Screening Process Philosophy

Suitability screening identifies applicants who possess the necessary skills, abilities, and qualifications to perform specific jobs in the Postal Service. Conversely, the screening process is designed to disqualify ineligible or unsuitable applicants.

Proper execution of the screening process will identify applicants who meet suitability requirements, and give officials valuable information for use in considering applicants for employment.

512.1 Personal Qualifications

In addition to possessing the required skills and abilities, potential employees must have personal qualifications consistent with the characteristics in sections 512.11 through 512.14

512.11 Conscientiousness

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Consistently follow attendance rules, regulations, and procedures.
  2. Demonstrate personal discipline.
  3. Complete work assignments with appropriate levels of supervision.
  4. Perform the essential duties of their positions competently and effectively.
  5. Behave ethically, honestly, and openly with supervisors and coworkers.
  6. Admit work–related mistakes without blaming others.
  7. Be trustworthy with mail, money, and organizational property.
512.12 Adaptability

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Adapt well to technological, supervisory, and organizational changes.
  2. Respond and react constructively to stress, setbacks, or frustrations related to change.
  3. Accept and complete new or changed assignments.
512.13 Cooperation

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Cooperate and work well with others in the organization.
  2. Contribute to positive work relations and avoid unnecessary conflict.
  3. Assist coworkers and customers courteously and without complaint.
512.14 Communication

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Receive and transmit information effectively as required by the job.
  2. Understand instructions adequately for safe and effective job performance.

512.2 Sequence of Screening Activities

Overall suitability must be determined prior to consideration and selection. The sequence of suitability activities in 512.21 and 512.22 is designed to conserve time and hasten the process of screening. An overview of the rest of suitability screening is in 512.23 through 512.26.

512.21 Preemployment Orientation

The objective of preemployment orientation is to provide those applicants whose standing on the register is such that they will be considered for employment within a reasonable period of time, an opportunity to become more familiar with the jobs for which they could receive future consideration. At the end of the session, applicants who remain interested in employment will be asked to turn in a completed Form 2591, Application for Employment, and possibly other documents so that screening (prescreening) can begin. Applicants are scheduled for a preemployment orientation session consisting of, but not limited to, the following activities:

  1. Tour of the job site.
  2. Explanation of pay, benefits, terms of employment, job expectations, probationary/evaluation period, and training requirements that must be met to be retained.
  3. Overview of screening requirements.
  4. Explanation of corporate values.
  5. Showing of realistic job preview videos, as appropriate, to enhance applicants’ understanding of the positions to be filled externally.
  6. Collecting Form 2591, Application for Employment, and SF 15, Claim for 10–Point Veteran Preference.
  7. Collecting copies of DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, letters or certificates from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and statements or retirement orders issued by branches of the Armed Forces.
512.22 Prescreening

Establish a preemployment investigation file for each applicant who attended preemployment orientation, remains interested in postal jobs, and is likely to be considered. This file is the repository for all documents collected at the preemployment orientation, information obtained during suitability screening, and investigative results recorded on the Interview Sheet and Checklist (Exhibit 512.22, page 1 only) that remains with the file. Initial this checklist at each stage of the screening process. Records that are kept in the preemployment investigation files are described below and are retained for 5 years and then sent to the Federal Records Center for another 5 years (see ASM, Privacy Act System of Records, USPS 120.110 for details):

  1. Form 2591, Application for Employment, including supplemental application forms and any statements from applicants adding to original applications.
  2. Form 2181–A, Preemployment Screening — Authorization and Release.
  3. Certificates from local school authorities stating that applicants under age 18 who desire employment consideration have terminated their formal education for adequate reasons.
  4. Correspondence and statements relating to applicants having postal relatives.
  5. Documents relating to claims for veterans’ preference including SF 15, Claim for 10–Point Veteran Preference, letters or certificates from the Department of Veterans Affairs and statements or retirement orders issued by service branches.
  6. Copies of DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, and other military records used in adjudicating veteran’s preference and determining applicants’ suitability for military service history.
  7. Police records (state, county, and local) and correspondence to and from police departments.
  8. Driving abstracts from state departments of motor vehicles.
  9. Form 2480, Driving Record — For Positions That Require Driving, and Review of Driver’s License.
  10. Results of automotive mechanic bench test, qualification review panel evaluation, typing test, or other requirement.
  11. Drug Screening — Personnel Notification Form.
  12. Form 61, Appointment Affidavit.
  13. eMap medical assessment determination.
  14. Interview Checklist and Manager Certification.
  15. Form 86C, Update Special Agreement Checks, with inquiries and results provided by Office of Personnel Management (see 574, Special Agency Check).

Exhibit 512.22 

Interview Sheet and Checklist (page 1 only)

Interview sheet and checklist form


Exhibit 512.221

Pre–Employment Screening — Authorization and Release

Pre-employment screening form

512.221 Authorization and Release

Make no inquiry regarding the applicant without having a completed copy of Form 2181–A, Preemployment Screening — Authorization and Release (see Exhibit 512.221). Failure of an applicant to complete Form 2181–A may result in the appointing official being unable to make a suitability determination.

512.222 Applicant Identification

An applicant who reports to an entrance examination without positive ID must provide a signature on the admission document for comparison with the signature on Form 2591 and on Form 61, Appointment Affidavit. If the signatures are obviously different, the selecting official or designee must report this to the district Human Resources manager, who notifies the Inspection Service.

512.223 Adjudicating Veterans’ Preference

It is of the utmost importance to verify veterans’ preference claims early in the process, to ensure that the claimants are entitled to potential consideration. Failure to verify claims could delay hiring, increase costs, and unnecessarily raise the expectations of applicants.

512.224 Reviewing the Employment Application

Applicants’ Form 2591 and all other forms must be reviewed carefully for omissions, false statements, unaccounted periods, and poor employment records. Each application must bear the applicant’s signature and must contain satisfactory answers to the items on the form. Human resources personnel or a certified interviewer notes the results of the review on the interview checklist.

512.225 Initiating Inquiries

Hiring officials obtain official personnel folders (OPFs) if an applicant has prior postal or other federal service. Human resources personnel perform local criminal record checks for all applicants. Human resources requests driving records and Department of Veterans Affairs records as appropriate. If an applicant who served on active duty in the Armed Forces received a character of service rating other than honorable, then the official at the preemployment session must obtain at the end of the session the applicant’s statement about why the discharge was not honorable. Otherwise, human resources personnel contact the applicant in writing (see Sample Letter A–2 in Appendix A). Inquiries are then sent to the military for an explanation of why an honorable discharge was not given.

512.226 Applicants for Positions That Require a Commercial Driver’s License

As a condition of postal employment, information must be obtained on these applicants’ positive alcohol or drug tests and refusals to be tested within the prior two years. The local personnel office will issue a release of information form to the applicant for signature. This form is sent to the previous employer and returned to the medical review officer. Only applicants who have been determined as drug–free are eligible for selection consideration. If the applicant refuses to sign the release or the previous employers refuse to release the information, the hiring process should be aborted due to insufficient information. See Management Instruction PO–720–95–2, Alcohol and Drug Testing of Employees With a Commercial Driver’s License, September 29, 1995.

512.227 Reviewing Replies

Human resources personnel review responses to the inquiries listed above as they are received.

512.228 Initiating Qualifying Tests

Applicants for jobs that have performance test requirements are scheduled for the performance examinations. Similarly, where a qualification review panel evaluation is required, applicants are sent appropriate supplemental forms for their completion to be evaluated by a review panel. Applicants who qualify on the performance test or other requirement are scheduled for the urinalysis drug test.

512.229 Evaluating and Determining Applicant Suitability

Selecting officials or designees evaluate and determine applicants’ overall or personal suitability for Postal Service employment by taking into account, but not limiting themselves to, the following factors:

  1. Prior employment history.
  2. Military service.
  3. Criminal conviction history.

Selecting officials also make determinations regarding eligibility factors such as the following:

  1. Minimum age.
  2. Selective Service System status (if required).
  3. Driving history (if required).

Human Resources inactivates applicants found unsuitable or ineligible for employment and notifies these applicants in a letter of this decision. Applicants who are unsuitable are also told that they may request reconsideration. Applicants who are ineligible because they did not register with the Selective Service System or do not meet safe driving requirements (if driving is required) are informed that they may request reconsideration. If an unsuitable or ineligible decision is reversed after a review of a request for reconsideration, the applicant is reactivated.

512.23 Interview

The interview is an essential element in the screening process and its purpose is to predict the likely job performance of the applicant if selected. The interview process contains three components:

  1. Informing the applicant of job and organizational information needed to make an informed decision about potential Postal Service employment and to make a good job placement.
  2. Verifying existing information.
  3. Collecting additional job–relevant information to ensure the applicant is eligible and suitable for Postal Service employment.
512.24 Selection and Extension of Job Offer

The object of the selection process is to select the best qualified applicant for each vacancy and make a job offer. For selections from an entrance register, the rule of three requires that each vacancy be filled by selection of one of the three highest ranking applicants on the appropriate list, provided that a preference–eligible applicant is not passed over in order to select a lower ranking nonpreference eligible (see 61, Selection Preparations and 62, Selection Procedures).

If fewer than three applicants are on the list, a selection may still be made at the option of the appointing official, observing the same restriction on passing over a preference eligible. Applicants who have been disqualified are not included among applicants to be considered (see 522, Deciding Eligibility and Suitability). Prior to a medical assessment, a bona fide job offer must be given to the applicant. This is a requirement of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits a federal employer from asking orally or in writing about the applicant’s physical fitness for the position before making the job offer (see Appendix E, paragraph d. Rehabilitation Act of 1973).

512.25 Post–Job Offer Activities

In addition to the medical assessment, post–job offer activities include the following tasks:

  1. Verification of employment eligibility using OMB Form I–9, Employment Eligibility Verification.
  2. Initiation of Special Agency Checks (SACs).
  3. Review of Form 61, Appointment Affidavit, to ensure its completion.
  4. Administration of the oath of office.
  5. Review of official personnel folders (OPFs) from prior Postal Service or other agency employment, if they had not been available before appointment due to current employment.
  6. Review of job expectations with the new employee (career or noncareer) using Form 1750, Employee Evaluation and/or Probationary Report, and the probationary period or first ninety days of employment (noncareer) evaluation process.
512.26 Components

Components of the suitability process listed below are covered in the sections indicated:



512.27 Veterans’ Preference Adjudication
512.271 Policy of Early Verification

To promote efficient processing of employment applications, veterans’ preference is adjudicated at the very beginning of the screening process.

512.272 Documents Review

Adjudication of preference requires a review and comparison of forms collected at preemployment orientation, including the following:

  1. Form 2591, Application for Employment.
  2. DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
  3. SF 15, Claim for 10–Point Veteran Preference.
  4. Letters or certificates from the Department of Veterans Affairs and statements or retirement orders issued by a branch of the Armed Forces.
512.273 Verification of Entitlement to Preference Claimed

Veterans’ preference claimed is added to ratings by NTAC, or locally. Entitlement to and proof of preference are outlined in 48, Veterans’ Preference.