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 do the following:

  1. Identify applicants who meet suitability requirements; and
  2. 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. Courteously help coworkers and customers 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

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 other screening activities is in 512.23 through 512.26. Nothing in this section should be interpreted to prevent the Postal Service from taking action based on false information given during the screening process.

512.21 Preemployment Orientation

The objective of preemployment orientation is to provide those applicants whose standing on the pre-hire list is such that they will be considered for employment within a reasonable time an opportunity to become more familiar with the jobs for which they could receive future consideration. 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 copies of the following documents:
    1. SF 15, Claim for 10-Point Veteran Preference.
    2. DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
    3. Letters or certificates from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
    4. Statements or retirement orders issued by branches of the Armed Forces.
512.22 Prescreening

The responsible hiring officials will establish a preemployment investigation file for each applicant who meets all of the following items:

  1. Attends preemployment orientation;
  2. Remains interested in postal jobs; and
  3. Is likely to be considered.

The preemployment investigative 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, pages 1 and 2). The hiring officials will complete and sign the Post-Offer Checklist (Exhibit 512.22, page 3). Records that are kept in the preemployment investigation files are described below and are retained for five years and then sent to the Federal Records Center for another five years (see Handbook AS-353, Appendix. E, USPS 100.100 for details):

  1. Correspondence and statements relating to applicants having relatives that are Postal Service employees.
  2. Documents relating to claims for veterans’ preference including:
    1. SF 15, Claim for 10-Point Veteran Preference;
    2. Letters or certificates from the Department of Veterans Affairs; and
    3. Statements or retirement orders issued by military service branches.
  3. 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.
  4. Interview Sheet (Exhibit 512.22, page 1 for bargaining unit hiring) or notes.
  5. Interview Checklist (Exhibit 512.22, page 2).
  6. Post-Offer Checklist (Exhibit 512.22, page 3).

The following records are collected, reviewed, and stored electronically:

  1. PS Form 2591, Application for Employment, including supplemental application forms and any statements from applicants adding to original applications.
  2. PS Form 2181-A, Preemployment Screening — Authorization and Release.
  3. PS Form 2181-B, Applicant Drug Testing — Consent and Release.
  4. PS Form 2181-D, Disclosure and Release for Consumer Reports and Investigative Consumer Report.
  5. Police records (state, county, and local) and correspondence to and from police departments.
  6. Driving abstracts from state departments of motor vehicles.
  7. Results of automotive mechanic bench test, qualification review panel evaluation, typing test, or other requirements.

Exhibit 512.22 

Interview Sheet and Checklist and Post-Offer Checklist (page 1 of 3)

APPLICANT NAME: _____________________________________________ REQUISITION/NB #:____________________




Application Review:
Discuss/Verify during Interview

Interview Notes

Work Setting and Job Content















Customer Service



Selective Service (Males only)

Signed Up Yes No\uF0E0

Reason –

Work History

Discussed Yes No


Photo ID match to PS Form 2591

Yes No


Valid Driver’s License

Yes No


Exhibit 512.22 

Interview Sheet and Checklist and Post-Offer Checklist (page 2 of 3)

APPLICANT NAME: _____________________________________________ REQUISITION/NB #:____________________


Interview Result:

Reason Not

Reason Not Eligible/Suitable:

Applicant requested Accommodation:

Federal Employment:

(Print Name)

___________________________________________________________ ____________________________

(Sign Name) (Date)

Exhibit 512.22 

Interview Sheet and Checklist and Post-Offer Checklist (page 3 of 3)

APPLICANT NAME: _____________________________________________________ EOD Date: ____________________


(Print Name)

____________________________________________________ __________________________
(Sign Name) (Date)

512.221 Authorization and Release

Hiring officials should make no inquiry regarding the applicant without having the applicant complete the following:

  1. PS Form 2181-A, Preemployment Screening — Authorization and Release;
  2. PS Form 2181-B, Applicant Drug Testing — Consent and Release; and
  3. PS Form 2181-D, Disclosure and Release for Consumer Reports and Investigative Consumer Report.

PS Forms 2181-A and 2181-D are collected electronically in connection with preemployment screening requests for motor vehicle abstracts, and criminal background checks, and PS Form 2181-B is collected electronically for drug testing. Completed hard copies of PS Forms 2181-A, 2181-B, and 2181-D are required for any screenings performed outside of the applicant tracking system (i.e., military records requests, noncompetitive hiring, etc.). If the applicant fails to complete PS Form 2181-A, 2181-B, or 2181-D, then the hiring official may be unable to make a suitability determination.

512.222 Applicant Identification

No applicant will be admitted to an entrance examination without photo ID. The ID must be:

  1. Original;
  2. Current;
  3. Legible;
  4. Issued by the federal or a state government; and
  5. One of the following:
    1. Driver License.
    2. U.S. State-Issued ID Card.
    3. U.S. Passport.
    4. U.S. Military ID.
    5. U.S. Resident Card/Green Card.
    6. U.S. Employment Authorization Card or Document.
    7. U.S. Government-Issued Visa.
    8. U.S. Territory ID (Puerto Rico, Guam, etc.).
    9. Postal Service employee ID.
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. The HR Shared Service Center is responsible for the adjudication of veterans’ preference. Failure to verify claims could delay hiring, increase costs, and unnecessarily raise the expectations of applicants.

512.224 Reviewing the Employment Application

The hiring official must carefully review the applicants’ PS Form 2591 and all other forms for the following:

  1. Omissions;
  2. False statements;
  3. Unaccounted periods; and
  4. 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 (see Exhibit 512.22, page 2).

512.225 Initiating Inquiries

HR Shared Service Center will:

  1. Obtain official personnel folders (OPFs) if an applicant has prior Postal Service or other federal service.
  2. Perform county criminal record checks for all applicants after extension of a job offer.
  3. Requests 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 HR Shared Service Center will obtain the applicant’s statement about why the discharge was not honorable. 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 Service employment, information must be obtained on these applicants’ positive alcohol or drug tests and refusals to be tested within the prior two years. The HR Shared Service Center 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 conditional job offer should be rescinded for insufficient information. See Management Instruction PO–720–2010–1, Alcohol and Drug Testing of Employees With a Commercial Driver’s License, December 5, 2009.

512.227 Reviewing Replies

HR Shared Service Center will 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.

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 (see 514.1).
  2. Military service (see 514.2).
  3. Criminal conviction history (see 514.3).

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

  1. Minimum age (see 513.2).
  2. Selective Service System status (if required) (see 515).
  3. Driving history (if required) (see 516).

HR Shared Service Center rejects applicants found unsuitable or ineligible for employment and notifies these applicants in a letter of this decision. Applicants who are unsuitable are informed that they may request reconsideration. Applicants who are ineligible because they do not meet safe driving requirements (if driving is required) are provided a copy of the motor vehicle record and information necessary to file a dispute, if desired, of the record. 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. 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 applicant (see 61, Selection Preparations and 62, Selection Procedures).

If fewer than three applicants are on the list, the hiring official may still select an applicant observing the same restriction on passing over a preference-eligible applicant. Applicants who have been disqualified are not included among the applicants to be considered (see 522, Deciding Eligibility and Suitability). To comply with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the applicant must have a bona fide job offer before participating in the medical assessment. The requirements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 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).

When the applicant received a bona fide job offer, he or she will be asked about his or her criminal history. He or she will also be asked to authorize a criminal background check. No such check will be obtained until the applicant has completed the necessary authorization and release documents. See 512.221.

512.25 Post–Job Offer Activities

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

  1. Verifying of employment eligibility using OMB Form I–9, Employment Eligibility Verification.
  2. Initiating National Agency Checks with Inquiries (NACIs) or the appropriate background investigation for the position.
  3. Reviewing of PS Form 61, Appointment Affidavit, to ensure its completion.
  4. Administering the oath of office.
  5. Reviewing official personnel folders (OPFs) from prior Postal Service or other agency employment, if they had not been available before appointment because of current employment.
  6. Reviewing job expectations with the new employee (career or noncareer) using PS Form 1750, Employee Evaluation and/or Probationary Report, and the probationary period or first 90 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 in the Applicant Tracking System. Entitlement to and proof of preference are outlined in 48, Veterans’ Preference.