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Hiring Process

Hiring Process

The application process for employment at National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is lengthy due to employment requirements. Depending on your specific circumstances, the process may take as little as two months or more than a year. To start the application process you should review the list of current vacancies and then submit your electronic application. 

How to Apply

Eligibility Requirements 

Specific education and skill requirements can be reviewed in each Assignment Opportunity. All applicants are required to meet the following conditions of employment:  

  1. Must be 18 years of age

  2. Must be a U.S. citizen 

  3. Must be able to obtain a Top Secret with access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) security clearance 

  4. Must successfully complete any required pre-employment tests when applicable (i.e. vision testing, medical screen, illegal drug use screen) 

  5. COVID-19 vaccination, subject to exceptions required by law and ongoing litigation

    • Additional Note: COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement:  Executive Order 14043 requires that Federal employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of the employee’s duty location or work arrangement (e.g., telework, remote work, etc.), subject to such exceptions as required by law. To ensure compliance with an applicable preliminary nationwide injunction, which may be supplemented, modified, or vacated, depending on the course of ongoing litigation, the Federal Government and NGA will take no action to implement or enforce the COVID-19 vaccination requirement pursuant to Executive Order 14043 on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees for the time being.  However, NGA may request information regarding the vaccination status of selected applicants for the purposes of implementing other workplace safety protocols, such masking, physical distancing, testing, travel, and quarantine.

Application Instructions 

To apply for a job with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, submit your application online through our online portal . If you are interested in multiple job opening announcements, you must apply to each announcement for which you want to be considered. 

Intentional misrepresentations in application documents raise serious doubts about the applicant’s honesty and fitness for employment and can be sufficient to establish that the applicant is unsuitable for federal employment. 

Checking Your Application Status

Check the status of your application by logging into our online portal  using the user name and password that you created during the registration process.

Due to the large volume of applications we receive, individual feedback is not provided.  

A number of factors can influence when your application status is updated. Some of these include: 

  •  When the announcement closes; 

  • The number of applications received for the particular announcement;  

  • The number of interviews conducted, and; 

  • Scheduling.  

Although it is our goal to update application status as soon as possible, hiring managers can take up to 120 days to make final selections.  

If you are selected for an interview, you will be contacted by NGA. It is important that you provide current contact information in your application. The qualification and status definitions will help you understand your applicant status displayed in Intelligence Careers.  

What to Expect

Our hiring process is more involved than most people realize. We have put together information to help manage your expectations. 

Selection Process

When the Assignment Opportunity Notice closes, applications are reviewed by a skilled recruiter. The recruiter identifies applicants who meet the mandatory qualification criteria, along with additional skill sets outlined in the AON. Applications are intermediately qualified and forwarded to the hiring manager for further consideration.

Hiring managers schedule and conduct interviews. They determine who they feel is the most qualified for the position. Once an applicant is selected, the hiring manager will notify the recruiter. The recruiter extends the offer of employment to the selected applicant. 

It is difficult to determine how long the selection process can take because there are several factors that influence the timeline including the number of applications received, the number of interviews conducted and scheduling. 

Conditional Offer of Employment 

Once the applicant verbally accepts the NGA employment offer, a Conditional Offer of Employment package will be sent to the applicant that will outline important employment information (occupation, band, salary, and general location). The package will also include information and instructions on what you need to do to continue the on-boarding process. 

Pre-employment Testing & Security Clearance Process 

Urinalysis Test 

A pre-employment urinalysis test is required to detect the presence of illegal or controlled substances in an applicant’s system. This test usually takes approximately 20 to 30 days to order and complete. Positive test results or refusal to be tested will be considered in determining an applicant's eligibility for employment and may be the basis for denial of employment. NGA has the option of not testing applicants who are transferring directly to NGA from another federal agency where they held a drug testing-designated position and had been subject to a test within the previous 12 months.  

Security Clearance 

Successful completion of a Counterintelligence Scope polygraph examination is a condition of employment for all positions at NGA. (A limited-scope screening polygraph examination will be administered to detect and deter espionage, sabotage, or other acts against the federal government, unauthorized release or sale of classified materials, foreign travel and unauthorized contacts, and unlawful representation of a foreign government.) 

Vision Testing

Certain occupations have vision requirements. If the position that you were selected for has a vision requirement, you will be scheduled for a vision test. NGA may withdraw the conditional offer of employment of a candidate who is unable to meet the vision requirements, or, at agency discretion, NGA may consider the candidate for suitable positions in other fields of expertise. 

Medical Examination 

Certain positions may require other tests such as a pre-employment medical examination.  

Security Clearance Process

Background Investigation

Because of the classified nature of our work at NGA, all candidates must be eligible for a TOP SECRET/SCI security clearance and must take a polygraph examination. In order to obtain the required security clearance, candidates must undergo a thorough personnel security background investigation that examines a candidate’s life history, character, trustworthiness, reliability and soundness of judgment.  

The background investigation includes a review of previous and current employment history (including contact with the candidate’s current employer), verification of education credentials and residential history, financial background, and interviews with knowledgeable sources such as friends, neighbors, supervisors, and coworkers.

Investigators will also examine the potential for conflicts of interest, potential to be coerced, and the candidate’s willingness and ability to abide by regulations governing the use, handling, and protection of sensitive information. In addition, credit bureau and criminal background checks are conducted to ensure that all candidates meet the high personnel security standards set by NGA and the Intelligence Community. Depending on your situation, the background investigation process may take two months or longer depending on the issues that develop during the course of the investigation.

Please know that intentional misrepresentations in application documents raise serious doubts as to the applicant’s honesty and fitness for employment and can be sufficient to establish that the applicant is unsuitable for federal employment.  

Clearance Adjudication

After the background investigation is completed, the information is passed to an NGA adjudicator. The adjudicator reviews the results of the personnel security investigation and compares them to established qualifying criteria for granting security clearances with access to classified information or for an appointment to a sensitive position or position of trust. The adjudication process averages less than 20 days, but may take longer depending on a candidate’s personal circumstances.

Once adjudication is complete and the security clearance is granted, the adjudicator notifies the Investigations Branch, who in turn contacts the agency’s Human Development team to proceed with the next steps in the process. 

More Information

Interested in more guidance on the federal hiring process Kenny Rios, Diversity Recruitment Program Manager at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), chats about cover letters, resume tips and how to get your foot in the door on the podcast Advice from a Federal Recruiter