During its employment prescreening process, the United States Postal Service, or USPS, sorts applicants by whether or not they have the necessary skills, abilities and qualifications for the job. If you pass this initial phase, you must then attend a pre-employment orientation, complete a multiple-part employment application, pass a drug test, and authorize the USPS to collect information about you. Then the USPS begins the process of further narrowing the list of candidates into a more manageable number to interview and investigate further.
Submitting an incomplete or incorrect application is a bit like trying to mail a letter without a stamp -- it won't get you, or go, very far. The USPS reviews applications for omissions, false statements, unaccounted periods and poor employment records. It also checks references and runs background checks. If your prior work history includes military experience, it also reviews your service record.
If the USPS green lights your application, and if you're looking for a job as a city carrier, mail-processing clerk, mail handler, or for a sales, services and/or distribution position, you must pass an entrance exam in order to move forward in the hiring process. This exam tests how well you can sort mail, cross-compare addresses and complete forms. You must also answer questions related to memory and coding. The USPS also uses the test to get further insight into your personality, skills and experience. You must still pass an entrance exam if you're applying for a clerical or maintenance position, but it covers different topics and information.
Pass the exam and the USPS will likely invite you in for an interview. During the interview, you learn more about the position and the organizational structure of the USPS. You will also verify and supply additional information that can help the USPS decide if you are a suitable candidate for the job. Getting to the interview phase is like passing mile marker 25 in a marathon. You can almost see the finish line, but that last mile or so may feel like the longest mile you've ever run.
The USPS ranks candidates by how well they do during each phase of the hiring process. Federal law requires the USPS to offer the job to one of the top-three candidates and to give preference to certain candidates, such as veterans. After the USPS offers you the job and you accept it, you must complete additional pre-employment paperwork. The USPS will further review job expectations with you and administer the oath of office to you before your 90-day probationary period begins.
There are basic requirements you must meet before the USPS can consider sealing any employment deal with you. You must be at least 18, though the USPS will hire a 16-year-old who has a diploma. You must also be a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident alien who has a green card or a citizen of American Samoa or other territory with permanent allegiance to the United States. Some positions also require you to have a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record.
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.