The United States Postal Service Rural Carrier Associate position, or USPS RCA, involves many of the same tasks performed by full-time carriers. The main differences are the rate of pay, the lack of benefits, no guarantee of full-time hours and the temporary status of the position. RCAs are not career employees but contract hires. Despite these differences, the interview process for both career and RCA positions are the same.
A group interview takes place after your successful application and general USPS 473 panel test. You are invited to the first interview via email and given a time and place to appear. During the first half of the interview, you learn about what the job entails, and you are asked to complete an application form. Afterward, each applicant is interviewed individually by a manager to determine her suitability for the position. Questions include topics like your worth ethic, past work history, availability, and ability to cope with situations that may occur on the job. You will need to bring your driver's license and a copy of your resume to this interview.
Drug and Background Screening
Those who are tapped to move forward in the interview process are sent email providing choices of locations and scheduling options. Your drug screening requires a urine sample and the results are returned within a few days. Your background check requires your social-security number and is done remotely via an online service hired by USPS. Once both hurdles are cleared, you will be invited to a second interview.
Your second interview takes place in the USPS HR department. You meet with a hiring manager who again determines your ability to do the job and decides on your station placement if hired. The manager will perform a one-on-one interview, ask a few basic questions about your availability, and log your personal information using your driver's license. If hired, you will be given a conditional contract stating your hourly rate, date of appointment and position title. The letter explains that during your first 90 days (the probation period), you can be terminated for any or no reason at all. It also lays out the term of your employment (360 days followed by a five-day furlough).
Road Test and Training
Your training date is set and sent to you via email. The majority of your training takes place in a classroom with live and video instruction. At the end of a full week, you are assessed and given a date for your road test. Since all rural carriers must be able to drive a postal truck as part of the job, your test results are the final factor in the hiring decision and the last step of the interview process.
Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.