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EZHire@EPAFrequently Asked Questions

Introduction

EZhire@EPAis a web based recruitment system that will permit EPA employees and outside job seekers to apply for EPA's jobs online. It will also electronically qualify, rate and rank job applicants and produce a list of quality candidates for selecting officials in record time. EZhire@EPA is being used Agency-wide and brings consistency to the recruitment process throughout the Agency. This means that applicants can view all of EPA's job vacancies at one site. This new system will significantly improve EPA's competitiveness in the job market and bring EPA's recruitment process into the Twenty-first Century.

General Information

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Applicant/Employee Information

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Questions and Answers for Managers and Supervisors

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General Information

Q: What is EZhire@EPA?
A:EZhire@EPA is EPA's name for the system developed by the Quick Hire Company to automate EPA's recruitment process.

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Q: How does EZhire@EPA work?
A:EZhire@EPA is a service delivery mechanism that truly automates the federal hiring process. It takes the current federal hiring process content and uses the power of the Internet to build and post vacancies to EPA's web site. Interested applicants can review vacancy announcements and answer position-specific questions while on the web site. The system also allows applicants to create, edit and archive an electronic resumé. After the vacancy announcement closes, the Human Resources Office uses the system to automatically rate and rank candidates according to pre-established criteria. The best qualified candidates are instantly identified and forwarded to selecting officials.

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Q: What types of positions will be filled using EZhire@EPA?
A: All General Schedule and Wage Grade positions in EPA (except Senior Executive Service (SES) positions) will be filled using EZhire@EPA.

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Q: Is the system secure?
A: Yes. Even though Quick Hire hosts the application, EZhire@EPA is run on a private secure database and EPA is the owner of the data. The system meets the Agency's stringent security requirements and a Security Plan has been approved.

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Q: Is EZhire@EPA the only way to submit an application for EPA positions?
A: Yes. All applicants, except those applying for SES and excepted service positions, must submit their applications online, using the EZhire@EPA system.

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Q: What if I don't have a computer?
A: All EPA Human Resources Offices will have computers available for your use in applying for jobs. In addition, most career resource centers, unemployment offices, public libraries, college placement centers and job search agencies have computers and Internet access for their patrons to use at no charge

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Q: What if I don't have email?
A: There are several Internet Service Providers that offer free email accounts, such as Hotmail, Lycos and Yahoo. You can access one of these providers to register for a free email account. Additionally, a generic email box will be set up in each EPA HR Office to accommodate those applicants who cannot set up an email account.

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Q: What if I need help applying online?
A: For assistance in applying for an EZhire@EPA vacancy, you may contact the Human Resources Specialist listed on the vacancy announcement. If applying online poses a hardship to you, you must call the HR Specialist before the closing date of the announcement to request assistance.

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Q: When exactly do jobs close in EZhire@EPA?
A: EZhire@EPA positions close at midnight Eastern Time on the closing date of the vacancy announcement. After midnight, jobs that have closed will not be available for review or application.

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Q: Exactly what does it mean to apply online?
A: You submit your application using the Internet. When you first access the system at the web site, you must establish an account by answering a set of core federal questions. The system will assign you a user ID and password, which can be changed. The core federal questions will be stored in the system and will be used by the system as a part of the initial screening, e.g., for determining current status, veterans' preference, highest grade held, reinstatement eligibility, minority and handicap status, email and street address, phone number, and other relevant information.

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Q: Will EPA accept paper applications?
A: No. Exceptions will be made in the instance of extreme hardship cases (e.g., applicant lives in a remote area where it would pose a major hardship for the applicant to get to a computer in any location). EPA will assist applicants in any way possible to submit their applications online by the closing date of the vacancy announcement. Applicants who meet hardship criteria will be requested to respond to the same questions as applicants applying online and submit a signed copy to the HR Office prior to the closing date of the vacancy announcement. The HR Office will input the data into the system on the applicant's behalf for the specific job for which the applicant is applying only.

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Q: What if someone submits false information?
A:EZhire@EPA is a Federal job application system. Providing false information, creating fake IDs, or failing to answer all questions truthfully and completely may be grounds for not hiring, for disbarment from Federal employment, or for dismissal after a person begins work. Falsifying a Federal job application, attempting to violate the privacy of others, or attempting to compromise the operation of this system may be punishable by fine or imprisonment (see US Code, Title 18, section 1001.)

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Applicant/Employee Information

Q: Can I be automatically notified of EPA vacancy announcements?
A: Yes. EZhire@EPA allows applicants to automatically retrieve email notification if this option is chosen when you establish an account in the system.

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Q: After I have established an account, am I required to apply for a vacancy every time I go into the system?
A: No. Once you have established an account, the system uses the information to determine the vacancies for which you are eligible to apply. You may scroll through the vacancy, including the questions, but you are not required to transmit anything. You can merely exit the system or return to the main menu to select other vacancies to view.

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Q: As an applicant, can I access the system from home?
A: Yes. As an applicant, you can access the web site from any location, whether at home or at work.

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Q: Can I create a resumé online?
A: Yes. Once you have answered the core questions and established your user ID and password, you can then create your resumé. Once created (input into the system), you can go back in at a later time and update or change your resumé. After you apply for a particular vacancy and the vacancy announcement closes, the system automatically attaches your resumé to that particular vacancy announcement. If you later apply for a new vacancy, you may wish to update your resumé at that time to correspond more closely with the new announcement.

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Q: I already have a resumé prepared. Can I load it into the EZhire@EPA system?
A: Yes.EZhire@EPAallows you to cut and paste your resumé into a specified text box that will accept up to 16, 000 characters. The system currently allows only simple text, and does not accept special formatting, such as bold print and underlining.

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Q: What if I want to submit a long version resumé or additional documents?
A: resumés should be brief. You should only include relevant work experience, with short descriptions and your education. The resumé is a different type of document than the SF-171, which had a great deal of narrative. If you rank among the top qualified candidates, and are scheduled for an interview, at that point you may wish to share additional documents or information with the selecting official.

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Q: What happens if I don't submit a resumé with my personal information when applying for a job?
A: If your resumé is not submitted in the EZhire@EPA system by the closing date of the vacancy announcement, you will not be considered for that position.

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Q: Can I submit my resumé via email?
A: No. In order to apply for positions in EZhire@EPA, you must log into the system and apply online.

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Q: Is it possible to have multiple identities or more than one email address in EZhire@EPA?
A: No. You are identified in EZhire@EPAby your Social Security Number, your EZhire@EPAuser ID#, and your password which you enter in the registration process. EZhire@EPA will not allow you to create more than one account using the same email address or Social Security Number.

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Q: This is the first time I have ever registered in EZhire@EPA and the system is telling me that someone already registered with my Social Security Number. How could this be?
A: No one else is using your Social Security Number. You logged out of EZhire@EPA before you finished registering. Login to EZhire@EPA as a registered user, select "Edit Personal Information" and press "Next." You can then complete the registration process.

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Q: I don't understand why the system won't let me in.
A: Please review the procedures for logging into EZhire@EPA . You must be a registered user ofEZhire@EPA before you can apply for EPA jobs. In addition, when asked for a password, choose one that is at least 5 characters long and type it twice, making sure you use the same case both times.

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Q: I tried to login using my email address and it doesn't work.
A: Try using your EZhire@EPA ID# that you received from the system when you first registered in EZhire@EPA. If you don't have it, you can use your email address, but you must use the same case you used when you originally typed it into EZhire@EPA . For example, if you originally typed your email address using all capital letters, you must use all capitals when trying to login. It is often easier to use yourEZhire@EPA ID# instead because it is a number and isn't case-sensitive.

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Q: If the system only accepts online applications, how do I send other attachments, such as my college transcripts, SF-50's, etc.?
A: Unless otherwise stated on the vacancy announcement, do not send these documents until they are requested . Usually veteran's preference documents will need to be faxed to the appropriate office within 48 hours of the closing date of the vacancy announcement. The hiring manager or HR Specialist may request other documentation from you through email or telephone. These documents (such as, SF-50's and college transcripts) will only be requested from "best qualified" candidates.

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Q: How is my application rated?
A: The responses you provide to the questions are the basis for the numerical rating calculated by the system, in accordance with the weighting of questions as determined by the selecting official or Subject Matter Expert, and HR Specialist.

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Q: Where do I enter my knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA's)?
A: You will supply information on how you meet the KSAs of the position by responding to the position-specific questions in the vacancy announcement. You are rated and referred based on your responses to the position-specific questions as supported by information in your resumé. The position-specific questions used in EZhire@EPA are derived from questions defined by the selecting official in consultation with a Human Resources Specialist, and have been validated by EPA subject matter experts, as appropriate, for the job vacancies in EZhire@EPA.

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Q: Since the EZhire@EPA system will rate me according to my self-assessment and response to the questions, what prevents me from selecting those choices which give me the highest scores?
A: Nothing will prevent you from doing this. However, falsifying or answering questions to mislead the system's automated process is no different than providing false or misleading information on your application under the old process. Applicants are reminded that this is a federal job application system. Providing false information, creating fake ID's or Social Security Numbers, or failing to answer all questions truthfully and completely may be grounds for not hiring you, for disbarment from Federal Service, or for dismissal after being hired. Falsifying a Federal job application, attempting to violate the privacy of others, or attempting to compromise this system is punishable by fine or imprisonment (U.S. Code, Title 18, section 1001).

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Q: How will the HR Office verify my experience, education or responses to my questions?
A: EZhire@EPA does not diminish or abolish the HR Specialist's role in verifying qualifications of individuals. The resumé, as well as the interview process can be used to address questionable situations or issues. A review of the resumé will be conducted for all applicants who make the best-qualified list. Also, if you are a current EPA employee, the HR Office already has your official personnel record. For external candidates, the HR Office may request additional information from the applicant to verify status.

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Q: I am uncomfortable using my Social Security Number (SSN) to establish my account in the system. Is there any way I can apply for a position online without my SSN?
A: No. Your SSN is one of the few reliable means that government agencies have of distinguishing one applicant form another. Many applicants have the same name, or may even have the same birth dates. The SSN is the identifier suggested for use by the Office of Personnel Management for Federal job applications, and is the only way we can definitively differentiate between applicants. If someone else attempts to open a new account with your SSN, the system administrator will be alerted that your SSN already exists with a specific User ID and Password and that a new account is trying to be established with the same SSN.

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Q: How do you confidentially collect EEO data from applicants?
A: Applicants have the option to voluntarily and confidentially enter demographic information when initially registering in EZhire@EPA. To ensure the candidate's anonymity, the data is immediately encrypted and cannot be tied to a specific candidate. Once the vacancy announcement closes, a demographic report can be generated; however, neither the HR Staff nor selecting official is able to associate the demographic data to an individual. The data is also encrypted within the query processing tool. The encryption code is proprietary Quick Hire information, which they will not release.

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Q: If I am not selected for a position, who should I contact to find out why?
A: If you are found ineligible for a particular position, you will automatically receive an email explaining the reason why. You may contact the HR Specialist listed on the vacancy announcement for further explanation.

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Q: Can I apply for jobs in EZhire@EPA using my office computer?
A: Yes. EPA's policy permits employees to use their office computers and email to apply for jobs. However, you are reminded that you may use government property/resources to apply for jobs only if it does not interfere with the performance of your regular duties. If you work for another Federal agency or in the private sector, contact your employer's HR office for information on whether or not this is acceptable.

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Q: Is there any way I can see which positions I have applied for or find out the status of these vacancies?
A: In order to keep track of the vacancies for which you have applied, you should elect to receive an email confirmation of your application when you apply for jobs in EZhire@EPA. Keep this as a record of your application and save it. You should also print out a copy of the vacancy announcement itself, or at a minimum, note the name, telephone number, and email address of the HR Specialist listed as the contact person. If you have any questions about your application or the status of the vacancy, please contact the Specialist in charge of your vacancy. Be sure to tell the Specialist the vacancy announcement number title of the position.

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Q: How quickly will my application be rated?
A: Your application will be rated instantly by the system one minute after midnight Eastern Time on the closing date of the vacancy announcement. However, a quality review will be conducted by the HR Office before the rating is finalized. Prior to the closing date of the vacancy announcement, you can go back into the system and change your responses or update your resumé, as necessary.

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Questions and Answers for Managers and Supervisors

Q: Why are you changing our current recruitment process?
A: Our current recruitment process is cumbersome for applicants, managers and HR Staff and does not lend itself to being competitive with private industry or other federal agencies already using new technology. EZhire@EPA will help EPA's human resources offices to significantly improve timeliness, reduce paper and improve customer service in the recruitment process.

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Q: How will we implement the EZhire@EPA system at EPA?
A: EZhire@EPA will be implemented throughout the entire Agency between the months of July and September, 2001. This will provide consistency in the recruitment process throughout EPA for the first time. Under this approach, job seekers will be able to access and apply for all vacancies in EPA through one site.

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Q: How will EZhire@EPA impact me as a Selecting Official and/or Subject Matter Expert (SME)?
A: You will no longer be required to develop job analysis, crediting/rating plans nor identify knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) for positions in the traditional format. You will identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required for your vacancy announcement. The KSAs you identify are now in the form of questions that the applicant must answer. You, with the assistance of the HR Specialist, will determine the importance of the KSA questions by assigning a numerical weight to specific questions relative to the importance of the KSA question. Applicants are rated and referred based on information in their resumé and their responses to the position-specific questions that the Selecting Official, in consultation with a Human Resources Specialist, identify as relevant to the job. The position-specific questions used in EZhire@EPA have been pre-loaded into the system , and validated by EPA subject matter experts. This is a much simpler process than the current one.

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Q: What kind of "program-specific" questions are stored in EZhire@EPA?
A: Questions pertain to both minimum qualification requirements as well as ranking questions (formerly referred to as KSA's). Questions can be in a variety of formats, such as Yes/No, True/False, Number, Date, Short and Long Answer, Multiple Choice/Multiple Answer, and Matching.

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Q: What happens if there are no relevant questions pertaining to my vacancy stored in the EZhire@EPAsystem? Can new questions be added?
A: Yes, new questions can be added to the system at any time by the local site administrator. These questions will be stored in the library and can be used for future vacancies.

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Q: I routinely send my vacancy announcements to local and national organizations. CanEZhire@EPA help me with this?
A: Yes, the Job Notifier feature in EZhire@EPA allows the HR Office to load, save, categorize and store multiple recruitment sources in the system. As each vacancy is prepared for announcement, the HR Specialist can select specific appropriate professional associations, educational institutions, or community organizations to receive the vacancy announcement. The system then automatically sends an email message to the designated organizations informing them of the vacancy.

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Q: If the system rates and ranks candidates, do I still need to designate a subject matter expert (SME) or rating/ranking panel for my vacancy?
A: No. The intent is for the system to relieve the HR Specialist from having to go through the manual process of determining basic qualification requirements and to eliminate the need for SMEs and rating/ranking panels. HR Specialists will consult up front with the manager or subject matter expert to determine the appropriate questions to be included in the vacancy, as well as the weights to be assigned. EZhire@EPA does not replace the need for subject matter input; it automates the time consuming rating and ranking process.

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Q: I understand that the system is based on applicants' self-certifying their responses to the questions. How do I verify that they are answered honestly and that I receive quality candidates?
A: Applicants will be reminded in the vacancy announcement about the penalties for providing false or misleading information. Additionally, the HR Specialist will conduct a quality review on the top rated applicants prior to issuing the certificate to the selecting official. The quality review will be a comparison of the applicant's responses to the questions and the applicant's resumé. HR Specialists will also request any additional information, e.g., college transcripts, SF-50's and verification of veterans preference. The selecting official should use the interview process to ask clarifying questions, when applicants' experience and responses to questions are not commensurate with each other.

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