Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

VA Board of Veterans Appeals Q&A

I have an interview with the VA board for an attorney adviso dcm198310/26/16
These sound like questions you should ask them...except #8 notthedroidyo11/29/16
Hi, i will have an interview with the VA board for an attorn usproud11/29/16
It was a short, 15 minute interview with three people. The q dcm198311/29/16
My friend used to work there. It seemed awful, but was reall spaghetti12/01/16
I heard that too, but they recently changed the production s dcm198312/01/16
How do you like your new job, dcm? john0912/04/16
It's going well so far! Lots of new hires and everyone is pr dcm198312/04/16
Sounds nice! Glad you are enjoying it. I'm anxiously await thermocutty12/05/16
They're interviewing through the end of the week. For those joshdoctson12/05/16
Seems like they called people with offers the next day based thermocutty12/05/16
I'm in the same boat thermocutty. I also had an interview o js7712/05/16
Well at least we can be nervous together then lol. thermocutty12/05/16
At the very least I know they have interviews going on Decem kramer71612/05/16
I asked them about the time frame during the interview and t usproud12/12/16
I got the same answer. kramer71612/15/16
I applied for this job in September and have received no mov t3success12/12/16
Did you guys get your photos taken for your ID badges on the js7712/12/16
Hi js77, I recently had an interview with BVA. How long did lawgirl201612/15/16
Anyone else have their interview today? lawandwar12/15/16
I had my interview in the morning. I couldn't get a read on kramer71612/15/16
Any cool insight on the building itself (cafeteria, parking, joshdoctson12/15/16
I don't have many fresh insights. I took the metro and walke kramer71612/16/16
I had my interview yesterday, it was a remote one and i didn lawandwar12/16/16
I wonder how much longer the agency plans to interview with joshdoctson12/15/16
As of this time, I have not received a final offer or start js7712/15/16
I heard the budget through fiscal year 2017 is already set. lawgirl201612/15/16
Here is my update and timeline for reference: -Applied mi thermocutty12/16/16
Thank you very much for the timeline. Having a point of refe kramer71612/16/16
Congratulations. I'm still awaiting the next step in the pro lawandwar12/16/16
Via email. I heard some people got calls. I guess it depen thermocutty12/20/16
Thermo, have you received a firm offer yet? I'm still waiti js7712/20/16
Not yet. They did ask me to pick a start date as late as Ja thermocutty12/20/16
It might take a while before we get our formal offers. I th js7712/21/16
Did your usajob account status ever change? lawandwar12/20/16
My USAJobs account status only changed after referral. It re joshdoctson12/21/16
What was your timeline from interviewing to being selected? lawandwar12/21/16
I interviewed remotely the week of December 5th (either Wedn joshdoctson12/21/16
Congratulations. I'm still awaiting the next step in the pro lawandwar12/16/16
I haven't heard anything either, but if they stay consistent kramer71612/20/16
did you need to do the eqip online background application? W bvalw01/08/17
Just wanted to check in. Have any of the people who intervie kramer71612/27/16
Nope. Interviews on 14th and no word yet. lawandwar12/27/16
They said to follow-up in about ten to twelve days after the kramer71612/28/16
Yes I think they may be short staffed as well. I absolutely lawandwar12/28/16
Hey thermocutty, have you received a firm offer as of today, js7712/28/16
I got an email two weeks ago after my fingerprints saying I jddidtie12/28/16
Yes, I received the same email jdd. Have you received a for js7712/28/16
Hey! I got my final offer letter yesterday. I'm guessing y thermocutty12/30/16
I also received my final offer letter. Looking forward to me joshdoctson01/02/17
Congratulations on your offer. I am hoping that we hear next kramer71601/02/17
I sent a follow-up e-mail to the person they told me to cont kramer71601/05/17
This wait is ridiculous. Who did you send a follow up email lawandwar01/05/17
I sent the e-mail to the person who initially contacted me a kramer71601/06/17
Right no news is good news. If they hated us I'm sure we wou lawandwar01/06/17
I got a reply. Basically said the HR team is small and that kramer71601/06/17
That makes me feel better. Let me know what they say. lawandwar01/06/17
1) had interview on December 12th. 2) Got an email with Te bvalw01/08/17
Have your fingerprints cleared yet? You should receive a fi js7701/08/17
I did HR had no info. I do not see a reason why it wouldn't bvalw01/08/17
Orientation started today and it looks like they do orientat joshdoctson01/09/17
Appreciate the info. Sounds like if I get hired then Feb. 6t kramer71601/09/17
Hey Kramer, when did you interview? I was the 15th and I sti lkskins01/09/17
I interviewed on the 14th. I only emailed the new address on kramer71601/09/17
if it helps anyone, got my official offer letter today. Star bvalw01/11/17
Thank you. It seems that everyone has been processed up thro kramer71601/11/17
Yes definitely seems that way. Wonder if the week of Decembe lawandwar01/11/17
Did you recieve it via email? From who I the agency? Trying lawandwar01/11/17
One person on here interviewed on the 15th, and they are sti kramer71601/11/17
Me too, especially considering the fact that emails go unans lawandwar01/11/17
So I was one of the people with 12th interview and 16th cond bvalw01/11/17
I sent an e-mail before to HR, and it took them four days to kramer71601/11/17
Doubt a hiring freeze really gonna happen. But if it does, y bvalw01/11/17
The person who gave me the tour said that I think a conditio kramer71601/11/17
Trump says he wants a freeze that doesn't mean it'll happen. bvalw01/11/17
Dude, you're kidding yourself if you think it isn't happenin joshdoctson01/11/17
That puts it a bit into perspective. I am not saying it won' bvalw01/11/17
I am banking on the fact that you can't mess with the VA too lkskins01/12/17
I used to work at the BVA and they hired hundreds of attorne yulacu01/12/17
Hope that trend continues. How did you like working for the kramer71601/12/17
Let's just say there is a lot of turnover there and I left f yulacu01/19/17
Fair enough. I figured there would be a high amount of turno kramer71601/20/17
A couple of things First, I e-mailed HR again. I haven't kramer71601/13/17
I think the va will be exempt from a potential freeze as it lawandwar01/13/17
Hopefully, it won't be an issue, but I am assuming the hirin kramer71601/13/17
Right. We're in the same boat so far. Hopefully we here some lawandwar01/13/17
Here is hoping we get the answer tomorrow. Just want some cl kramer71601/16/17
To you as well! lkskins01/17/17
Started calling and so far no answer. Just left a couple of kramer71601/18/17
What number have you been calling? lkskins01/19/17
I e-mailed the HR People back in October to get a status on kramer71601/20/17
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/which-e xecutive-orders-did-trump hopelesslyunemployed01/20/17
Hmm, so anyone else who interviewed mid-December still holdi lkskins01/23/17
I am still holding out hope. Will keep calling because I don kramer71601/23/17
Hope you get through! I sent another e-mail this morning. lkskins01/23/17
Took me 10 days for HR to actually pick up the phone, ignore bvalw01/23/17
Trump has ordered a federal hiring freeze effective today. js7701/23/17
Have you heard from wherever the va specifically will not hi lawandwar01/23/17
Don't know if the VA will be affected. At this point, I woul kramer71601/23/17
Would you guys mind sharing the number you are calling? And lkskins01/23/17
I called 202 461 7843. thats HR. they never answer calls or lawandwar01/23/17
I am calling the same number and getting the same results. U kramer71601/23/17
Thanks very much, still holding out for everyone. lkskins01/23/17
Good luck to you as well. IF you call the Chairman's Office kramer71601/23/17
Just heard on the news that trump placed a hiring freeze on lawandwar01/23/17
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit ics/trump-halts-hiring-of lawandwar01/23/17
Anyone with start date after freeze was ordered heard anythi bvalw01/25/17
Did you get a firm offer or did you just get the tentative o kramer71601/25/17
My firm offer letter was supposed to be sent Monday I believ bvalw01/25/17
Yeah, Monday seemed to be when everything stopped. An earlie kramer71601/25/17
does anyne have any insight on how long the freeze will happ lawandwar01/25/17
Absent amendment or expedited attrition plan, the freeze ela joshdoctson01/25/17
http://www.stripes.com/news/democra ts-urge-trump-to-exempt-v kramer71601/25/17
VA and CDC are still posting positions. I think they are sti downwardslope01/26/17
If any hiring happens during this time, I believe attorneys lawandwar01/26/17
What gives us some hope is that the new VA head has been the kramer71601/26/17
Yes hope so. At this point I'm sort of stuck trying to figur lawandwar01/26/17
Agreed. This is the sense I get regarding President Trump so kramer71601/26/17
Yes I agree with that. Hopefully they can convince him to li lawandwar01/26/17
Asked HR whether or not the OMB memo is binding, only got th bvalw01/26/17
I am impressed you got a response at all. Good job on that. kramer71601/26/17
I am so mad at this situation, especially seeing how you wer lawandwar01/26/17
Ugggh, better get on a doc review for a few weeks -_- lkskins01/26/17
Same here. What city do you do doc review in? kramer71601/26/17
I'm local in DC, not on anything though :( lkskins01/26/17
HOw is the doc review market in DC? If you want a project ca kramer71601/26/17
If you are Barred in DC, there are a lot of options, if you lkskins01/27/17
Damn, alright DC is probably out. I am not barred in DC but kramer71601/27/17
Not sure if it's going to help anyone: HR confirmed in a bvalw01/27/17
That does help. Just wish they sent out a mass e-mail of som kramer71601/27/17
I had an interview but haven't recieved an offer yet so I gu lawandwar01/27/17
Yep pretty much. Would go to your plan B. Time to learn abou kramer71601/27/17
;yes thats my plan b now lawandwar01/27/17
I feel your pain. Sadly I am in the black hole of document r kramer71601/27/17
"The Department of Veterans Affairs intends to exempt anyone yulacu01/27/17
"The Department of Veterans Affairs intends to exempt anyone yulacu01/27/17
Thank you for the confirmation. I think the Democrats are st kramer71601/27/17
i didn't see attorney adviser on that list hopelesslyunemployed01/27/17
Right. Only public safety and other healthcare givers, not a lawandwar01/27/17
Just wanted to check in with the people that did accept thei kramer71602/10/17
I can offer some of my impressions but keep in mind I have o thermocutty02/18/17
Thank you very much for your reply. I am happy to hear that kramer71602/21/17
I am interested in chatting with you as I am also coming fro lawyerdc03/20/17
Curious how things are going as well. Any idea if there will oddis50002/17/17
I work at the Board as a judge. Have been here a long time whynot02/19/17
Hi Whynot, Thanks for answering a few questions. I'm curren oddis50002/20/17
Yes the Board will hire more Attorney Advisors once the hiri whynot02/20/17
Great thanks for taking the time. oddis50002/20/17
I appreciate that you are taking the time to answer question kramer71602/21/17
I believe we will pick up the process from where we left it whynot02/21/17
Thank you for the information. I am glad to hear that you wi kramer71602/22/17
One final question if you don't mind, do you know if the old kramer71602/24/17
I wish I had some insight to this but I don't know. I'm not whynot02/25/17
No worries. I appreciate all the information that you have p kramer71602/26/17
Hey Kramer, had any luck contacting hr? I've been doing doc lkskins03/13/17
I never had any luck getting ahold of anyone, although I sto kramer71603/14/17
Well I sure hope so! Hopefully we meet sometime in the futur lkskins03/15/17
Agreed. Hopefully we get hired and end up in a class with de kramer71603/17/17
hi all. I have been reading this thread for awhile but have lawyerdc03/20/17
If you don't mind me asking, do you remember when you interv kramer71603/20/17
Friend of mine said she heard the board was starting to hire lkskins04/03/17
Nope. What I heard is the VA wants to hire about 60 more att kramer71604/03/17
http://m.govexec.com/management/201 7/04/trump-ends-federal-h lkskins04/11/17
whoa. fingers double crossed lawandwar04/11/17
NICE! I sent an email last month following up and never rece kramer71604/12/17
Ive tried calling and it goes straight to voicemail- i think lawandwar04/12/17
Did you have a Tentative Offer before the freeze? downwardslope04/12/17
No tentative offers. It appeared they were processing everyo kramer71604/12/17
no offer, just an interview December 14th and then the freez lawandwar04/12/17
Hopefully you both hear something in the next couple of week downwardslope04/12/17
I sent one final email to HR. Just asked for a timeline. I d kramer71604/13/17
Haha me too, I'm sure they are receiving a lot, I'm going to lkskins04/14/17
https://www.reddit.com/r/washington dc/comments/65vnme/the_fr govlaw04/17/17
chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebf nladdacbdfmadadm/http://1 kramer71604/17/17
That's encouraging lawandwar04/17/17
It's nice to know that he exempted the position, but I am a kramer71604/17/17
Just got an email about confirming my tentative offer and in fedatty1304/18/17
Thanks for the update!! I imagine things are pretty out of o lkskins04/18/17
Agreed. I did receive an update for the SSA position that I kramer71604/19/17
It's interesting that they reposted the position today. It's oddis50004/20/17
They have another one they occasionally post that is up for downwardslope04/20/17
It's not the same job. Read the description and compare. Pro dcm198304/20/17
Interesting. But would you go from a 12 back to 11 for Attor bullah04/20/17
Once you get time in grade at gs-12 you can apply for gs-13. downwardslope04/20/17
It is a different job but will take it if offered. kramer71604/20/17
Any of you posters vets? Does that seem to help getting int bullah04/20/17
Any of you posters vets? Does that seem to help getting int bullah04/20/17
Oddly recieved another referral letter today, just like the lawandwar04/21/17
I just got another referral today too. lawrunner31704/21/17
So I got an ineligible but submitted all my materials. Could mararum04/21/17
Did you get the 2 non referred 1 referred email? Or totally downwardslope04/21/17
I got one totally ineligible email. It was not nonreferred. mararum04/21/17
My email today said "not referred, referred, not referred". jdmaryland04/21/17
Yes i got two non reffered and one referred for the same pos lawandwar04/21/17
I also got the resent referral letters today... lkskins04/21/17
I also received the new referral letter, although my pattern kramer71604/21/17
I checked on the VA application portal and mine is an exact lkskins04/21/17
Agreed, although it wouldn't surprise me if they have us int kramer71604/21/17
Dammit I think I just got an email telling me I'm not the be lkskins04/21/17
Same, and I am a bit pis-ed. If I just received the rejectio kramer71604/21/17
My second email was a referral. First was not referred, lawrunner31704/21/17
Looks like you have a decent shot then. I really don't under kramer71604/21/17
Not holding my breath on this one. lawrunner31704/21/17
im out. just got a letter saying not among highest qualified lawandwar04/21/17
Ah welcome to the island of misfit toys. I am annoyed at the kramer71604/21/17
I received a rejection from another position too so it seems lkskins04/21/17
Was it from the VA as well? I am still waiting to hear from kramer71604/21/17
Nah it was from another agency ugh lkskins04/21/17
Looking back to fedatty's post, they might be sending out re lkskins04/21/17
I cant lie, im completely discouraged. Ive been waiting sinc lawandwar04/21/17
They weren't lying when they said the VA was in the dumps I lkskins04/21/17
Yeah, I am not pleased. If I just received the rejection ema kramer71604/21/17
I wholeheartedly agree. why build me up to let me down. This lawandwar04/21/17
I pulled a Don Quixote and am charging another windmill. I s kramer71604/21/17
I would like to know what their response is whenever they re lawandwar04/21/17
Yeah I am not holding my breath, but I will let everyone kno kramer71604/21/17
I wouldn't lose hope guys. I got notified that I WAS referre oddis50004/21/17
The sad thing is no one knows. What it probably means is the kramer71604/21/17
Thats how the process works- you get referred and eventually lawandwar04/21/17

dcm1983 (Oct 26, 2016 - 11:45 am)

I have an interview with the VA board for an attorney advisor job soon. Can anyone answer these questions?

1. What questions can I expect in the interview?
2. Is the job secure? I heard rumors of layoffs in the past.
3. Do you get promoted to a higher grade every year with good performance until the 14 cap?
4. Is overtime mandatory?
5. How many days do they telework?
6. Are the production demands difficult?
7. What is the office environment like?
8. Is it better than the Ssa attorney advisor job?


Thanks!

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notthedroidyo (Nov 29, 2016 - 2:33 pm)

These sound like questions you should ask them...except #8

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usproud (Nov 29, 2016 - 1:53 pm)

Hi, i will have an interview with the VA board for an attorney advisor job soon, i would like to know how was your experience in the interview?

Thanks

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dcm1983 (Nov 29, 2016 - 3:39 pm)

It was a short, 15 minute interview with three people. The questions were fairly straightforward regarding my qualifications and how I would respond to adjudicator feedback, differences of opinion, time pressure, etc. It was friendly and there weren't any unusual questions.

Congrats on the interview!

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spaghetti (Dec 1, 2016 - 3:36 am)

My friend used to work there. It seemed awful, but was really dependent on the judges you worked for.

It's a heavy production, churn and burn kind of place. Turnover was constant because a lot of people hate the job. Lots of firings as well. Frankly from everything he told me it sounded terrible. If you're looking for a cushy fed job, look elsewhere.

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dcm1983 (Dec 1, 2016 - 8:16 am)

I heard that too, but they recently changed the production system to alleviate some of those concerns, and they hired hundreds of new attorneys. It looks better now.

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john09 (Dec 4, 2016 - 11:14 am)

How do you like your new job, dcm?

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dcm1983 (Dec 4, 2016 - 12:45 pm)

It's going well so far! Lots of new hires and everyone is pretty friendly and supportive. It seems like a good, professional environment focused on public service. GS-14 is non competitive, and the environment is collaborative. The revised production system appears to be reasonable and flexible. My only concern is office space. They don't have room for all of the new hires, but they will hopefully work around the problem with expanded telework.

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thermocutty (Dec 5, 2016 - 11:14 am)

Sounds nice! Glad you are enjoying it. I'm anxiously awaiting word after the interview. I'd be fine if they set me up in a broom closet.

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joshdoctson (Dec 5, 2016 - 11:41 am)

They're interviewing through the end of the week. For those who have already interviewed: did they give any time frame whatsoever? What is the parking situation like?

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thermocutty (Dec 5, 2016 - 11:51 am)

Seems like they called people with offers the next day based on what others have said. I guess that doesn't bode well for me since it's now been longer than that but no idea.

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js77 (Dec 5, 2016 - 12:36 pm)

I'm in the same boat thermocutty. I also had an interview on Thursday and haven't heard anything yet.

Thanks dcm for your reply!

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thermocutty (Dec 5, 2016 - 12:48 pm)

Well at least we can be nervous together then lol.

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kramer716 (Dec 5, 2016 - 1:35 pm)

At the very least I know they have interviews going on December 14th since that is when mine is. Thank you for doing this thread. I have been trying to figure out the questions asked, how long it takes to get an offer etc. Good luck to all those who have been interviewed.

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usproud (Dec 12, 2016 - 8:46 am)

I asked them about the time frame during the interview and they answer me that after their selection, human resource department have 14 days to contact the selected candidates.

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kramer716 (Dec 15, 2016 - 4:11 pm)

I got the same answer.

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t3success (Dec 12, 2016 - 9:27 am)

I applied for this job in September and have received no movement on my application whatsoever. Not even "referred" it just says "received."


Very sad!

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js77 (Dec 12, 2016 - 5:07 pm)

Did you guys get your photos taken for your ID badges on the first day of work or shortly after being fingerprinted?

I was told that we need to wait 48 hrs after being fingerprinted before we can get our photos taken. Unfortunately, going back and forth to VA Central Office is proving to be quite inconvenient given my current full time job.

Can we wait until we start to get our photos taken for the PIV cards?

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lawgirl2016 (Dec 15, 2016 - 10:56 pm)

Hi js77, I recently had an interview with BVA. How long did it take after your interview to find out that you were hired? Did you get a call/email? How long did your background check take? It looks like they are trying to start people within 1-2 months of their interview. Anyone else have insight as well? Thanks in advance!

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lawandwar (Dec 15, 2016 - 12:48 am)

Anyone else have their interview today?

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kramer716 (Dec 15, 2016 - 4:14 pm)

I had my interview in the morning. I couldn't get a read on the panel which doesn't give me that much confidence but who the hell knows. They were all nice but not overly excited. I went on the tour after the interview and saw the workspaces, overall had a good experience but just wish I had a better read on the panel.

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joshdoctson (Dec 15, 2016 - 4:24 pm)

Any cool insight on the building itself (cafeteria, parking,offices, floors and finishes, etc)? Also, what if anything did they say about start dates?

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kramer716 (Dec 16, 2016 - 1:15 pm)

I don't have many fresh insights. I took the metro and walked from Chinatown which I wouldn't recommend. Another person who was being interviewed did drive in from Baltimore, and she parked in a garage across the street, so there is close parking but no clue as to how much they charge. As for the building, I thought it was entirely VA, but I guess they only have a couple of floors. If we get hired, they will put us in a room that resembles a classroom with computers set up on long tables. The goal is to get the new hires into offices as soon as possible. You will probably have to share office space. If you last a year, then they allow you to telework, and it seems they prefer that you do that due to the lack of office space. They didn't say that, but that was the sense I got. I didn't see a cafeteria, but there were places to eat near the building.

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lawandwar (Dec 16, 2016 - 12:48 am)

I had my interview yesterday, it was a remote one and i didnt get a good read on the panel either. your right, who knows. hopefully we get hired.

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joshdoctson (Dec 15, 2016 - 8:04 am)

I wonder how much longer the agency plans to interview with the impending freeze. JS77- has HR sent you a start date yet? When are you providing your current employer notice?

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js77 (Dec 15, 2016 - 2:57 pm)

As of this time, I have not received a final offer or start date. I will give my current employer notice when I get a final offer.

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lawgirl2016 (Dec 15, 2016 - 10:57 pm)

I heard the budget through fiscal year 2017 is already set.

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thermocutty (Dec 16, 2016 - 3:57 pm)

Here is my update and timeline for reference:

-Applied mid-October.
-Referred earlyish November and then notified of interview later in the month.
-Remote interview on December 1 (pleasant but very short so I couldn't really tell what they thought of me).
-Notification of selection and tentative offer on Dec 9 (subject to starting clearance process i.e. fingerprints and some forms).
-Completed fingerprints earlier this week.
-Today I was told I'm cleared and to pick start dates between Dec 27, or Jan 8.

I assume the next step is a final offer and official start date. So far the process fairly painless and everyone at HR has been very responsive.

I assume they want to get as many people in before the inauguration just in case a hiring freeze is some sort of day 1 or day 30 initiative. Beyond that, I believe they genuinely need a lot of people. Looking at their 2015 annual report, the appeals backlog has increased over the last 5 years. A huge chunk of the claims come from Vietnam vets, so we probably haven't even seen the bulk of OIF/OEF claims that will come about. Also, service member awareness of VA benefits is very high. Based on my time in the military, I can say there are a lot of programs and benefits that go overlooked, but everyone knows about the VA and uses some of their benefits at one point or another. I'm guessing the VA will be fairly busy for another decade at least.

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kramer716 (Dec 16, 2016 - 4:20 pm)

Thank you very much for the timeline. Having a point of reference is good. I was trying to gauge how quick the turnaround was for a conditional offer.

Congratulations on your tentative offer and I hope that I get picked up as well. Good luck the rest of the way.

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lawandwar (Dec 16, 2016 - 7:57 pm)

Congratulations. I'm still awaiting the next step in the process. Hope I get picked up as well. How were you notified that you were selected.

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thermocutty (Dec 20, 2016 - 12:03 pm)

Via email. I heard some people got calls. I guess it depends on whichever HR person is handling your file.

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js77 (Dec 20, 2016 - 12:06 pm)

Thermo, have you received a firm offer yet? I'm still waiting for mine.

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thermocutty (Dec 20, 2016 - 12:19 pm)

Not yet. They did ask me to pick a start date as late as Jan 8, so I assume that will come prior.

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js77 (Dec 21, 2016 - 8:50 am)

It might take a while before we get our formal offers. I think HR is busy onboarding the class that starts next week and processing the new hires from the group that interviewed mid-December.

We probably get our formal offers next week after the new class starts.

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lawandwar (Dec 20, 2016 - 11:20 pm)

Did your usajob account status ever change?

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joshdoctson (Dec 21, 2016 - 12:48 am)

My USAJobs account status only changed after referral. It remains in that status even after receipt of my tenative offer.

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lawandwar (Dec 21, 2016 - 8:25 am)

What was your timeline from interviewing to being selected?

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joshdoctson (Dec 21, 2016 - 3:55 pm)

I interviewed remotely the week of December 5th (either Wednesday or Thursday) and received my tentative offer via email the following Monday.

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lawandwar (Dec 16, 2016 - 7:57 pm)

Congratulations. I'm still awaiting the next step in the process. Hope I get picked up as well. How were you notified that you were selected.

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kramer716 (Dec 20, 2016 - 4:52 pm)

I haven't heard anything either, but if they stay consistent regarding his timeline with us, then we should hear by the end of the week. Good luck to everyone.

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bvalw (Jan 8, 2017 - 9:49 pm)

did you need to do the eqip online background application? Was it processed prior to getting a start date or they conduct investigation while you already start working? Thanks!

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kramer716 (Dec 27, 2016 - 4:04 pm)

Just wanted to check in. Have any of the people who interviewed in mid-December heard anything?

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lawandwar (Dec 27, 2016 - 5:05 pm)

Nope. Interviews on 14th and no word yet.

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kramer716 (Dec 28, 2016 - 11:04 am)

They said to follow-up in about ten to twelve days after the interview, but I am going to wait until next Wed. I believe the person who said HR is getting a new class ready before they do new offers is correct. Plus, I think they are probably short-staffed this week due to vacations. Anyway, good luck to everyone who has interviewed and I hope to get to meet you all in DC soon. I well let you know what I learn from any follow-ups.

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lawandwar (Dec 28, 2016 - 11:10 am)

Yes I think they may be short staffed as well. I absolutely dread waiting- feels like I'm waiting on bar results all over again.

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js77 (Dec 28, 2016 - 9:09 am)

Hey thermocutty, have you received a firm offer as of today, Dec. 28?

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jddidtie (Dec 28, 2016 - 1:09 pm)

I got an email two weeks ago after my fingerprints saying I was cleared to enter on duty. Did you get something like that?

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js77 (Dec 28, 2016 - 3:08 pm)

Yes, I received the same email jdd. Have you received a formal offer yet? I assume you will be in the class that starts on January 9.

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thermocutty (Dec 30, 2016 - 11:03 am)

Hey! I got my final offer letter yesterday. I'm guessing yours is forthcoming if you haven't received it already. I'll see you there!

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joshdoctson (Jan 2, 2017 - 11:21 am)

I also received my final offer letter. Looking forward to meeting the rest of our pledge class next week!

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kramer716 (Jan 2, 2017 - 1:48 pm)

Congratulations on your offer. I am hoping that we hear next week either way. I forget who said it, but whoever said this feels like waiting for your bar results is correct Happy New Year to all and hopefully we will all be meeting in DC in a few weeks.

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kramer716 (Jan 5, 2017 - 1:58 pm)

I sent a follow-up e-mail to the person they told me to contact and so far, no response.

I hate waiting, but at least there is still hope. Good luck to everyone.

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lawandwar (Jan 5, 2017 - 2:31 pm)

This wait is ridiculous. Who did you send a follow up email to? I would just like to know something already.

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kramer716 (Jan 6, 2017 - 2:01 pm)

I sent the e-mail to the person who initially contacted me about my interview time. I still haven't heard anything so will try to send one again next week if I don't hear anything by Wed.

I buy into the sentiment that they are processing the class before us before doing our stuff. I think the BVA are in a time crunch to get everything done before Jan. 20th. I guess the positives we can take from not hearing anything is they haven't said no. I would be much more concerned if you heard something and I didn't and vice versa. Plus, I think if they hated either one of us then they would have just put out the rejection letter almost immediately.

Anyway, I guess we just have to stick with the good ole' saying "No news is good news." Good luck to you and will check back if I hear anything.

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lawandwar (Jan 6, 2017 - 2:14 pm)

Right no news is good news. If they hated us I'm sure we would hAve heard by now. I'm tired of stalking my email though!!! And I'm kind of at a standstill with my practice not knowing when I'd have to pick up and leave if the answer is yes. I just want someone to say something already.

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kramer716 (Jan 6, 2017 - 4:37 pm)

I got a reply. Basically said the HR team is small and that no news is good news. Gave me another e-mail to use to get more information. so will e-mail them now.

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lawandwar (Jan 6, 2017 - 6:24 pm)

That makes me feel better. Let me know what they say.

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bvalw (Jan 8, 2017 - 12:40 pm)

1) had interview on December 12th.
2) Got an email with Tentative offer on the 16th. In the email the person asked to call her office. I tried calling for about a week and went straight to vm, wouldn't reply to emails either. Eventually reached her and sent me an email with Tentative selection and fingerprint requirements.
3) Did finger prints on December 30th, was told to expect an email on the 30th or 31st with instructions. Never got the email until the January 6th. Had to do the eqip online application for background check.

Anyone who did number 3 already, how long AFTER that did you get a final official offer letter and a start date? Thanks in advance!

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js77 (Jan 8, 2017 - 10:07 pm)

Have your fingerprints cleared yet? You should receive a final offer when your fingerprints clear.

Your best bet would be to contact HR tomorrow to check on the status of your offer.

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bvalw (Jan 8, 2017 - 10:48 pm)

I did HR had no info. I do not see a reason why it wouldn't clear, but did everyone get the eqip code and online application or is it just for select candidates?

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joshdoctson (Jan 9, 2017 - 4:24 pm)

Orientation started today and it looks like they do orientations every 2 weeks, so take that for what it's worth.

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kramer716 (Jan 9, 2017 - 5:28 pm)

Appreciate the info. Sounds like if I get hired then Feb. 6th would be mine. Don't think they can get me processed before Jan. 23rd. So, knock on wood, we do get hired. How was orientation? They made it sound like you are in class for the first month before you get put on a team.

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lkskins (Jan 9, 2017 - 5:38 pm)

Hey Kramer, when did you interview? I was the 15th and I still have not gotten word yet either. I did the same as you and emailed the man who contacted me for the interview and was told to email a different address (which I have emailed twice with no reply) Definitely getting anxious LOL

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kramer716 (Jan 9, 2017 - 5:58 pm)

I interviewed on the 14th. I only emailed the new address once so far. I e-mailed them once before in October just to get a status and see what the process is and they got back to me in four days, so, knock on wood, the same thing happens this time. If it doesn't, I will try to shoot off an e-mail next week then probably try calling at the end of next week. If I get a response I will let you all know what I hear

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bvalw (Jan 11, 2017 - 12:51 pm)

if it helps anyone, got my official offer letter today. Start dates between the 17th and Feb 6th. See my timeline above.

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kramer716 (Jan 11, 2017 - 1:26 pm)

Thank you. It seems that everyone has been processed up through the people who interviewed on Dec. 12th. After December 12th, it appears that no one has heard anything. I sent an e-mail to HR to get a status, and they have yet to reply. Will probably send one more and then try calling sometime next week if I don't hear anything.

Congratulations on your offer, good luck to you and hopefully I will see you in a few weeks.

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lawandwar (Jan 11, 2017 - 1:40 pm)

Yes definitely seems that way. Wonder if the week of December 14th were the last interviews. Seem like we would have heard something by now

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lawandwar (Jan 11, 2017 - 1:41 pm)

Did you recieve it via email? From who I the agency? Trying to see if there's a direct person I can speak with or email.

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kramer716 (Jan 11, 2017 - 1:58 pm)

One person on here interviewed on the 15th, and they are still in the same situation as us.

What concerns me is the person who interviewed on Dec. 1st, and they received their conditional offer Dec. 9th, so eight-day turnaround. You have the person interviewed on Dec. 12th receive their conditional offer on Dec. 16th, so up to that point, it seemed like a pretty quick turnaround. I wasn't as concerned because was thinking that Christmas and the holiday season would slow things down, but now it is getting a bit more concerning. I am still holding on to the principle of "no news is good news.", but I am getting more nervous now.

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lawandwar (Jan 11, 2017 - 2:18 pm)

Me too, especially considering the fact that emails go unanswered, calls go to vm and then inauguration rumors about fed hiring freezes. I think no news is good news until I see someone who interviews on the 14/15th get an offer and I don't. I wonder if not selected, would we hear anything.

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bvalw (Jan 11, 2017 - 3:19 pm)

So I was one of the people with 12th interview and 16th conditional email offer. It was not until the 27th!!!! that I was finally able to reach out to HR (I called everyday since the 16th), I tried calling over 100 times if not more and left various voicemails and send many emails. Bottom line is without pointing any fingers, apparently, HR is slow because they hire way more than usual to try and beat a potential hiring freeze (which never really happens btw).

This is not to say you were 100% selected or not selected, but I would not give the timing too much thought.

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kramer716 (Jan 11, 2017 - 2:49 pm)

I sent an e-mail before to HR, and it took them four days to get back to me, so hopefully I hear by the end of the week.

As to the hiring freeze, I think it won't kick in until Feb. 1st if he does it and I believe if we receive our offers before then we are good. Do not hold me to that, but I think that is the situation so we can be offered Jan. 31st, hiring freeze kicks in Feb. 1st and we should still be fine, so I would say our dead man walking date is Jan. 31st if we don't hear anything.

I am hoping they let us know, but I have my doubts at this point. At the very least I hope they change our status on usajobs.gov.

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bvalw (Jan 11, 2017 - 3:20 pm)

Doubt a hiring freeze really gonna happen. But if it does, you will need your fingerprints to clear and get a firm offer letter prior I believe.

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kramer716 (Jan 11, 2017 - 3:24 pm)

The person who gave me the tour said that I think a conditional offer was sufficient, but she didn't really know so you may be right.

Anyway, fingerprints won't be an issue. I had to get fingerprinted for my last job so I can get those done ASAP. Would just hope to get the firm offer letter ASAP. I hope you are correct regarding the hiring freeze, though.

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bvalw (Jan 11, 2017 - 5:59 pm)

Trump says he wants a freeze that doesn't mean it'll happen. It happened last I think when Reagan was in office...

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joshdoctson (Jan 11, 2017 - 8:17 pm)

Dude, you're kidding yourself if you think it isn't happening.

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bvalw (Jan 11, 2017 - 8:31 pm)

That puts it a bit into perspective. I am not saying it won't happen, I am saying there's a high chance it won't. Besides, I would worry more about Trump closing out or merging certain departments then a possible hiring freeze. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-federal-agencies-job-openings-trump-20161230-story.html

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lkskins (Jan 12, 2017 - 10:12 am)

I am banking on the fact that you can't mess with the VA too much hahaha, but there was a hiring freeze in all but name during sequestration for attorneys at least so definitely hoping to get on board first...

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yulacu (Jan 12, 2017 - 10:54 am)

I used to work at the BVA and they hired hundreds of attorneys in the middle of sequester. I was there during the government shutdown and we continued to work and get our checks on time because the BVA had so much money. There may be a freeze in government hiring for some agencies, but I think the VA, CBP, and other GOP favorites aren't going to be on the chopping block.

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kramer716 (Jan 12, 2017 - 10:59 am)

Hope that trend continues. How did you like working for the BVA?

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yulacu (Jan 19, 2017 - 9:48 am)

Let's just say there is a lot of turnover there and I left for good reasons.

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kramer716 (Jan 20, 2017 - 3:06 pm)

Fair enough. I figured there would be a high amount of turnover, but I would still like the opportunity.

Are you still with the federal government?

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kramer716 (Jan 13, 2017 - 11:14 am)

A couple of things

First, I e-mailed HR again. I haven't received a response from the earlier e-mail but trying one last attempt before I start calling next week.

Second, as to the hiring freeze. When I check USAJOBS I always use the search term "Attorney Advisor." When I used that before I would usually get somewhere around 110 to 130 listings, not all for Attorney positions but you get the point. I searched a couple of days ago, and it's down to 88, and I searched yesterday, and it's down to 80. I could be way off, but it looks like a hiring freeze is coming. The BVA and Dept. of Veterans Affairs could be exempted out, but I would assume the worst.

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lawandwar (Jan 13, 2017 - 12:46 pm)

I think the va will be exempt from a potential freeze as it seems as if the va would be a necessary agency for a while. But I'm sure a lot of government agencies are preparing for a potential hiring freeze.

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kramer716 (Jan 13, 2017 - 1:14 pm)

Hopefully, it won't be an issue, but I am assuming the hiring freeze will happen, so I will try to get some clarity next week. Worse comes to worst; the BVA continues to ignore me.

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lawandwar (Jan 13, 2017 - 2:21 pm)

Right. We're in the same boat so far. Hopefully we here something next week

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kramer716 (Jan 16, 2017 - 11:46 pm)

Here is hoping we get the answer tomorrow. Just want some closure. Good luck.

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lkskins (Jan 17, 2017 - 12:13 am)

To you as well!

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kramer716 (Jan 18, 2017 - 2:16 pm)

Started calling and so far no answer. Just left a couple of voicemails. Will let you know if I get any response

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lkskins (Jan 19, 2017 - 6:44 pm)

What number have you been calling?

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kramer716 (Jan 20, 2017 - 3:03 pm)

I e-mailed the HR People back in October to get a status on the job search. A woman e-mailed me back, and there was a phone number attached for her, so I have been calling that. I have given up calling the last couple of days because of the inauguration. They shut down yesterday, and nothing is getting done today so will start again next week. If I don't get a reply, I will just call the main number and try that way.

Are you calling the main number?

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hopelesslyunemployed (Jan 20, 2017 - 8:43 pm)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/which-executive-orders-did-trump-sign-on-day-1/

News is that the federal hiring freeze was ordered today.

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lkskins (Jan 23, 2017 - 11:14 am)

Hmm, so anyone else who interviewed mid-December still holding out hope for a call? Not sure what to think anymore!

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kramer716 (Jan 23, 2017 - 11:36 am)

I am still holding out hope. Will keep calling because I don't think we have anything to lose at this point. Haven't called today, but will try in a few.

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lkskins (Jan 23, 2017 - 11:53 am)

Hope you get through! I sent another e-mail this morning.

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bvalw (Jan 23, 2017 - 12:01 pm)

Took me 10 days for HR to actually pick up the phone, ignored all emails and voicemail, keep trying to call every hour. Not sure if it'll help but when I called early morning between 7:45 and 8:45 were the 2 times they answered.

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js77 (Jan 23, 2017 - 12:33 pm)

Trump has ordered a federal hiring freeze effective today.

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lawandwar (Jan 23, 2017 - 1:07 pm)

Have you heard from wherever the va specifically will not hire any more attorneys who interviewed around the 15th? I heard certain agencies including the Va would not be effected by a hiring freeze

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kramer716 (Jan 23, 2017 - 1:12 pm)

Don't know if the VA will be affected. At this point, I would say we probably won't be picked up, but I will keep calling. I just want a definitive answer either way before completely writing it off. I can get a temp job in another city, but don't want to commit to that lease and then hearing that the VA hired me. Anyway, good luck to you all. I will keep on calling and let you know what I hear. I will try 8 AM tomorrow.

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lkskins (Jan 23, 2017 - 1:36 pm)

Would you guys mind sharing the number you are calling? And yea, I just read the article on the freeze in the Post, sigh...

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lawandwar (Jan 23, 2017 - 1:57 pm)

I called 202 461 7843. thats HR. they never answer calls or return voicemails.

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kramer716 (Jan 23, 2017 - 2:16 pm)

I am calling the same number and getting the same results. Usually, rings twice and goes straight to voicemail.

If you want to try a plan B, and I have yet to call this number, but the number for the Chairman's Office is 202-632-4603. My guess is they will probably just tell you to talk to HR.

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lkskins (Jan 23, 2017 - 2:17 pm)

Thanks very much, still holding out for everyone.

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kramer716 (Jan 23, 2017 - 2:24 pm)

Good luck to you as well. IF you call the Chairman's Office let me know how it turns out, I will try tomorrow if I don't hear anything.

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lawandwar (Jan 23, 2017 - 7:19 pm)

Just heard on the news that trump placed a hiring freeze on all non-military government hiring. Think that means we're not getting picked up. 😢😳

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lawandwar (Jan 23, 2017 - 7:29 pm)

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-halts-hiring-of-federal-workers-freezes-pay-raises/ar-AAm8QWN?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Trump’s executive order states that “no vacant positions existing at noon on Jan. 22, 2017, may be filled and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances” though it does not apply to military personnel.

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bvalw (Jan 25, 2017 - 1:18 pm)

Anyone with start date after freeze was ordered heard anything? or anyone who is already on board and can find info?

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kramer716 (Jan 25, 2017 - 3:04 pm)

Did you get a firm offer or did you just get the tentative offer? Either way I hope everything works out for you.

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bvalw (Jan 25, 2017 - 3:28 pm)

My firm offer letter was supposed to be sent Monday I believe, haven't gotten a word yet.

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kramer716 (Jan 25, 2017 - 5:32 pm)

Yeah, Monday seemed to be when everything stopped. An earlier post said they started the training every two weeks so yours would be Feb. 6th if they still have it. I was projecting that would have been mine until all this crap happened.

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lawandwar (Jan 25, 2017 - 6:31 pm)

does anyne have any insight on how long the freeze will happen? Is it indefinite or a certain amount of time?

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joshdoctson (Jan 25, 2017 - 6:39 pm)

Absent amendment or expedited attrition plan, the freeze elapses in 90 days.

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kramer716 (Jan 25, 2017 - 11:41 pm)

http://www.stripes.com/news/democrats-urge-trump-to-exempt-veterans-va-from-90-day-federal-hiring-freeze-1.450645

We may have some hope. It seems that Congress is trying to get Drumpf to exempt the VA and veterans in general from the hiring freeze. Here is hoping that they are successful.

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downwardslope (Jan 26, 2017 - 7:54 am)

VA and CDC are still posting positions. I think they are still aiming for the freeze that exempts public health positions.

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lawandwar (Jan 26, 2017 - 8:33 am)

If any hiring happens during this time, I believe attorneys won't be on the priority list.

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kramer716 (Jan 26, 2017 - 8:54 am)

What gives us some hope is that the new VA head has been there a while, so he knows that part of what they do is handle appeals and a lot of the time veterans can't move forward without a successful appeal. He needs attorneys to process those appeals, so outside shot that there may be some gymnastics done to keep lawyers coming. This is if it remains status quo.

What gives us hope is if they exempt the VA then they can just go forward pre-hiring freeze, and hopefully that is the case.

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lawandwar (Jan 26, 2017 - 9:23 am)

Yes hope so. At this point I'm sort of stuck trying to figure out our next move; whether to move or not. Hopefully va will be exempt all together

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kramer716 (Jan 26, 2017 - 9:29 am)

Agreed. This is the sense I get regarding President Trump so far. He will say whatever, for example, he says he loves waterboarding. We need to fight fire with fire. Waterboarding works etc. etc. But I like General Mattis, and if Mattis doesn't want to waterboard then, we don't do waterboarding, etc., etc. He always has an opinion, but he seems to always defer to the people around him, so hopefully the head of the VA will let him know that they need people fast because they have been short-staffed forever.

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lawandwar (Jan 26, 2017 - 10:03 am)

Yes I agree with that. Hopefully they can convince him to lift the freeze over the va. It sucks to be waiting to hear back just to get hit with a freeze. I'd feel better if I heard something before the freeze though

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bvalw (Jan 26, 2017 - 10:15 am)

Asked HR whether or not the OMB memo is binding, only got the "when we have something to say we will let you know" -- was supposed to start on the 6th but have no idea if it happens or not.

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kramer716 (Jan 26, 2017 - 10:30 am)

I am impressed you got a response at all. Good job on that. Did you get it via a phone call or e-mail?

Hope you can still start on Feb. 6th. Good luck to you

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lawandwar (Jan 26, 2017 - 10:41 am)

I am so mad at this situation, especially seeing how you were to start on the 6th. Im surprised you were even able to get through. Prayerfully, the freeze will be lifted and we can continue with business as usual.

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lkskins (Jan 26, 2017 - 1:21 pm)

Ugggh, better get on a doc review for a few weeks -_-

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kramer716 (Jan 26, 2017 - 3:06 pm)

Same here. What city do you do doc review in?

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lkskins (Jan 26, 2017 - 8:41 pm)

I'm local in DC, not on anything though :(

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kramer716 (Jan 26, 2017 - 11:46 pm)

HOw is the doc review market in DC? If you want a project can you get on pretty quickly? I may be following your lead while we wait for the freeze to be resolved

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lkskins (Jan 27, 2017 - 9:57 am)

If you are Barred in DC, there are a lot of options, if you aren't you have to look for the projects that allow non-DC bar. If you can handle the OT/boredom I know people who make almost 100k doing it though.

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kramer716 (Jan 27, 2017 - 10:21 am)

Damn, alright DC is probably out. I am not barred in DC but can waive in. May have to look at Philly, Pittsburgh, Detroit, etc.

I wouldn't want to do it as a career. I would just want something for the next few months until they lift the freeze.

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bvalw (Jan 27, 2017 - 7:47 am)

Not sure if it's going to help anyone:

HR confirmed in an email the following:

Anyone with a start date PRIOR to February 22 is still good to come on. Anyone with offer and start date AFTER February 22nd should call HR to see what their options are.

Those without any offer at this time likely to have to wait till freeze is lifted in 90 days.

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kramer716 (Jan 27, 2017 - 8:31 am)

That does help. Just wish they sent out a mass e-mail of some sort to all of us saying that, or a letter. Anyway, on to document review, I guess.

Thank you again and good luck to you.

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lawandwar (Jan 27, 2017 - 9:06 am)

I had an interview but haven't recieved an offer yet so I guess we'll wait to the freeze is over to see.

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kramer716 (Jan 27, 2017 - 9:23 am)

Yep pretty much. Would go to your plan B. Time to learn about the world of Document Review.

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lawandwar (Jan 27, 2017 - 10:20 am)

;yes thats my plan b now

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kramer716 (Jan 27, 2017 - 10:23 am)

I feel your pain. Sadly I am in the black hole of document review. Not a lot of demand among the cows so will have to peg a city that has cheap short-term housing and pray for the hiring freeze to thaw quickly.

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yulacu (Jan 27, 2017 - 4:09 pm)

"The Department of Veterans Affairs intends to exempt anyone it deems necessary for public health and safety, including frontline caregivers,” Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Snyder said. “The President and VA remain committed to seeing that our Veterans receive the quality care and benefits they’ve earned. This is the right thing to do for our Veterans.”

Looks like it will have a direct impact on BVA hiring for the next 90 days.

https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/factsheets/Signed-Exemption-to-Hiring-Freeze-Memo-with-Exempted-Occupations-1-27-2017.pdf

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yulacu (Jan 27, 2017 - 4:09 pm)

"The Department of Veterans Affairs intends to exempt anyone it deems necessary for public health and safety, including frontline caregivers,” Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Snyder said. “The President and VA remain committed to seeing that our Veterans receive the quality care and benefits they’ve earned. This is the right thing to do for our Veterans.”

Looks like it will have a direct impact on BVA hiring for the next 90 days.

https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/factsheets/Signed-Exemption-to-Hiring-Freeze-Memo-with-Exempted-Occupations-1-27-2017.pdf

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kramer716 (Jan 27, 2017 - 4:28 pm)

Thank you for the confirmation. I think the Democrats are still trying to get the VA entirely exempt from the hiring freeze but that seems to be a longshot. Alrighty then, document review it is.

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hopelesslyunemployed (Jan 27, 2017 - 5:03 pm)

i didn't see attorney adviser on that list

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lawandwar (Jan 27, 2017 - 6:38 pm)

Right. Only public safety and other healthcare givers, not attorneys. So we'll have to wait until the freeze is over

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kramer716 (Feb 10, 2017 - 7:29 pm)

Just wanted to check in with the people that did accept their job offers with the VA. How do you like the position? Are you guys still doing the classroom portion of the job? If you are done doing the classroom training, then what is your typical day for you? Do a lot of people come in on the weekends, or does everyone pretty much do 40 hours a week? Finally, is there any chatter that once they lift the hiring freeze in April, will they start the mass hiring again?

Any information you guys can provide would be greatly appreciated. I hope you all are enjoying DC. I do love that city. Anyway, thank you in advance.

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thermocutty (Feb 18, 2017 - 3:23 pm)

I can offer some of my impressions but keep in mind I have only been here slightly over a month and I am still in the classroom phase (although they started our classroom portion later so I've had the chance to work a couple normal work weeks where I wrote decisions under supervision). I also came here from a high-stress, complex commercial litigation firm so that likely affects how I perceive certain pros/cons.

-The new attorney training system is very good. You get a month-long class on the ins and outs of veterans law plus a designated mentor that helps you and checks your work for the first three months. I assume mentor quality will vary by person but mine has been great thus far. This is pretty much the complete opposite of the trial-by-fire, sink-or-swim situations that often occur in our profession. Some may not like all the hand-holding but I find it comforting.

-Work life balance is great. This may be different for supervisors and attorneys who have taken on extra duties, but the cultural expectation is you do your work during your designated work hours and then your time is your time. OT is available to those who need it but it needs to be scheduled in advance. There are no crisis phone calls while on vacation or last minute midnight filing frenzies.

-I find the actual legal work is easier than what I did previously, but it's not as easy as one might think. Some of the claim files can be quite large and it can take a while to review all the evidence and pinpoint important issues in order to make a decision on a claim. The actual writing part, however, is very simple as they don't want you to reinvent the wheel on anything when it comes to language. I know that's a common legal trope but here it applies doubly so. Some may find that stifling but I have found it a relief after my last job.

-The building is bursting at the seams with the new hires. I am in a conference room with a bunch of other new attorneys. It's good for making new friends but it's a far cry from the very nice office I had in my last job. They are working on getting new space for everyone, though. They are also encouraging flex and telework schedules but that's only available to those who have been employed more than year I believe.

-I've heard hallway talk that they still want to bring on more after the freeze but I have no idea how accurate that is. Prior to coming here I was a little skeptical as to how so many attorneys could be necessary, but I see it now. The claims process is incredibly veteran friendly and imposes a substantial number of procedural requirements on the VA, which makes filing a claim much easier than actually resolving a claim...much less one on appeal.

-So far, I am very happy here. So much so that maybe I overlook negatives. GS-11 pay in DC is pretty rough. I am holding out for the first grade increase. I can also see how people might get bored of cranking out opinions over and over. If you're the type that feeds on the thrill of litigation, then you might not like it here. I, however, am loving my newfound freedom from the litigation circus. If the grade increases go as advertised, I don't really see a reason to ever leave.

-It's nice that this job undoubtedly has a noble purpose. With that said, the work is not very sexy from a lawyering standpoint. If you're the type that likes to have war stories and the most prestigious sounding job description (at least to other attorneys), then you may feel unfulfilled in that regard. With THAT said, I've long recognized that a job is a job, and I really feel like this a good one.

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kramer716 (Feb 21, 2017 - 1:30 pm)

Thank you very much for your reply. I am happy to hear that you are having a great experience. I have enough litigation war stories, so would love to try something different. I love DC and the job sounds great, so it would be good to have the opportunity to work there and earn my way up.

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lawyerdc (Mar 20, 2017 - 12:32 pm)

I am interested in chatting with you as I am also coming from a high stress litigation practice (9 yrs. of experience. I need my life back!) I would like to hear your perspective on what it is like to make the change. Can you e-mail me? lawyerdc748@gmail.com

Thanks.

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oddis500 (Feb 17, 2017 - 9:28 pm)

Curious how things are going as well. Any idea if there will be any more hires? Are those who have accepted happy with the job?

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whynot (Feb 19, 2017 - 3:31 pm)

I work at the Board as a judge. Have been here a long time including doing the attorney/writing job. I'm happy to try to answer any questions anyone has.

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oddis500 (Feb 20, 2017 - 2:24 pm)

Hi Whynot,
Thanks for answering a few questions. I'm currently a Fed Attorney in an area (both geographically and area of law) I'm not crazy about. Do you believe that 1) the VA plans on hiring additional Attorney Advisors and that 2) the position offers the same type of career path that a General Attorney position does?
Also, once you are allowed to work from home after your initial 12 months, are there any restrictions on where you can live? How many days a month are you required to actually go into the office?
Thanks so much for your input.

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whynot (Feb 20, 2017 - 5:06 pm)

Yes the Board will hire more Attorney Advisors once the hiring freeze is lifted or we get an exemption. We will hire about 60 more. The career ladder for the Attorney Advisor position at the Board goes to GS-14. 11-12-13-13-14 (2 years at GS-13). The promotion to 14 is non-competitive although you do have to demonstrate you can handle complex appeals. Virtually everyone makes 14. There are opportunities beyond GS-14 including judge.

Telework is allowed after 1 year, come into the office once a week.

After 2 years you are eligible to do remote telework and live anywhere you want and come in up to 4 times a year (at the government's expense).

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oddis500 (Feb 20, 2017 - 7:23 pm)

Great thanks for taking the time.

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kramer716 (Feb 21, 2017 - 9:07 am)

I appreciate that you are taking the time to answer questions.

I have a couple, and I hope you can answer them. First, I interviewed for a position on Dec. 14th, and it seemed the way you guys were hiring is based on the day you interviewed, so just based on here I think your office got up to Dec. 12th. My question may be a stupid question, but never been through a hiring freeze before, what happens to the people who were in the middle of the process like myself? The individuals who applied, were referred, and were interviewed but never received a hiring decision either way. Will our applications be scratched and we have to start over from square one? Will you guys just go in there on April 23rd and take the list of all the people who interviewed before the hiring freeze and keep going like before.

The last question, assuming I get hired, can I come into the office and work on weekends if I want to, or do I need to get advance permission to do that? At my previous position I used to love to go in on weekends for a few hours and work, so would just like to have that option available if possible.

Thank you again for your help. I know the first question is long, but just trying to figure out where I, and the other people on here who are in my situation, stand. It would be a privilege and honor to work for your office, and I hope when this is over that we have that opportunity.

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whynot (Feb 21, 2017 - 7:53 pm)

I believe we will pick up the process from where we left it off when the freeze is lifted, meaning no new application is needed. However, I am not directly involved with that decision and I would urge you to contact the HR contact on the announcement to get a more certain answer.

As for weekend work, advance approval is needed if you are going to be working OT for extra pay. OT is often available (depending on budget) generally after you have been here a year.

If you want to just come in on your own time to do work on the weekends when it is quiet and you can focus better, that's fine. Have at it.

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kramer716 (Feb 22, 2017 - 2:20 pm)

Thank you for the information. I am glad to hear that you will pick up where you left off when President Trump lifts the hiring freeze. I tried contacting HR before and didn't receive a response, so have been trying to share information with other people on here to get a better idea as to what is going on. I completely understand why they were unavailable because they were trying to process every applicant who did receive an offer, at least that is my assumption.

I also appreciate the fact that if I am fortunate enough to be hired, I will be able to work on weekends. I did that when I worked on Guam, and I would like that option again.

Thank you again for taking the time to answer our questions. It is appreciated.

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kramer716 (Feb 24, 2017 - 1:22 pm)

One final question if you don't mind, do you know if the old saying, "No news is good news" applies? Hypothetically, I am wondering if your office interviewed an applicant, and the interviewers knew they wouldn't be hiring that candidate, then a rejection letter would be sent out shortly after the interview. Since I, and a few of the other posters on here, were interviewed and didn't hear anything. I am hoping that we still have a shot, and the only reason that we haven't heard anything definitive is due to the hiring freeze. I realize this is more of an HR question, but just wondering if you heard anything through the grapevine.

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whynot (Feb 25, 2017 - 2:59 pm)

I wish I had some insight to this but I don't know. I'm not directly involved enough with the hiring to know.

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kramer716 (Feb 26, 2017 - 12:51 am)

No worries. I appreciate all the information that you have provided. Hopefully, when they lift the hiring freeze, HR will pick us up. I hope you had/have a great weekend depending on when you see this post.

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lkskins (Mar 13, 2017 - 6:28 pm)

Hey Kramer, had any luck contacting hr? I've been doing doc review not blocks from the interview building and it's very demoralizing hahaha though catching up I this thread had helped my spirits!

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kramer716 (Mar 14, 2017 - 1:18 pm)

I never had any luck getting ahold of anyone, although I stopped in January after President Drumpf signed the hiring freeze. I will start up again when the hiring freeze is about to expire. From what whynot said on here it looks like they are seeking to hire an additional sixty attorneys when the freeze is lifted, and since we were already interviewed, they can move fast on bringing us in. For now, we are in a holding pattern. Good times.

I assume we don't have to do anything further once the hiring freeze is lifted, but will post on here if I hear anything different

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lkskins (Mar 15, 2017 - 2:35 pm)

Well I sure hope so! Hopefully we meet sometime in the future at work!

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kramer716 (Mar 17, 2017 - 2:14 pm)

Agreed. Hopefully we get hired and end up in a class with decent people. Good luck.

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lawyerdc (Mar 20, 2017 - 12:25 pm)

hi all. I have been reading this thread for awhile but haven't posted. I was one of the ones who had a start date after Feb 20 so I got held up in the hiring freeze.

I'm happy to report that I received a final offer letter last week and I now have a start date. Good luck to everyone who is waiting, hopefully things will start moving again as I have some friends who are interested in the job.

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kramer716 (Mar 20, 2017 - 1:39 pm)

If you don't mind me asking, do you remember when you interviewed for the position? The sense that I got was that they were processing everyone based on the day they were interviewed. They seemed to have processed everyone up through December 12th, and as far as I can tell everyone who was interviewed after Dec. 12th were the ones in a holding pattern. I am curious if you were interviewed after December 12th.

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lkskins (Apr 3, 2017 - 1:48 pm)

Friend of mine said she heard the board was starting to hire again, anyone seen anything or spoken to anyone?

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kramer716 (Apr 3, 2017 - 1:53 pm)

Nope. What I heard is the VA wants to hire about 60 more attorneys once the freeze is lifted. I sent an email last week because it seemed other agencies were starting to hire again based on USAJOBS, and received no response. The posting on USAJOBS expired last month, so it seems like everything is status quo.

Hiring freeze expires April 23rd

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lkskins (Apr 11, 2017 - 11:17 pm)

http://m.govexec.com/management/2017/04/trump-ends-federal-hiring-freeze-workforce-cuts-loom/136942/?oref=GovExectco

Looks like it's ending early, fingers crossed

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lawandwar (Apr 11, 2017 - 11:28 pm)

whoa. fingers double crossed

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kramer716 (Apr 12, 2017 - 1:18 pm)

NICE! I sent an email last month following up and never received any reply. I may try one more time, but it seems HR isn't talking anymore. Hopefully, they pick us up. Good luck to you all.

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lawandwar (Apr 12, 2017 - 1:43 pm)

Ive tried calling and it goes straight to voicemail- i think they arent talking anymore either. Hopefully we get picked up or its bar prep for me.

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downwardslope (Apr 12, 2017 - 1:47 pm)

Did you have a Tentative Offer before the freeze?

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kramer716 (Apr 12, 2017 - 1:51 pm)

No tentative offers. It appeared they were processing everyone based on the date they interviewed for the job. They got up to December 12th before the freeze, and I was interviewed on December 14th, so hopefully they continue where they left off. They are allegedly looking to hire sixty more attorneys, so we shall see.

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lawandwar (Apr 12, 2017 - 2:32 pm)

no offer, just an interview December 14th and then the freeze happened.

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downwardslope (Apr 12, 2017 - 7:20 pm)

Hopefully you both hear something in the next couple of weeks. Since the listing just officially closed I would not think they would have to repost.

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kramer716 (Apr 13, 2017 - 2:33 pm)

I sent one final email to HR. Just asked for a timeline. I doubt I will hear anything back, but figured it is worth a shot.

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lkskins (Apr 14, 2017 - 6:02 pm)

Haha me too, I'm sure they are receiving a lot, I'm going to call on Monday.

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govlaw (Apr 17, 2017 - 10:44 am)

https://www.reddit.com/r/washingtondc/comments/65vnme/the_freeze_is_lifted_but_still_in_essentially_in/

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kramer716 (Apr 17, 2017 - 11:14 am)

chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/http://1yxsm73j7aop3quc9y5ifaw3.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/VA-Secretary-Memo-March-13-2017-Exemptions.pdf

It appears that in March the VA exempted Attorney Advisor from the hiring freeze, so even if he is unofficially keeping the hiring freeze in place, we can be picked up.

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lawandwar (Apr 17, 2017 - 11:36 am)

That's encouraging

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kramer716 (Apr 17, 2017 - 1:11 pm)

It's nice to know that he exempted the position, but I am a bit concerned that they lifted the freeze for us since March, and no one has heard anything. If we are not going to be picked up, then I wish they would tell us.

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fedatty13 (Apr 18, 2017 - 4:40 pm)

Just got an email about confirming my tentative offer and information about onboarding. Thing is I turned down the offer back in September. No idea what's going on but maybe they're back to hiring and onboarding again. Good luck all

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lkskins (Apr 18, 2017 - 9:18 pm)

Thanks for the update!! I imagine things are pretty out of order there so hopefully all of it is just confusion for a bit and then gets straightened out.

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kramer716 (Apr 19, 2017 - 1:23 pm)

Agreed. I did receive an update for the SSA position that I applied for, but nothing regarding the VA. Here is hoping the VA makes their offers soon.

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oddis500 (Apr 20, 2017 - 1:15 am)

It's interesting that they reposted the position today. It's as if they are starting anew. Honestly, the more I hear about the job, the more I think I'll stay where I am (another Fed Gov position). The new posting today only has a promotional potential of a 12. Why would anyone do that?

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downwardslope (Apr 20, 2017 - 6:25 am)

They have another one they occasionally post that is up for a few days. They canceled it yesterday. I assume the certificate must have expired during the freeze. It is posted at GS-11/12 to start, while the other one is only posted at GS-11 to start. I don't think it is the same position.

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dcm1983 (Apr 20, 2017 - 6:20 am)

It's not the same job. Read the description and compare. Pros: you can start at 12 instead of 11 and this job might be less stressful as far as production/deadlines are concerned. Cons: doesn't go to 13/14, but that doesn't mean you can't apply for a different job at a higher grade later.

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bullah (Apr 20, 2017 - 12:56 pm)

Interesting. But would you go from a 12 back to 11 for Attorney Advisor position?

Also, under GS system do you start at 11, step 1?

Thanks.

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downwardslope (Apr 20, 2017 - 1:29 pm)

Once you get time in grade at gs-12 you can apply for gs-13. The people in the ladder position would presumably not have to compete to get gs-13 once they have time in grade at 12 and meet production requirements.

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kramer716 (Apr 20, 2017 - 1:22 pm)

It is a different job but will take it if offered.

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bullah (Apr 20, 2017 - 7:25 pm)

Any of you posters vets? Does that seem to help getting interview?

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bullah (Apr 20, 2017 - 7:25 pm)

Any of you posters vets? Does that seem to help getting interview?

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lawandwar (Apr 21, 2017 - 12:15 pm)

Oddly recieved another referral letter today, just like the one i received last year before my interview! Perhaps they are just starting to get things together> Hopefully this leads to a tentative offer.

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lawrunner317 (Apr 21, 2017 - 12:47 pm)

I just got another referral today too.

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mararum (Apr 21, 2017 - 1:05 pm)

So I got an ineligible but submitted all my materials. Could anyone explain what I messed up?

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downwardslope (Apr 21, 2017 - 1:10 pm)

Did you get the 2 non referred 1 referred email? Or totally ineligible? Is 1 year experience required for this? I applied before the freeze so I cannot remember.

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mararum (Apr 21, 2017 - 1:27 pm)

I got one totally ineligible email. It was not nonreferred. I qualify under both work experience and education so it was a little what the hell.

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jdmaryland (Apr 21, 2017 - 1:20 pm)

My email today said "not referred, referred, not referred". I interviewed in the fall. I've received this email twice now and have asked HR what it means but never received a response.

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lawandwar (Apr 21, 2017 - 2:15 pm)

Yes i got two non reffered and one referred for the same position in interviewed for in the fall before the freeze. Maybe the are getting ready to make some decisions.

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lkskins (Apr 21, 2017 - 1:36 pm)

I also got the resent referral letters today...

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kramer716 (Apr 21, 2017 - 2:42 pm)

I also received the new referral letter, although my pattern was referred, not-referred, not-referred.

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lkskins (Apr 21, 2017 - 3:00 pm)

I checked on the VA application portal and mine is an exact copy of the one I got in November I have feeling they are reissuing them due to the length of time, hopefully we can skip the interviews if I'm right hahaha

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kramer716 (Apr 21, 2017 - 3:24 pm)

Agreed, although it wouldn't surprise me if they have us interview again.

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lkskins (Apr 21, 2017 - 4:30 pm)

Dammit I think I just got an email telling me I'm not the best qualified

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kramer716 (Apr 21, 2017 - 4:37 pm)

Same, and I am a bit pis-ed. If I just received the rejection then no worries, but to get the first referral email then the rejection is annoying. They can't just send out one email?

We probably have no shot, but I am not closing the door yet. If they screwed up by sending out the original email, then there is a chance they screwed up by sending out the rejection email. Again I don't understand why two emails were needed.

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lawrunner317 (Apr 21, 2017 - 4:48 pm)

My second email was a referral.

First was not referred, not referred, referred if that makes any difference.

Also, I never heard anything from them in the fall after applying in November. Today is the first contact they made with me.

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kramer716 (Apr 21, 2017 - 4:52 pm)

Looks like you have a decent shot then. I really don't understand the need for two emails in about a four hour period. Good luck.

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lawrunner317 (Apr 21, 2017 - 4:59 pm)

Not holding my breath on this one.

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lawandwar (Apr 21, 2017 - 4:51 pm)

im out. just got a letter saying not among highest qualified.

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kramer716 (Apr 21, 2017 - 4:55 pm)

Ah welcome to the island of misfit toys. I am annoyed at the way that we were rejected. If the decision to reject us was made after we interviewed then, maybe a rejection letter should have been sent out in December. They need to wait to the hiring freeze expires to not hire you?

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lkskins (Apr 21, 2017 - 4:56 pm)

I received a rejection from another position too so it seems like today was the big day to send out letters, annoying to not be referred even after interviewing after being referred

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kramer716 (Apr 21, 2017 - 4:58 pm)

Was it from the VA as well? I am still waiting to hear from Albuquerque for the SSA, but am not holding my breath on that one.

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lkskins (Apr 21, 2017 - 5:08 pm)

Nah it was from another agency ugh

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lkskins (Apr 21, 2017 - 5:18 pm)

Looking back to fedatty's post, they might be sending out referred letters to people who already moved on or turned them down so I don't know what to think anymore lol

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lawandwar (Apr 21, 2017 - 5:35 pm)

I cant lie, im completely discouraged. Ive been waiting since October last year to hear something, anything. Calling and leaving unanswered voicemails and emails. now this? like this? really, its like that? I blame trump.

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lkskins (Apr 21, 2017 - 6:07 pm)

They weren't lying when they said the VA was in the dumps I guess lolol but yea it's hard to keep going back and forth. Ugh.

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kramer716 (Apr 21, 2017 - 8:11 pm)

Yeah, I am not pleased. If I just received the rejection email, then I would have been disappointed, but I would not be as angry. I would still be ticked that the VA didn't send out the rejection stuff immediately after the interviews, or during the hiring freeze. I don't know why they would have to wait until the freeze was lifted to not hire people, but here we are. It's the fact that they sent out an email that seemed positive 4.5 hours before they sent out the rejection email. Are we referred or are we rejected? If we are rejected then why not change our status on USAJOBS to make it clear, this could have and should have been handled much better.

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lawandwar (Apr 21, 2017 - 8:33 pm)

I wholeheartedly agree. why build me up to let me down. This couldve been handled alot better, 6 full months of waiting for a lousy rejection letter. Not Highly qualified buy Highly disappointed!

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kramer716 (Apr 21, 2017 - 8:45 pm)

I pulled a Don Quixote and am charging another windmill. I sent out an email to the contact address listed asking for clarification. I know I will not hear anything, but I would like some semblance of an explanation as to what changed in less than five hours.

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lawandwar (Apr 21, 2017 - 8:54 pm)

I would like to know what their response is whenever they respond..

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kramer716 (Apr 21, 2017 - 8:58 pm)

Yeah I am not holding my breath, but I will let everyone know what the response is if I get one

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oddis500 (Apr 21, 2017 - 8:06 pm)

I wouldn't lose hope guys. I got notified that I WAS referred today, and I haven'e even interviewed. I don't think it means anything. I'm sure you guys that were interviewed have a much better shot than someone like me who never even got a call. Don't let this get you down- I don't think it actually means anything.

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kramer716 (Apr 21, 2017 - 8:15 pm)

The sad thing is no one knows. What it probably means is the VA interviewed us and didn't like us. You still have a shot because you were referred and have yet to go through the interview process, so they may still pick you up. Good luck with the process moving forward.

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lawandwar (Apr 21, 2017 - 8:35 pm)

Thats how the process works- you get referred and eventually an invitation to interview> you interview and then wait to be hired or get another referred notice like the one we recieved today. Good Luck.

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