DCSA not hiring experienced investigators

I am an Investigator with 10+years experience in the field. Thought I would apply for a fed position with DCSA even though of the massive pay cut. I was emailed saying I wasn’t referred for the position! Anyone else get the boot from DCSA even though you meet all qualifications and more for the job? I guess they want the inexperienced folks that don’t know what they are doing.

I don’t know what the secret is to getting the “golden ticket”. In my area, 2 investigators with experience just jumped to DCSA. I was not referred for an interview, even though I am experienced. Only difference I can see is that the 2 are younger than me. Many of the comments on this board in the other thread seem to be from people not in this field (not with contractors), so, who knows?

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My daughter who is experienced did a panel interview for Investigator and wasn’t chosen because she said something about being efficient and getting the job done. They want people who put on a cloak and dagger drama show with a sprinkle of superiority and drag cases from here to eternity because of their importance. That’s who they hired anyway.

As someone who has been on the hiring panels, let me say your soft skills can and will matter most in the interview. Your experience will get you an interview, it is up to you to close the deal and I say that as someone who has not been selected for a few jobs I really wanted. Just because you may be experienced does not guarantee you a job and more often than not, someone with your same experience or even more simply just interviewed better than you.


As some one that has been on both sides and not a cloak and dagger drama person - not everyone gets hired.

We have a lot of people apply for these positions. A lot of people. Being a former contractor is not a guarantee of being successful and is not a golden ticket into DCSA.

DCSA hires a lot of former contractors, especially recently. There are no age restrictions either.

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Yeah, the thing is, I was not referred to the hiring manager even for an interview. So, got to think they don’t want qualified people for the positions.

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I imagine there are at least a hundred applications (probably more like two hundred) from experienced contract investigators for every position that pops up on USAJobs. Keep in mind that the federal hiring process (like any HR operation) is far from perfect or efficient. The effort to get any federal job is an exercise in persistence and patience.


Current federal employees, former federal employees, and veterans are preferred over experience. The only time this is not the case is if the hiring is a special exception, which rarely happens.

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You were not. DCSA Federal employment does not fall under title 5 and can hire/fire differently than GS.

Understanding that, we still have a snot load of people, including veterans, that apply for these positions.

We have been hiring a lot of former, very experienced, contractors for our positions this last fall. These are contractors willing to take the initial pay cut to eventually make the money up.

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Location really has a lot to do with it as well. So many DCSA investigators I know have initially been hired in the DC area and then later transfer to the area they prefer. Living in DC area to start is a good way to get the initial hire.


DCSA is most definitely hiring a mix of experienced and brand new investigators.

For those of you who are current contractors and not getting referrals, I would start by revamping your resume.

Go on LinkedIn search DCSA special agent. Find as many resumes as you can, take the best wording out of each that fit your skills.

Look at the job description on usajobs , make sure you hit each of those points on your resume. Look at the posting and the questions that the actual application asks. Write out the answer and revise. Repeat. Keep revising until you have a good resume and answers to the application questions. Then revise again.

If you are a contractor you know the buzz words, use them. Quality, efficiency, timeliness, leadership, ability to be a team player while working independently etc.

If the job description says an investigator needs to have the skill of being able to talk to everyone, then your resume needs to say that you have that ability. My resume is 4 pages long. I was a contractor for over a decade.

Then apply like mad. I started applying in March 2021 to every posting in a city that I thought I could work and live in for 2-4 years.

I looked every morning for new postings. I had my application ready to go. I easily applied to 15 or more posting for investigators all over the West coast, Midwest, and South. I didn’t want to work DC and East coast. This was my personal preference.

I kept revising the resume until I was referred and interviewed. I lost track of how many times I applied and was referred or not referred.

I interviewed 6 times with 6 different panel interviews from June to August. Each interview is about an hour or more with 5-6 people rating you. Most had me do a writing sample (timed) after the interview.

I accepted a position with DCSA as an agent in October 2021. I was offered two positions in vastly different duty stations. Was either location my dream location? No. I took the one that had the best cost of living and that I felt I would like the workload.

Yes it’s this competitive, it is a full time job looking for a job.

I am happy with my decision to leave contracting and go fed.

Was I ready to give up? More than once.


I suggest that you do a Google search about how to write a resume for the Federal government. It is much different than for industry. I applied for a number of jobs with the DoD while working as a DOD contractor, and could never get referred to hiring managers. I took a one day seminar on writing resumes for the DOD. Once I changed my resume as they suggested, I was very frequently referred. One tip they provided is that details about how not just what you have done should be included. If your resume is not at least five pages and maybe even seven pages, you probably haven’t included enough detail. The NAFRE offers a book on writing resumes for the Federal government that you might find beneficial.

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Not just what you have done, but… what you havent done? what you wished you had done? I think something is missing from this statement and it seems to be the key

How you accomplished the tasks. What was the process you used. Describe the applications used, mention the official Websites from which you accessed files or information, etc.


I hear what you are saying about “younger” and I feel it’s because contracting companies can pay them less than someone who has been doing this for some time. I’m am settled with just one contracting position and another “direct contract” but am seeing the contracting company has hired a lot of “teenagers” and throw a lot of work their way. The case managers are now in the position of “teaching” the newbies. Some of us know more than the case managers and when they come at us with crazy requirements it’s a difficult situation.

This is very interesting…

It’s a federal job. Like all federal jobs you HAVE TO SPECIFICALLY ADDRESS THE “SPECIALIZED SKILLS” in the job announcement. It doesn’t matter what your experience level is or how long you’ve been in the career field. If your resume misses the key words in the specialized skills area of the announcement, chances are strong that you will not get the computer referral to the hiring manager.

Also, if your applying for a federal job in usajobs.com, USE the resume builder they provide you. Your chances are greater using that than submitting your own personalized resume.

If you are using a personal resume, here is a trick that will get you past the computers. Copy and paste the entire announcement to the end of your resume. Then, on those pages change the font to clear. It looks like blank pages BUT it’s not, it’s clear font. The computers still read it and all the key words and phrases are recognized and the computer refers your package to the next step.

This is false.

I use a personalized resume and am referred and interviewed on most applications.

It really doesn’t matter if you use the built resume or a personal resume, if you have the experience which allows you to qualify, you’ll likely get referred.

Also, the myth about getting past the computer is partially true. Most agencies use human scanners. [USAJOBS Help Center | Resumes are scanned for keywords by an automated system](https://USAJOBS Resume Myths)

I said “your chances are greater” using the federal resume. This response was geared towards someone struggling to get referred and the recommended method is the resume builder. If they aren’t getting referred and are qualified why not use the method provided and see what happens? I know plenty use their own resume but I also know plenty that use the resume builder. Also, the majority of large federal agencies do not have the HR Personnel available to manually look at each application. The computer is used, initially, to scan for key words from the specialized experience area. Then, application forwarded to the next step, which could be an HR person to further screen or to the hiring manager who picks the applications to continue to the interview.

I think you are both right. I say this because using the resume builder will increase the odds that one includes all of the government required resume content not usually expected for a commercial resume, e.g., hours worked per week and supervisor’s name. However, if one writes their own resume and includes all of the required “extra” information on it, then it is just as good as a USA Jobs resume tool generated one.

A big difference between commercial resume requirements and government resume requirements has to do with the amount of included content. Most commercial resumes (outside of academia) are expected to be one to two pages in length and limited to high level summary information. Government resumes are expected to be five to seven pages in length(or more) and include detailed information regarding not only accomplishments, but information detailing how key work tasks were accomplished.

Definitely take the time to modify your resume for each job application so that it includes word-for-word statements from the job announcement of key tasks/requirements spread throughout your job history speaking to how your past experience has included and or qualifies you for these key tasks/requirements. This is key to getting your resume forwarded to the hiring manager.

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