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Application Process

Join NRO for a rewarding career and become part of the exciting mission of ensuring our nation's security.

Because we're a member of the Intelligence Community, our hiring process can take a long time due to pre-employment requirements. Depending on your personal circumstances, such as how many times you've moved or changed jobs, where you've lived, your contact with foreign nationals, as well as overseas travel, the total process may take as little as two months to more than a year. 

All positions in the NRO are in the excepted service and covered by the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS), a General Grade (GG) pay system divided into grades and steps like OPM's General Schedule (GS) compensation system.

Application process information

What to expect after you apply

When the job announcement closes, recruiters review the applications, identify those who meet the qualifications and pass these applicants to the hiring manager for further consideration.

You may have to complete a video interview, where you will self-record answers to a handful of questions, or a hiring manager may interview you in person. The hiring manager determines who is the most qualified for the position and once the hiring manager selects an applicant, they will inform the recruiter. The recruiter will reach out to provide offer details and partner with our service provider to provide the applicant a tentative offer of employment.

What is a tentative offer of employment?

This offer of employment is tentative and contingent on successful completion of pre-employment processing which includes drug testing, a background investigation, a polygraph and suitability screening. The tentative offer of employment includes important information like occupation, grade and step, salary and general location. It will also include information and instructions on what you need to do to continue in the NRO hiring process.

Drug screen

Recent or frequent use of illegal drugs, including marijuana even in states whose laws permit its recreational or medical use, could raise a security concern, and may disqualify you. It is important to know that the IC is a drug-free workplace. During the application process, you will take a urine test to detect the presence of illegal or controlled substances. Once hired, IC employees are subject to random urinalysis testing.

If your test result is positive or you refuse to get tested, we will use this information to determine if you're eligible and may deny you employment.

If you are transferring directly from another federal agency and you have taken a test within the previous 12 months, you may not need drug testing.

How long does the selection process take?

The amount of time the selection process takes depends on how many applicants meet current hiring requirements and the assessment process.

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