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    Postal Service Hiring Process Cover
Report Number:
Report Type:
Audit Reports
Category: Delivering for America, Human Resources

Postal Service Hiring Practices


The U.S. Postal Service has experienced issues with hiring and retaining employees, particularly among pre-career employees. This is due, in part, to the national unemployment rate overall being low, impacting most employers as they compete for talent. In September 2019, the Postal Service adopted a new centralized hiring process. The goals of this hiring initiative included shortening the time to hire by promptly extending job offers, getting applicants on the payroll, and eliminating interviews for most bargaining positions. The Postal Service measures the time it takes to hire an applicant (time to hire) from the date the job posting closed to the date an employee’s personnel and payroll records are created. Addressing unnecessary or prolonged steps with the goal of streamlining the hiring process will allow the Postal Service to timely hire external applicants.

What We Did

Our objective was to assess the Postal Service’s hiring practices for bargaining employees. We evaluated the hiring process for external applicants applying for Rural Carrier Associate, City Carrier Assistant, Postal Support Employee, and Mail Handler Assistant positions. We conducted site visits at 21 judgmentally selected facilities and interviewed district managers, human resources personnel, and facility management to determine their involvement in the hiring process.

What We Found

The Postal Service generally improved its practices for timely hiring external applicants. From fiscal years (FY) 2021 to 2023, the Postal Service decreased nationwide average time to hire by 35 percent. Although the Postal Service significantly reduced the number of days to hire employees, it continues to experience challenges with hiring in certain areas, specifically with getting applicants to apply for certain pre-career positions. From FY 2021 to FY 2023, the Postal Service posted over 700,000 pre-career jobs nationwide. However, it did not receive any applications for more than half of those positions. Additionally, opportunities exist to improve the external job application process to aid in attracting and retaining suitable applicants including, providing applicants specific and accurate knowledge of job requirements.

Recommendations and Management’s Comments

We made three recommendations to address the hiring challenges and process improvements identified in the report. Postal Service management agreed with one recommendation and disagreed with two. Management’s comments and our evaluation are at the end of each finding and recommendation. The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) considers management’s comments responsive to recommendation three, and the corrective action should resolve the issue identified in the report.

Report Recommendations

# Recommendation Status Value Initial Management Response USPS Proposed Resolution OIG Response Final Resolution

Develop and communicate a plan with specific actions, milestones, and metrics to attract more applicants in locations with hiring challenges.

Open $0 Disagree

Provide facility management an opportunity to include facility specific information when requesting a job posting to help ensure external applicants are aware of job requirements.

Open $0 Disagree

Reiterate the benefits to facility management of conducting an informational session with new applicants on facility specifics and job expectations.

Open $0 Agree