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We understand that questions can arise throughout the application and hiring process.

To assist you, we’ve provided answers here for some of the questions we see most often. If your question is not listed below, please call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and press 1 for technical help with your application or press 3 to reach your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

 

Before You Apply

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Will my disability prevent me from getting a 2020 Census position?

The U.S. Census Bureau is an equal opportunity employer. All people are encouraged to apply. If you need assistance applying, please contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

If you are interviewed, you can also inquire about accommodations during the interview process.

English is not my first language. Am I still eligible for a 2020 Census position?

Applicants who are bilingual in English and other languages are encouraged to apply. However, all hires in the 50 states and Washington, D.C., must be able to speak, read, and write in English.

In Puerto Rico, applicants who do not speak English, but do speak Spanish, can be hired as census takers. However, other positions in Puerto Rico require applicants to be fluent in English and Spanish.

Can noncitizens be hired to work on the 2020 Census?

Only U.S. citizens are eligible to be hired.

If I am a veteran, do I get veterans’ preference?

If you are a veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces and were separated under honorable conditions, you may be eligible for veterans’ preference. With veterans’ preference, you may receive preference over nonveteran applicants in the hiring process.

When claiming veterans’ preference, you must provide a copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or other acceptable documentation. Applicants claiming 10-point preference will need to submit Form SF-15 and related supporting documentation. You can find the SF-15 here.

For more information, visit the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Veterans’ Preference page.

Is there an age limit for employment?

There is no cap on the age for employment. However, you must be at least 18 years or older to be hired for all positions.

 

Other Special Circumstances

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Will current federal employees be eligible to work as census takers?

Some federal employees working at agencies that have a dual employment agreement with the Census Bureau can work in 2020 Census positions. Under Title 13, United States Code, Section 23(b), the Census Bureau may hire federal employees upon approval of agency directors, but only for temporary, short-term work on the 2020 Census.

To be considered, you must complete a job application online. The agencies below have dual employment agreements for 2020 Census positions. Check back periodically for updates to this list.

  • American Battle Monuments Commission
  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Department of Defense (Civilian Employees)
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of State
  • Department of Transportation
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Federal Election Commission
  • Federal Maritime Commission
  • General Services Administration
  • Government Publishing Office
  • Inter-American Foundation
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • Library of Congress
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
  • National Capital Planning Commission
  • National Labor Relations Board
  • National Science Foundation
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board
  • Peace Corps
  • Railroad Retirement Board
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Social Security Administration
  • U.S. Agency for Global Media
  • U.S. Agency for International Development
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of the Interior
  • U.S. Election Assistance Commission
  • U.S. Office of Personnel Management
  • United States Postal Service
  • Veterans Affairs

 


 

Applying Online

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I have established an account on USAJobs. Am I able to use this account to apply for 2020 Census positions?

No, you will need to visit the 2020 Census recruitment site to apply for 2020 Census positions.

I worked during the 2010 Census. How do I apply?

Former employees that worked during the 2010 Census will need to apply for 2020 Census positions.  When applying online you must creat a profile by selecting "First Time Applicants Register Here" and follow the instructions.  Once you create your profile you will be sent an email with a link back to the log in page.  Click on the link in the email to verify your email address. You will be taken back to the login screen.  Click on the "Returning Applicants" link to complete the application.

What should I do if I don’t know my Social Security number (SSN)?

You cannot apply without a Social Security number. Visit the Social Security Administration site or contact your local Social Security Administration office to access your information.

I believe someone applied to 2020 Census positions using my personal information. What should I do?

Contact your area census office. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your local office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. You should also consider contacting the local police department if you suspect someone is using your personal information. 

If my address changes, how will this affect my application or job offer?

If you move after you have received a job offer, the offer may be withdrawn. However, 2020 Census jobs are available across the country. Contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

I don’t want to submit some of the information requested on the application. Can I refuse to provide the information and still be hired?

If you do not provide the information noted as required, your application will not be considered.

If I have problems uploading my documents with the online application, or if I don’t have my documents available at the time I apply, what should I do?

The supporting documentation may be necessary to determine whether you qualify. You can log back in to your account to upload the documentation or you can submit your supporting documentation to your area census office after you submit your application. Contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

If you mail or fax supporting documentation, please include a cover sheet with the following information:

  • Your full name (as it appears on the application you submitted)
  • The last four digits of your Social Security number
  • Your phone number
  • Your email address (as it appears on the application you submitted)

 

Assessment Questions

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What are the assessment questions like?

The assessment questions ask applicants to describe their education, work, and other experience that relates to successful job performance. 

If I apply for multiple positions, am I required to answer more assessment questions?

Answers to the basic assessment questions are required for all positions and take approximately 10 minutes to answer. Applicants interested in supervisory positions will be asked to answer an additional set of questions, which take an additional 10 minutes to answer.

Can I answer the assessment questions online?

The assessment questions are part of the application process. You can apply and complete the assessment questions online.

Can I see some examples of the types of assessment questions that will be asked?

The basic assessment questions are similar to the following:

 

Example 1

My previous supervisors (or teachers, if not previously employed) would likely describe my self-discipline as:

  1. Superior
  2. Above average
  3. Average
  4. Below average
  5. Do not know

 

Example 2

I dislike being the center of attention.

  1. Mostly true
  2. Mostly false

 

The supervisory assessment questions are similar to the following:

 

Example 1

Which of the following administrative activities have you carried out to ensure others had the materials, supplies, and equipment needed to carry out their work? (Select all that apply. If “None of the above” is selected, be sure this is the ONLY response for this item.)

  1. Maintained inventory of office materials and supplies
  2. Coordinated requests for materials, equipment, or supplies to ensure operational needs were met
  3. Shipped supplies, materials, or equipment using a shipping carrier (e.g., FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service)
  4. Tracked shipments via carrier website to ensure proper delivery
  5. None of the above

 

Example 2

Select the ONE response that represents your highest level of experience working with others to accomplish goals.

  1. I have limited experience working with others to achieve goals.
  2. I have experience sharing information with others when asked and cooperating to complete routine tasks.
  3. I have participated in project-related team activities by contributing to group discussions and accepting team assignments.
  4. I have contributed to team performance by helping to lead group discussions, establish priorities, and develop timelines and action plans.
  5. I have served as a project or team leader, including directing and monitoring the work of the team, motivating team members, and taking responsibility for attaining team goals.

How will the Census Bureau use my assessment answers?

Your answers to the assessment questions will be used along with your background information to determine your fit for a specific opening.

Why was I asked to complete a test of English proficiency?

All 2020 Census employees in the 50 states and Washington, D.C., must be able to speak, read, and write in English. If you choose to read and answer the assessment questions in Spanish, then you are asked to take the English Proficiency Test to help us determine how well you can read and understand English.

Puerto Rico applicants who are bilingual in English and Spanish must take the English Proficiency Test to qualify for positions other than census taker. All other positions require applicants to be proficient in English.

I am having technical difficulties answering the English Proficiency Test questions. Who can I call for help?

Contact our Customer Engagement Center at 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 1 for technical help. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. 

 


 

After Applying

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I would like to update my application? What do I do?

Applicants can update their application by logging back into their accounts.  Once you log in, you will see a button labeled, "Update Application."  If the button does not appear, it may be that your application is not far enough along in the process to be updated.  Please check back again later if you do not see the button.  Be aware that some changes will require you to provide proper documentation of the change, which could include uploading the documentation to your application.

I have applied. When can I expect to receive a job offer?

Because we need to fill thousands of positions across the country, we start recruiting several months before making job offers. Depending on when you apply, it may be several weeks or several months before we start hiring in your area. Not all applicants will be hired.

The good news is that your application will remain in our applicant pool for the entire 2020 Census operation (unless you ask us to remove it). That way your application could potentially be considered whenever we have openings in your area. You may update the information on your application at any time. Just log in to the account created when you applied and submit your changes.

For more specific information about the hiring timeline in your area, contact your area census office. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

If offered a job, when will I begin work?

If selected, you will receive an email with information on completing your background check and hiring paperwork. These steps must be completed to receive information about training. The process can take several weeks from job offer to your first day of training.

How should I contact the Census Bureau to receive updates on the status of my application?

You can check the status of your application by logging in to the account created when you applied. You will receive an email notification when the status of your application changes. Status updates also will be available through the online system.

My status has been updated to “selected.” Does this mean I have been hired by the Census Bureau?

Selected applicants are candidates who have been offered a job and accepted the offer. Selected applicants must complete the background check process and report to work before they are officially hired. They are hired when they are sworn in and have taken the oath of office, which usually happens on the first day on the job. 

Why is my status “ineligible,” and what does that mean?

There are a variety of reasons a candidate might be ineligible for a position. Contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your local office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

In some cases, ineligible applicants may become eligible if their status changes. For example, some applicants are ineligible because they are under age 18. Once they turn 18 years old, they can be considered.

If you have been fingerprinted and something in your background check made you ineligible, you can learn more by contacting the Census Investigative Service at 1-301-763-2622 or 1-877-591-3755, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

I think my status is incorrect. How can I resolve this?

Contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. 

I was contacted by the Census Bureau and asked to provide additional information for my application. Is this normal, and how can I submit that additional information?

Your answers to certain questions on the job application may prompt the need for follow-up. This is normal.

To submit the information, contact your area census office. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. 

 

Job Interviews

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How will my job interview be conducted?

Your interview will be conducted by phone.

What time will my interviewer call me?

Your interviewer may call at different times of the day, including evening hours.

What happens if I miss the interview call?

The interviewer is instructed to leave a voice message that includes a callback number; however, an interviewer will attempt to reach you later. You can contact your area census office to follow up. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

Am I guaranteed to receive an interview?

No, not all qualified applicants will be interviewed. 

I missed the interview call(s) and the position is no longer available. Am I guaranteed a different position?

We do not guarantee positions. However, you may be contacted again if another position becomes available in your area.

Can I schedule an in-person interview?

All interviews are conducted by phone.

 

Job Offers

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How will I receive my job offer?

All selectees will receive a verbal offer by phone and will also receive a job offer letter by email.

How much time do I have to respond to my job offer?

Typically, job offers are accepted or declined at the time of the interview.

Is my job offer contingent upon a background check?

Yes, employment is contingent upon successfully completing a background check.

Am I eligible to work elsewhere during my employment with the Census Bureau?

You may have another job while working on the 2020 Census as long as your job does not present a conflict of interest. Active duty military members cannot work for the Census Bureau.

Why did I not receive a job offer?

Not all qualified applicants are offered a job. If you have received a verbal job offer and have not received a job offer letter by email, please contact your area census office. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

What happens if I decline a job offer? Will I still be considered for other positions I applied to?

If you decline a job offer you will be placed back into the applicant pool for all positions for which you qualify. If you decline job offers three times, you will be removed from the applicant pool.

Am I eligible for health insurance benefits?

Employees are eligible for health insurance based on the position for which they are hired.  If you are offered a position, you may inquire about health insurance at that time.

Can I be hired for multiple positions?

You can be hired for only one position at a time, but you can be considered for additional work if it becomes available in your area.

I already accepted a position but have been contacted for a second position that I would prefer. What should I do?

Contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your local office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. 

Can I accept a job offer that I previously declined?

Once you decline a job offer, you cannot accept it at a later date. Your application will be returned to the applicant pool and you may be offered another job at a later time.

Can I delay my offer?

Job offers cannot be delayed. However, if you are offered a job and are not available for work until a later date, please inform the interviewer. Your status will be updated and you may be considered after the stated date if work is available.

Why was someone I know hired before or instead of me?

The information on your application is used to evaluate your fit for a specific opening. Some applicants are a better fit for positions than others. Not all qualified applicants will be hired.

 


 

After the Job Offer

Background Check

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Why does the Census Bureau conduct a background check and require my fingerprints?

All candidates who receive a tentative job offer from the Census Bureau will be required to have their fingerprints taken. Furthermore, candidates applying for certain positions will be required to complete a background questionnaire. The Census Bureau takes public trust seriously and is working to ensure that temporary workers undergo the most accurate background checks possible. Thus, all employees are fingerprinted and the fingerprint images are submitted to the FBI for processing.

What does the background check consist of?

The Census Bureau performs background checks and reviews criminal records as part of assessing applicants’ past conduct and suitability for employment. All candidates who receive a tentative offer for temporary 2020 Census jobs go through a pre-appointment process. The Census Bureau will require them to be fingerprinted and will submit an electronic image of the fingerprints to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division. The FBI database is searched to see if the prints are associated with a criminal record.

Candidates will have the opportunity to correct inaccuracies and provide information requested by Census Investigative Services. 

Can I pick up paper copies of the background forms if I cannot print them at home?

It is the selected applicant’s responsibility to fill out and print all required forms and bring them to their appointment. Applicants will receive information about how to access the forms via email.

Will I be reimbursed for the cost of printing my background check forms?

Applicants won’t be reimbursed for printing their background forms.

Will I be reimbursed for the cost of the trip to my background check and fingerprinting appointment?

Applicants won’t be reimbursed for travel to that appointment.

Is there someone who can help me complete the background check forms?

Applicants may contact the Census Investigative Services at 1-301-763-2622 or 1-877-591-3755, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. 

How much time do I have to complete my background check?

Contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. 

Why did I receive an email asking for additional information after my background check? How can I submit that information?

This could mean that adverse information was received in your background check or that clarification is required based on your response to a specific question. Instructions will be provided if you are contacted for additional information.

What should I do if I don’t have access to the documentation requested for my background check?

Attempt to obtain or locate the requested information or contact the Census Investigative Services at 1-301-763-2622 or 1-877-591-3755, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, for assistance. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. 

Can I still submit the additional information for my background check, even though the deadline indicated in the request has passed?

Yes, provided you requested an extension prior to the deadline. Contact the Census Investigative Services at 1-301-763-2622 or at 1-877-591-3755, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, for assistance. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. 

My background check status has been pending for a long time. When will my background check results be determined?

Once the reviewers receive a complete security package, the background check results will be determined as quickly as possible. Contact the Census Investigative Services at 1-301-763-2622 or toll-free at 1-877-591-3755, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, for assistance. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

Can I work for the government if I am an ex-offender?

The Census Bureau considers your criminal conduct in determining your suitability for a position, but there are no general prohibitions on hiring you. The Census Bureau considers a number of relevant factors, such as the duties associated with any positions you applied for, the nature of the misconduct and how recent it was, and any evidence of rehabilitation. It is important to provide all the required information about your criminal record when it is requested. The only way to know if you’re eligible is to apply.

What is e-QIP, and how will the information I provide be used?

Electronic Questionnaires for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) is an electronic system managed by the Office of Personnel Management that allows prospective hires or contractors to submit their security questionnaires (e.g., SF-85, SF-85P, and SF-86).

 

Fingerprinting Appointment

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Whom do I contact about setting up my fingerprinting appointment?

Upon selection, you will receive contact information by email for fingerprinting. If you have not received this information, please contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.

Do I have to pay for fingerprinting services?

There is no cost to you for fingerprinting services.

I have more detailed questions about the fingerprinting process. Whom do I contact?

Please contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. 

I do not consent to providing my fingerprints. Am I still eligible to be hired for a 2020 Census position?

No. Employment is contingent upon successfully completing a background check, which includes providing fingerprints.

What forms and types of identification do I need to bring to my fingerprinting appointment?

The employment confirmation letter you receive by email will contain a list of acceptable identification documents.

What if I don’t have the types of identification needed for the fingerprinting appointment?

You will be turned away if you do not bring the proper identification described in the employment confirmation letter.

Will I receive a copy of my background check results?

Applicants will not receive a copy of their background check results. If the Census Bureau receives adverse information in your security package, you will be given an opportunity to address the matter.

 

Training

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Will I be paid during training?

Yes. You will be paid during training at a slightly lower rate than your regular hourly rate.

Can I reschedule my classroom training? How?

Rescheduling training is generally not possible. However, you can contact your area census office about rescheduling. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. 

Will I be reimbursed for the cost of my trip to my first day of training?

Employees will be reimbursed for mileage, parking, tolls, or other related expenses to attend training. If employees are asked to travel and spend the night at a location for training, then they will be reimbursed for those related expenses as well.

What do I need to bring to training?

You will receive an email with instructions on when and where training will be held and what to bring.

What is the time commitment for training?

The position that you have been selected for will determine your time commitment for training. You should have received this information when you were offered the position or by email. If you did not, please contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. 

Will my disability prevent me from participating in training?

Please contact your area census office for more information. Call 1-855-JOB-2020 (1-855-562-2020) and select option 3; when prompted, enter your ZIP code to be routed to your area census office. You may also use the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII. 

What happens if I do not complete the training?

If you do not complete the training, you will not receive a work assignment.

 


 

Ready to Apply?

Take the next step toward joining our team! Complete your application today.


The U.S. Census Bureau is an equal opportunity employer.

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