Applying to Non-Honors DOJ Positions after Honors Program Rejection? Forum

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Applying to Non-Honors DOJ Positions after Honors Program Rejection?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 12, 2022 5:38 pm

Hello all. I've applied for and interviewed with a component of the DOJ Honors Program, and I don't think I'll end up getting the job. I see that the DOJ has a non-Honors Program trial attorney position posted on USAjobs for the same component, at the same pay grade, and in the same location. The USAjobs position is open and continuously hiring.

Would it make sense to apply to the USAjobs position if my beliefs about the Honors Program turn out to be correct? Has anybody been rejected from the Honors Program (not selected as a finalist) but been offered for the same position on USAjobs?

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Re: Applying to Non-Honors DOJ Positions after Honors Program Rejection?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 12, 2022 6:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 12, 2022 5:38 pm
Hello all. I've applied for and interviewed with a component of the DOJ Honors Program, and I don't think I'll end up getting the job. I see that the DOJ has a non-Honors Program trial attorney position posted on USAjobs for the same component, at the same pay grade, and in the same location. The USAjobs position is open and continuously hiring.

Would it make sense to apply to the USAjobs position if my beliefs about the Honors Program turn out to be correct? Has anybody been rejected from the Honors Program (not selected as a finalist) but been offered for the same position on USAjobs?
There's no reason not to apply. I don't know that you'll find a lot of people who've been in this situation b/c most agencies that run Honors programs don't really hire entry-level attorneys outside of the Honors program, so not that many Honors applicants will have the requisite years of experience to apply to a non-Honors position. (Most DOJ non-Honors positions will require 3 or more years of experience, which most Honors applicants won't have, but some ask for a year of experience, and clerking counts, so the situation is of course possible.) But it always makes sense to apply, unless an employer has literally told you never to apply again or something. You don't know enough about who's involved in hiring for each of those positions, or who else is applying, to rule yourself out. If you don't get the Honors gig, you could be their next choice candidate and they'll be happy to hire you through the alternate route. Or you may get rejected, who knows (maybe they'll get lots of uber-experienced candidates), but even then you're no worse off than you are now.

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Re: Applying to Non-Honors DOJ Positions after Honors Program Rejection?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 12, 2022 7:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 12, 2022 6:10 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 12, 2022 5:38 pm
Hello all. I've applied for and interviewed with a component of the DOJ Honors Program, and I don't think I'll end up getting the job. I see that the DOJ has a non-Honors Program trial attorney position posted on USAjobs for the same component, at the same pay grade, and in the same location. The USAjobs position is open and continuously hiring.

Would it make sense to apply to the USAjobs position if my beliefs about the Honors Program turn out to be correct? Has anybody been rejected from the Honors Program (not selected as a finalist) but been offered for the same position on USAjobs?
There's no reason not to apply. I don't know that you'll find a lot of people who've been in this situation b/c most agencies that run Honors programs don't really hire entry-level attorneys outside of the Honors program, so not that many Honors applicants will have the requisite years of experience to apply to a non-Honors position. (Most DOJ non-Honors positions will require 3 or more years of experience, which most Honors applicants won't have, but some ask for a year of experience, and clerking counts, so the situation is of course possible.) But it always makes sense to apply, unless an employer has literally told you never to apply again or something. You don't know enough about who's involved in hiring for each of those positions, or who else is applying, to rule yourself out. If you don't get the Honors gig, you could be their next choice candidate and they'll be happy to hire you through the alternate route. Or you may get rejected, who knows (maybe they'll get lots of uber-experienced candidates), but even then you're no worse off than you are now.

The position I'm looking at only requires one year of post-law school experience, and I'm currently clerking right now. Have you heard of anybody doing something like this?

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Re: Applying to Non-Honors DOJ Positions after Honors Program Rejection?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 12, 2022 9:12 pm

I don’t know of anyone who’s been rejected by the honors program who’s gotten a separately posted entry level job, but as I already said, it isn’t that common a situation to arise. I do know a couple of people who’ve been hired from clerking, but that’s going to depend on a lot of factors - I don’t think it’s impossible although I also don’t think it’s really common.

But again, that shouldn’t stop you from applying. If you got interviewed, you were a plausible candidate. If you don’t get the honors position (too early to rule yourself out now), that doesn’t necessarily mean they rejected you as in they thought you weren’t a good fit for the job; it may be that there were just other candidates who were that little bit better.

Now it is possible that they decided you were lacking in some necessary quality/experience that they will still want to see in the non-Honors applicants and so you won’t get the job. Or because it’s not limited to entry level folk like the Honors program is, you will be up against a lot more experienced people and won’t get the job. But those aren’t reasons not to apply.

I guess I’m not really sure what your question is really about. Hearing from someone who has done this won’t mean that it will work out for you, and not hearing about anyone who’s done this won’t mean nobody ever can succeed in doing this. So why are you asking - what are you particularly concerned about?

FWIW, I work for DOJ and don’t think anyone in the government looks down on repeated applications.

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Re: Applying to Non-Honors DOJ Positions after Honors Program Rejection?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 12, 2022 10:54 pm

Well, I think you answered it! I'm more concerned about seeming desperate by applying twice.

The interviews I had this time went well, and the hiring managers thought I was well-prepared and clearly interested in the topic. I just think I won't get the job because my references have yet to be checked when others' have already been contacted.

Did you get in via the Honors Program?

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Re: Applying to Non-Honors DOJ Positions after Honors Program Rejection?

Post by fancybagman » Sun Nov 13, 2022 11:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 12, 2022 10:54 pm
Well, I think you answered it! I'm more concerned about seeming desperate by applying twice.

A whole lot of excellent AUSAs and Trial Attorneys had to apply more than once before being hired. Multiple applications isn’t desperate, it’s dedication and DOJ understands this. Good luck!

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