You got the job at VA — now what?

What to expect during the on-boarding process and on your first day at VA


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You just heard the news — you got the job! First, let’s take a minute to enjoy the moment and say congratulations.

Next… well, what does come next? That’s a great question.

When you received the offer, the staffing specialist gave you an in-depth review of the on-boarding process and timeline, and briefly discussed benefits and compensation as well.

“The staffing specialist you are working with is dedicated to helping you through the process to fill the critical position you have applied and been selected for,” said Alisha Herzog, human resources specialist at VA’s Heartland Network VISN 15.

Navigating the on-boarding process

The VA on-boarding process is up next and that includes:

  • Completing personnel forms.
  • A physical, including lab work and possibly a drug test depending on your occupation.
  • A background investigation.
  • Fingerprinting.
  • Credentialing, if your occupation requires licensure or certification.

During this time, you’ll also determine your compensation, a process that will vary depending on your occupation.

Don’t worry if it all seems very different than any job you’ve had before.

“Since this process can differ vastly from what is expected in the private sector, it is not uncommon for candidates to become confused with the process,” Herzog said.

She recommends keeping in touch with your staffing specialist, as well as other helpful contacts like the supervisor of your new position and the service line administration team.

“We are excited to work you through the on-boarding process! Questions regarding the process are encouraged and will always be answered thoroughly,” Herzog said.

Typically, you’ll be ready to start in about 45 days for a licensed/certified position and 25 days for all others. The date also depends on how much notice you need to give your previous employer and how quickly you move through the on-boarding process.

Your first day

It’s time! Your first day at a new job is always a little overwhelming but knowing what to expect can help soothe your nerves.

You’ll meet with human resources staff to be sworn in and review personnel information for your file.

You’ll also receive new employee orientation with agency, facility and unit specific information, along with computer access information.

If you’re eligible for benefits, you’ll learn more about those in the orientation or through a webinar with a benefits specialist.

A lot of information will be coming at you through the on-boarding process and the new employee orientation. Be sure to reach out to your supervisor, human resources specialists and service administration with questions about how VA functions and how you can be successful.

“Take your time to delve into it, starting with getting to understand the programs of the agency and how you impact the care of our nation’s heroes,” Herzog recommended.

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