ELEVATE 2024 Career Fair Kickoff – Employer Intro – U.S. Digital Service (Video + Transcript)

March 26, 2024

Hear USDS employees share about the organization’s culture, values, and mission, as well as the opportunities for growth and development within the organization. Learn about how the company grows employees professionally, any initiatives or projects that the company is working on, more about the roles and teams hiring, and the interview process!


U.S. Digital Service’s Deputy Director, Talent Management Shavonne Holman and Talent Operations Specialist Mariah Casimir share why they enjoy working at the U.S. Digital Service and how the interview process works. Learn how to apply to U.S. Digital Service!

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Shavonne Holman:

Thank you, Angie. I’m so glad to be here. Again, my name is Shavonne Holman and I’m the deputy director of talent management. And just super excited to be here today to talk with you all about what I would say is one of the coolest organizations in the federal government, the United States Digital Service. And here with my colleague, and I’ll allow her to introduce herself.

Mariah Casimir:

Hi everyone. I’m equally as excited as Shavonne to talk with you all today about the US Digital Service. As Angie mentioned, I am the onboarding guru for USDS, so I’ll be talking about all things hiring once I get through the presentation. So I’ll pass it back to Shavonne to get us started.

Shavonne Holman:

Awesome. Thanks, Mariah. And so the United States Digital Service was founded in 2014 to really change the government’s approach to technology. We’re located in the executive office of the president at the White House, and we are a nonpartisan organization on a mission to really deliver better government services to the American people, and that’s through technology and design.

We do this by really partnering with other federal agencies, and I think we work with about 30 at this point to really create, update, redesign, reimagine, and transform government services for the better. USDS really tries to fulfill our mission by working across government and approaching our work, keeping our six core values in mind, which are hiring and empowering great people, finding the truth and telling the truth, optimizing for results, not optics, going where the work is, creating momentum around that work and designing with users of services, not for them.

This really means that we are human centered in all the work that we do. As mentioned earlier by Angie, one of the things I love most about working at USDS is that we are a limited term serving … we have a limited term serving structure at the White House, and we work on projects that really impact the American people.

But because of our term limits, our employees really bring their skills and passion to do the greatest amount of good in a limited amount of time. And so that’s super exciting to know that we have such smart people coming here for a limited amount of time to really use what they have, use all of their expertise to make the most impact to the American people. And this also really means that we are constantly hiring top talent to really support these projects that shift the way the government works.

Because we’re on those limited terms, we’re always looking to backfill with top talent to keep these projects going that really impact the American people. And so our teams are a mix of engineers, data scientists, product managers, designers, procurement specialists, communications, operations and talent professionals. The list goes on.

And for nearly 10 years, we’ve grown from just a handful of folks to more than 200 professionals that each play a vital role in USDS’s collective success. And through that time, we’ve really enabled the delivery of dozens of improved services and supported the curation and formation of digital service delivery teams to really expand and continue the important work that we’re doing, really trying to create a long-term impact in the federal government.

USDS selects projects that really bring about substantial change for the greatest number of people in the greatest good, excuse me, in the greatest need. And so our projects touch the lives of American people like veterans, immigrants, refugees, children, patients, doctors, small businesses, people with disabilities, job seekers, students.

The list goes on. Some way, every American should be represented, and we want to make sure that the services that we offer are directly impacting those people. I really just wanted to take some time to share a few of the recent projects that we’ve worked on. One being working with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

We’ve actually worked with them for over nine years now, which has included us helping them relaunch their main website, va.gov. And this really allows for veterans to access the services offered by the Veterans Affairs. Over time we’ve seen that about half of all veterans visiting the VA’s website, were using a mobile device.

Our support led to the VA building and launching a top-rated mobile app in late 2021 that lets veterans do an expanding array of important tasks such as checking their benefits, booking appointments, messaging healthcare providers, and looking for lists of their VA payments. And since its launch, over one million veterans have used the app and it’s garnered nearly perfect ratings in the app store with over 80,000 five star reviews.

And so we’re super proud about that. We’re super thrilled of the impact that it has made in really helping veterans to take advantage of the benefits that are offered to them. We’ve also worked with the Department of Health and Human Services. We have a zero to five life experience team.

And that team really sets out to listen to families nationwide and really understand their lives as parents of babies and young children. And we really want to see how the government can reduce burdens from programs that are offered to them and better support them through those programs.

Based on the research that we found, USDS and HHS launched several projects to support better maternal and child health with one of those projects being the newborn supply kit. We also supported the effort in response to the infant formula crisis last year. So we’re doing amazing things, right? Through dedication and collaboration, we are really making government services more accessible, secure, and user-friendly one project at a time.

And if anything that I said today has piqued your interest in any way, and you have questions on how to be a part of this impactful work, we ask that you stick around to hear my colleague Mariah, who will be diving into the hiring process and how you can be a part of the team here at USDS. So thank you so much, and I’ll hand it over to Mariah.

Mariah Casimir:

Thanks, Shavonne. All right, everyone. So I’m going to dive into what our hiring process will look like into government, especially for USDS. So that first step will be to submit an application. It’s super short and takes about two minutes to complete. And as Shavonne mentioned, all of our roles are term limited, meaning we are all here for at least two years. This is to keep, like she said, a constant influx of talent into government.

The next step would be that our technical experts will review your resume and application criteria. So that means our team will evaluate your application and decide if your background and experience may be a good fit for one of our communities of practice. So that includes product, design, engineering, including data science, procurement, operations, talent and communications. If your resume is a good match and a recruiter reaches out to discuss your … a recruiter will reach out to you to discuss your background in USDS.

You’ll speak with a technical talent recruiter who will answer your questions about working at USDS. You’ll also have the opportunity to tell us about your background and go over any of your questions. And then after that, you’ll begin interviewing and USDS evaluations. So you’ll participate up to three interviews.

That’ll include two technical and one behavioral to address your technical skills and knowledge in your field, as well as problem solving skills, communication strengths, and other typical interview questions. And if you make it through the first part of our hiring process, you’ll then move into the onboarding, which can be a totally unfamiliar territory for most of our people joining USDS, which is completely okay because we’re here to walk you through every step of the way.

You’ll first schedule a call with the onboarding team to congratulate you and outline what the next steps look like for starting the process to join government. If everything goes well and you’re ready to move forward, you’ll then work with our formal HR partners to secure an official tentative offer of employment into government.

If you accept your tentative offer, that’ll bring you to the next step, which is a background investigation where personnel security and the FBI will work with you to kick off a formal background investigation at the national security level. Once the security steps are cleared, you’ll then be scheduled for a drug test, and after that, that’ll be the last step.

You’ll then receive your firm offer and get started. That means that you’ve made it all the way through the process. You’ll then have a start date and get some first date logistics outlined before you get started here at USDS.

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