Hiring FAQ

Getting hired

The roles and responsibilities of any given USDS staff member vary tremendously, because agencies have different technological needs. Even projects within the same agency require distinct skill sets.

Because of the unpredictability and breadth of our engagements, we focus on hiring technical experts who can adapt to a project’s needs, though we also hire specialists for particular projects.

We are always hiring for a number of different roles, so if you are an expert in your field and are interested in working at USDS, you should apply!

Unfortunately, we are not set up to support internships. We recommend looking into other civic tech organizations that are able to hire and support interns.


It’s a black hole; we know it’s not ideal. Typically we do not have insight into the background check process.

You’ll receive a formal offer letter from HR when you have passed the background check and drug test. This typically happens closer to your tentative start date. Keep your USDS Talent Team guide informed of any changes to your timeline while onboarding.

Once you have turned in your security paperwork, you will not hear from the security team until they have reviewed the paperwork and need additional information (e.g. additional background or a drug test). This is the start of the background check black hole. We do not have insight into the security process, except when a candidate emails us to let us know what is happening. However, feel free to reach out to your USDS Talent Team guide anytime!

You are eligible to start once your background check clears, you pass your drug test, and you receive a formal offer from HR. Close to the end of your process, we will work with you to set a tentative start date and we will confirm that date with you once you get the green light from HR. If you have taken a drug test as part of onboarding, you must start within 30 days of taking the drug test to avoid being required to take the test again.


We’re currently hiring both remote employees and people who are local to Washington, DC. If you have additional questions about remote or in-person work, please reach out to the USDS Talent Team at talent@usds.gov.

All conditional offer letters are conditional upon your passing the background check (including security and drug checks). Therefore, we suggest that candidates hold off on long‐term decisions until you receive a formal offer letter. You are responsible for your housing if relocating to D.C.

No. Unfortunately, the government does not allow us to cover moving or relocation expenses.

We are happy to help set up a visit for incoming candidates who have received a conditional offer. Please reach out to your USDS Talent Team guide to schedule a visit.

Life at USDS

There is no such thing as a “typical” USDS experience; it’s a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure. Depending on your skillsets and interests, you’ll either get matched to an agency team (e.g., Veterans Affairs or Homeland Security), or you may bounce around to different projects depending on where the need is. The number and types of projects you’ll work on could vary wildly, and you may be doing things you never dreamed of. (Visit a mainframe warehouse in a mine? Check. Pitch a project to a Deputy Secretary? Check.)

Don’t worry — most days you can dress like you’re at any other startup. Every now and then we dress up for important meetings, so it’s good to have at least one formal outfit in your closet.

USDS is full of people who are scrappy, mission-driven, and passionate. We don’t look like your typical government employees (hoodies and sneakers reign supreme here) and we’ve been known to attend Star Wars premieres together. We work hard because we know the work is worth doing and we can see the impact it makes on real people’s lives. Even if you run into roadblocks or bureaucracy, you can always rely on the USDS family to help you troubleshoot, back you up, and cheer you on.

We need you.

Let’s help millions of people together.

Apply now