USPS Pre Hire List (What Does It Mean, Got The Job + More)

The hiring process for the United States Postal Service is, of a necessity, a selective experience; as a federally-adjacent agency, USPS is not hiring just anyone.

You might have applied, checked your application, and noticed it says “Pre-hire List” or something similar and wondered what that meant – are you almost hired?

So, what is the USPS pre-hire list? I’ve got the answer you need.

What Is the USPS Pre-Hire List?

The United States Postal Service Pre-hire list is an early stage of the hiring process that comes after the applicant has turned in their application and completed the postal exam. During this period, applicants are considered a good fit on paper and are brought in for a series of meetings to further determine suitability.

There is a lot more to the pre-hire process, how long it lasts, the overall steps in the USPS hiring process, and when you can expect to hear back from USPS on whether you got the job – keep on reading for all the details!

What Is the USPS Pre-Hire Process?

The very first step in the overall hiring process with the United States Postal Service is to fill out an application and take Postal Exam 473.

The exam – which is apparently much more difficult than most anticipate – filters out candidates, but those who are left standing begin the pre-hire process.

Basically, pre-hires look good on paper. Their test scores were adequate, and their applications/resumes checked the USPS hiring boxes.

At this point, USPS wants to see if the reality matches how the applicants have portrayed themselves thus far.

According to, it can be a few weeks after moving to the pre-hire list before you hear anything from USPS at all.

(On the other hand, if your branch is experiencing a dire shortage, it might be no time at all.)

A hiring rep will reach out and invite you for an “interview, screening, and personal testing procedure.”

From that point, if your meetings well went and your test scores were high enough, you could be invited for the pre-employment orientation.

This is where you get a tour of where you’d be working and even have a chance to get your hands dirty a bit.

That’s right, you can expect to actually work during the orientation.

This is because the hiring staff wants to evaluate whether or not you actually have the skills you told them you have.

You said you had a head for numbers? Prove it. You can lift 50 lbs.? Here is your opportunity to demonstrate that. Great customer service? Show them.

Don’t list skills on your application that you don’t actually have because, unlike some other jobs, USPS will find out if you’re telling the truth.

This part of the pre-hire process is also for the prospective employees, though.

After getting a taste of what the job is like, do you still want it? Does it feel like a good fit to you? Will you be willing to show up and give 100 percent to this position?

If not, you can graciously decline to go further in the hiring process and save both yourself and the Postal Service a lot of wasted effort (and financial resources, in USPS’s case).

The pre-hire orientation is the last step for the applicant before HR decides to offer a job (or not).

After this, you will sit tight while the hiring staff looks at the report they have compiled on you and compares it against the reports for other applicants.

Whoever appears to be the best fit will then move off the pre-hire list and receive an offer!

How Long Do You Stay On the USPS Pre-Hire List?

How Long Do You Stay On The USPS Pre Hire List?

Because the Postal Service is incredibly measured and deliberate about who they hire (jobs with USPS are highly sought-after), the pre-hire process can take weeks, even months.

Sometimes it might end abruptly at one point or another if the hiring personnel have decided you aren’t going to be a good fit.

But if you continue to each of the “next steps” in the process, you could be looking at as many as six months before receiving a job offer.

A lot of that time could simply be waiting to hear back, too.

So if you were hoping for a quick hire, that is more the exception than the rule. Prepare yourself for a wait, or politely ask your hiring personnel if they can give you a rough time frame.

Does USPS Pre Hire List Mean You Got The Job?

If your application is marked as a Pre-hire List, that does not mean you got the job. It does mean that you are qualified to continue to the next stage of the hiring process, though.

At this point, you can expect to schedule an interview for the position.

How Long Does It Take For the Post Office To Hire You?

If you need a job in a hurry, the Postal Service is not going to be the employer for you.

On average, it can take anywhere from three to six months from application to employment.

If it’s been more than six months since you turned in an application, it’s probably safe to assume that you were declined for the position.

If you are looking to learn more, you can also read our related posts on USPS orientation, USPS leave of absence, and USPS shoe policy.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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