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Recruitment - Timeline

Recruitment is an ongoing, year round activity. The deadline for completed VISTA applications to the PRC is 35 days prior to the first day of Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). PSOs are typically offered in state during the months of January and July.

New VISTAs are required to attend a PSO paid for by the CNCS. PSO is the final screening process for selection and approval of a VISTA. The official start date for the potential VISTA at your site is the day after PSO is completed.

The PRC begins its recruitment efforts as soon as site and project information is known, usually three to four months ahead of PSO.

Recruitment involves a number of people:

  • VISTA Applicant - This is the person applying to be a VISTA. Applicants come from all parts of the country and all kinds of backgrounds.
  • PRC VISTA Leader – The Leader will be the applicant’s first and primary contact with the PRC. The Leaders will conduct an initial screening, including National Sex Offender Registry Check, and forward qualified applicants on to sites. Other PRC staff may assist as necessary.
  • Site Supervisors or Site Recruiter - The site supervisors’ role in this process is to focus on quick turnaround times (48 hours for initial contact after receiving application from Leaders) as well as ensuring an Applicant is a good fit with their organization.
  • Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) - The Corporation has to approve every applicant before they can attend PSO. 

The application process, from submission of the online application to approval of placement by the Corporation averages two weeks. Here's the standard application process:

Action Details Who?

Application is submitted online

The online application is completed and one of the available PRC VISTA sites is selected during the application process


Application is received

The online application system sends the leaders a notice that the Applicant has submitted an application. The Leaders contact the Applicant within 24 hours to arrange the first interview.

PRC Leader

Application Screened

Conduct initial screening of the Applicant, including National Sex Offender Registry check, to ensure Applicant meets minimal requirements and is well suited for VISTA service.

PRC Leader

Forward to Sites

If Applicant passes screening, application materials (application, letters of reference, interview notes, etc.) are sent to Sites.

Note: Applicants may be forwarded on to several Sites depending upon their interests and skill set.

PRC Leader

Contact Applicant

This initial contact to set up an interview should occur within 48 hours of receiving the application materials from the Leaders; remember Applicants could be offered a position by another project (maybe even in another state). This is a highly competitive process and the early bird gets the worm.  

Current VISTAs at reapplying sites may also participate in this interview and selection process.

Site Supervisor or Recruiter

Site Interview

The PRC suggests you have five questions to ask any Applicants. We also advise Applicants to have questions about what the position entails, work atmosphere, etc. to help them determine if the site/project would be a good fit.

Site Supervisor or Recruiter

Contact the Leader

After the interview, contact the Leaders to let them know where you are at (i.e. you'd like to sponsor the Applicant, you're not interested, etc)

Note: You cannot make an offer directly to an applicant. Only CNCS can officially place a VISTA.

Site Supervisor or Recruiter

Forward Applicant to CNCS

Once you inform the Leader of your desire to sponsor the Applicant, the PRC VISTA Program Manager will develop a recommendation pack for the applicant to submit to the Corporation for National & Community Service for final approval.

VISTA Program Manager

Approval of Applicant

The Corporation will approve or reject an Applicant, and inform the VISTA Program Manager, who then informs the Leader.


Inform Site/Applicant

The Site and the Applicant will be informed about official approval or rejection.

PRC Leader

At this point, the PRC will send out a Memorandum of Agreement between the PRC and your organization. This needs to be signed in order to finalize your placement prior to the VISTA attending PSO. In addition, you will be sent an invoice for your community cost-share, which is due within 90 days of the VISTA attending PSO.

Once a VISTA is placed with a Site, official acceptance notification will be sent to the Site, as well as to the Applicant. At this point, we encourage site supervisors to stay in contact with their VISTA - this could involve answering any questions they may have about moving to Montana, sending background information about the project they'll be working on, etc.

National VISTA