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Conquering A Federal Interview


Five Expert Tips For Conquering A Federal Job Interview

  1. Study the company’s history, mission, core values, and structure. For example,  if you were going to interview for the Department of Veterans Affairs— it would be best to become familiarized with their mission and services. By chance, do you know their mission statement? How would you greet people within the company you’re seeking employment from while waiting to be interviewed?  This might not seem important; however, it shows the interviewer that you took time to prepare for your interview and that you respect their company beliefs, culture, and background. 

  2. Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. When you arrive early to the interview it gives you time to greet other staff members, relax, and get ready to nail the interview.

  3. Greet your interviewer(s). Ensure that you have a firm and confident handshake. Practice your handshake with a friend, spouse, and/or colleague. If the interview is by phone be sure to speak clearly and with confidence. While on the phone interview, you should speak as if you are giving a speech. In this case, you know your target audience is a company where you desire to work and your speech should include strong selling points about your work history and quantifiable accomplishments.  Therefore, it’s imperative that you review your resume beforehand and get a good night's rest before the interview.

  4. Tell me about yourself. During the interview, be prepared to tell your potential new employer about yourself.  I’ve seen and heard different ways one could answer this question, however, the best way is to keep it professional by relating yourself to your past job experiences. How would you respond to that question professionally? Do you have a list of commonly asked questions that an interviewer might ask you? Most people do not have a list of commonly asked interview questions memorized. That’s why it is important to study and practice for an interview. Usually, interviewers do not tell candidates what type of interview setting they will have nor mention the type of questions that will be asked. In some cases, federal job interviews are held by phone, in person, and/or you might not have to attend an interview because a favorable decision was made to hire you without an interview.  In the event that you are asked to take part in an interview, please study behavior interview styled questions.

  5. Panel Interview. The in-person interviews might consist of a panel interview where the human resource specialist and staff leaders are present. During the interview, everyone has a list of questions that they will ask you. It’s similar to going to a military promotion board. At times it could be pretty intense and the panel interview lasts for 30-45 minutes.

When it comes to attending federal job interviews, I have been on many interviews.  To continue, I was interviewed by phone and in person.  In addition, I was hired without an interview with some of the federal jobs I’ve held. I am thankful for that experience and for gaining federal job interviewing skills. Further, I’ve answered various types of questions which allowed me to be ready for any type of interview.  With that being said, I’ve shared all of my interview techniques with my clients and they were successful in their federal job interview.

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