How do I Prepare for a Federal Job Interview?

Some higher echelon or sensitive federal positions may require multiple interviews.

Some higher echelon or sensitive federal positions may require multiple interviews.

The federal government attracts millions of applicants each year to serve in a wide range of opportunities, including administrative, legal, law enforcement, engineering, education and the sciences, among others. Federal employment is widely renowned for its competitive advantages like job security, comprehensive benefits and retirement packages as well as lucrative salaries. Still others are drawn by the fulfillment inherent in serving their country. As evidenced in the application process, the federal hiring process, including the interview, is unique and complex. With the proper preparation, you will heighten your chances of securing a federal job offer of interest.

Research Your Job

Research the agency you will be interviewing with as well as your particular position. Find out about major current events your federal agency is connected with and prepare to discuss them in detail during your interview. Print out press releases on your interviewing agency and memorize pertinent details. If possible, look up and print out personnel testimonials of employees already working in your particular job category and mention them in your interview. Federal interviewers particularly value on candidates who express enthusiasm for public service as well as the mechanics of the job.

Gather Necessary Documents

Gather together or print out extra copies of relevant documents already included in the application package, such as your resume or professional license, in case an interviewer asks to see them. Also, consider bringing other documents like published articles you have written that are related to your position or a periodical to reference a discussion point during your interview. Having documents on demand demonstrates initiative and forward-thinking skills highly valued by federal employers. However, be sure to carry documents that comfortably fit into a black leather document carrier for easy access and professional presentation.

Prepare Proper Attire

Put together an appropriate outfit ensemble to wear to your government interview. For most federal positions, it is recommended for men to wear black suits with white or blue shirts and conservative ties. Women are advised to wear black or navy pantsuits or skirted suits with white or blue blouses, as well as conservative gold or silver jewelry and minimal makeup. Ensure your interview clothing is dry cleaned and pressed and your shoes are brightly polished.

Prepare Questions

Write down core interview questions for yourself addressing why you want the position, your short-term and long-term goals, your strengths and weaknesses and why they should hire you, as well as your answers to them. Knowing how to answer these core questions will increase your confidence and affirm your decision in seeking the position. Also, prepare a short list of questions for the interviewers, such as how long they have been with the agency and what they like best about their jobs. As federal interviews tend to involve more than one interviewer, ask each interviewer at least one question. Doing so will demonstrate interest in your colleagues, social cohesion and the work environment, as well as your position.

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About the Author

Chiara Sakuwa has been a writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in publications such as the "Liberty Champion" newspaper and "The New World Encyclopedia" project. She is also the author of the novel "The Lady Leathernecks." She holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences from Campbell University and a Master of Criminal Justice from Boston University.

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