Government Job Interview Process
The first step towards getting a government position is submitting an application. If you get called in for an interview, that means you’re in a short list of people who are seriously being considered for the position. The final selection, however, will still be based on a series of interviews.
Some job application systems, such as the US government’s USAJobs, have functionality built into their system which allows applicants to check the progress of their applications. Below are the basic processes that the human resources department follows when they’re hiring for a government job.
Before The Interview
Government agencies usually establish application deadlines so they can easily manage the number of applications they receive and they can move forward with the hiring process. In the interest of fairness, human resources strictly follow closing dates and they will not consider one late application unless all other late applications are accepted.
The human resources department goes through each application to make sure that every candidate meets the minimum requirements specified in the job posting. After all the applications are screened, the recruiters and hiring managers have to work together to come up with a list of finalists who they would like to interview. Then, they need to contact every finalist to schedule them for an interview.
If an applicant decides to withdraw from the process, the hiring managers may either interview the next most qualified candidate who didn’t make it to the list or they may just continue the process with one less finalist. This decision will be based on how close the next most qualified applicant was to being included in the list. The interview process may take some time, depending on the number of applicants being interviewed.
During The Interview
Interviews are often conducted by a panel. In most cases, the hiring manager is on the panel with at least two members from different areas of the organization. The interview format is usually structured, which means that all applicants are asked the same set of questions. After interviewing each applicant, the panel will select the most qualified candidate among the interviewees. However, in some cases, the panel interview is followed by several rounds of interviews for a more thorough assessment of applicants.
After The Interview
Most organizations wait until they are ready to make a job offer before they run a background check so they won’t incur the cost of running checks on individuals who won’t get hired. After all interviews and background checks are conducted, the recruiters and hiring managers decide which finalist will receive the job offer as well as the rank order of all the other finalists in case the chosen finalist decides to decline the job offer.
Next, a job offer is extended to the chosen finalist. This is when they negotiate on the salary and start date. If the chosen finalist formally acknowledges the job offer, the organization completes the necessary paperwork to hire him or her.
Lastly, the organization notifies all the other applicants that the position has been filled. Some organizations may only notify those candidates who were interviewed. This is usually indicated on job postings or on websites that contain human resources information.
How to Track Your Application:
You can track the status of your application by logging into your USAJOBS.gov account. If it has already been more than two weeks since the job posting has closed and you still haven’t received any updates, you may call the agency to confirm the receipt of your application. Each job announcement has a reference number. Make sure to take note of the reference number so the agency can locate your application quickly.