6 Useful Civil Service Interview Tips From The Experts

A person who works in civil service is a person that provides the public a service or services that are responsible for public benefit. People who work in the civil services fill positions like United States Postal Office Mail Handlers, Internal Revenue Service, positions in the Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI, the Secret Service, as well as particular secretarial and clerical jobs.

Civil service positions also include local service positions such as working in fire departments, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Health and Human Resources, and such places.

Many times Civil Service workers handle public information, private citizen information, and deal with public demands of them. Civil Service workers need to be efficient, professional, represent their branch of public service with decorum, and above all respect the privacy of the public that they serve.

If you are interviewing for a position in civil services, it can feel daunting and unnerving. Civil service positions demand a lot of a person, and hiring agencies are looking for people who can handle those demands as well as perform their jobs at max capacity.

That is why we have compiled this list of civil service interview tips so that you can make the most of your civil service position interview. Read on to explore some of the best options, preparation tactics, and keywords to use in your civil service position interview!

What are the Tips?

interview guide

Now, we are going to look into some of the tips that you should use during your civil service position interview. These tips are not guaranteed to secure the job, however, they will help you climb the list of qualified applicants and grab your employer’s attention!

First, we will look at some classic interview tips and tricks that are going to help you in any type of interview. These are a lot of common sense and traditional interview techniques that will help you land jobs. After that, we will launch into the best civil service interview tips that you can use to secure the job of your dreams!

Tip #1: Research the Position

One of the best things that an applicant for a civil service position can do is research the position that they are applying for. If you are well-versed in all things about the position you are applying for, you will grab the interviewer’s attention. Many people walk into interviews and when asked why they want the position they simply say it’s good money or it’s a good job or something generic of that sort.

Make Yourself Stand Out by knowing what the position entails, knowing how you factor in the equation of the position and job, and why you think you are a good fit for that position.

Being educated in what you are applying for is the best way to secure a second interview or to get hired in an interview for a job.

Essentially, what we are saying is to do your homework and take the extra time to do a deep dive into the civil service position you are applying for. Become an expert in that position so you can answer all questions put towards you.

When the interviewer asks you about why you are choosing that organization and that civil service position you want to demonstrate that you know and understand a deep depth of the position you are applying for, the department you are going to work in, as well as many of the regulations, rules, policy, and new that the has. That will demonstrate a genuine interest in the position and convince the interviewer that you have been passionate about working in this civil service position for your whole life!

Tip #2: Practice, Practice, Practice!

Preparing for your interview is one of the best ways you can ace your interview. One of the best ways you can prepare for your interview is to practice your interview over and over again. You can practice your interview in the mirror, with a friend, with a colleague, with a family member, or with your dog if you need.

Hold up a stuffed animal (if you do not have anything else to practice with) and run over the selling points of your interview answers over and over again so you know what you are going to say to the trickier questions they may throw at you.

Practicing for your interview will help you come across as calm, cool, collected, knowledgeable, and unfazed by difficult questions. By appearing like you have everything together, you give the impression to the interviewer that you are relaxed and calm in the environment of that civil service position. It makes you seem like you are a great fit for that position because you are so relaxed delivering your answers.

Now what the interviewer may or may not know is that you could be freaking out on the inside. That is okay! Interviews can be scary. But the key is to practice your answers enough that you come across relaxed, knowledgeable, comfortable, and calm.

Practicing your interview will also help you eliminate filler words such as “um,” “er,” “like,” “so,” and other noisemakers that do not deliver information and clog up communication.

Check out awesome interview prep from Job Test Prep.

Tip #3: Dress for Success

The phrase dress for success may seem like a corny cliche, but it is a huge piece in landing the position that you want during an interview. You do not want to show up for a professional position in cargo shorts, $5 flip flops, and poncho. Do your research and find out what people already employed in that position where day today at their job.

Besides looking the part, dressing appropriately is a perfect way to come across as a professional and someone who has all of their stuff together. Employers are looking for people who are trustworthy and can handle the work. Looking like you can handle what is thrown at you is a crucial part of landing any job.

You do not have to dress like you are going to the Met Gala, however, you should dress confidently, seriously, appropriately, and be well-groomed. Some positions are more casual than others, but it is better to over-dress and be able to take your tie off than not be dressed appropriately for the environment.

Tip #4: Timing is Everything

Our fourth tip is timing. Arrive early for your interview. We do not need to be an hour and a half early. You just need to be five or 10 minutes earlier than your scheduled time. That shows interviewers that you are eager, excited and that you are on time.

When you find out your interview time, check the traffic patterns around that time for the day of your interview. If traffic seems to be worse around that time, make sure that you accommodate for those extra minutes. Try driving the route to the interview a day or two before the actual interview at the time of your interview to get a vibe of what the traffic is like at that time.

Avoid getting lost by either driving the route a few days before or plugging it into your GPS or phone to make sure you do not take a wrong turn.

If you are taking public transportation and there is a delay, the department will probably understand your predicament. However, you should do your best to avoid that by leaving early.

If you arrive at your interview an hour earlier, you can always walk to a local coffee shop or just wait in your car or on a bench until your interview time. Never walk in too early. Enter the building and find the department 5 to 15 minutes before your interview is scheduled. Any earlier is unnecessary and any later is rude.

Tip #5: Research the Questions

When you go into your interview, you should spend some time during your preparation to research some of the questions that might be asked of you during the interview. Some of the questions may ask about your work experience, some may ask about your goals in life, some may ask about where you see yourself in ten years, but the bottom line is that your answers should be clear, concise, and answer the question.

Some of the questions you may get asked are as follows.

  • Why did you apply for this role?
  • Are you able to implement and enact new systems?
  • How well can you handle difficult co-workers? Tell me about a time you had to resolve a workplace conflict with a challenging co-worker.
  • Are you able to multitask? Can you manage multiple tasks at once?
  • How do you help raise your co-workers? How do you help your community and department thrive?
  • What do you bring to the table that nobody else does?
  • Have you ever implemented a change in your former employment? Tell me about a time when you created a positive change in your work environment.
  • How do you avoid situations where a conflict of interest is afoot?
  • How do you handle your ethics and morals being challenged by your position? Tell me about a time when you had your morals challenged or your ethics questioned at work.
  • Do you over-deliver? How much do you contribute compared to your co-workers? Are you an overachiever?
  • Are you comfortable with public speaking? Are you comfortable during presentations in front of your co-workers and employers?
  • How do you handle failure? How do you deal with mistakes? How do you move forward from failure and mistakes? Do you learn?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
  • How would you help this department serve the public community better?
  • Are you an outside-of-the-box thinker? Tell me about a time when you use an outside-of-the-box solution for a problem at work.
  • What are some skills of yours?
  • Are you a good communicator?
  • How do you help others? How do you help others learn from their mistakes? How do you help others in a non-demeaning way?

Not all of these questions will be in your Civil Service interview, but it is good to prepare them nonetheless. A lot of these questions will be found in any interview you take, but, in the civil service it is important to make sure that you are prepared.

If you are going into a highly specialized department, you should look online to find out what types of interview questions that department asks. By finding out what department-specific questions may come your way, you can be sure that you are prepared with a clear, concise, and knowledgeable answer.

You may not be able to guess what questions do your interviewer is going to ask you, so if you get caught off guard by a question it’s okay to take a second to collect your thoughts. If you need to, you can always tell the interviewer, “can I think on that one for a second? Can we circle back to it?”

The interviewer will be more impressed that you took the time and energy to spend thinking about answering their questions properly than giving them a random answer quickly. Do things thoroughly. Don’t do them quickly and sloppily. Do them with purpose and clarity.

Tip #6: Have Your Questions

After the interviewer is done conducting your part of the interview, they will often ask if you have any questions about the position. Even if you don’t have any questions that you are dying to ask, you should ask something here.

There is a strategy to going about asking questions to the interviewer post-interview. You do not want to start right off the bat with salary, bonuses, or anything relating to money or status within the department. Even if status or money is a reason you are applying for this job, you do not want to let the interviewer know that.

If an interviewer feels like you are only taking the position for money or status, they will probably give the job to somebody who is taking the job out of passion, commitment, and devotion to the greater public good. Here is a good time to showcase your care about the position and the public.

So, when the interviewer asks if you have any questions, ask stuff that you would have usually asked Google! Ask about the work environment, the people, and the rewarding feelings people get from this job. Ask the interviewer if there is anything difficult about this job. Ask them whatever you need to ask them.

Good luck and remember to be calm, collected, and professional!

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