US Department of State

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US Department of State Interview Questions in Washington, DC

Updated Sep 23, 2014
Updated Sep 23, 2014
18 Interview Reviews

Interview Experience

Interview Experience

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Getting an Interview

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  1.  

    Foreign Affairs Officer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Application Details

    I applied through other source. The process took 8+ monthsinterviewed at US Department of State.

    Interview Details

    Interviewed through PMF program process. Interview was with three members of the hiring office and questions were a mix of testing technical knowledge and gauging my ability to fit in with the rest of the team. Questions were not particularly difficult, and it seemed like a premium was put on my fit with the "office culture".

    Hiring was a PAIN. I was offered the job in June, and didn't start until the following February due to background investigation and a candidate with veteran's preference challenging my hiring. If you are trying to get hired for a job with a TS clearance, you may be waiting a long time. Process was also very opaque - they were really not able or willing to tell me anything other than "wait a bit longer, we will definitely bring you on, just be patient". To their credit, they did come through in the end.

    Interview Questions
    • Questions were all pretty expected - most had to do with my graduate research.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    Non-negotiable (defined by PMF program)
    Accepted Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Foreign Service Officer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4+ monthsinterviewed at US Department of State.

    Interview Details

    A cumbersome process in the 1990s-2000s, involving written exams at testing centers - now all online. The key is the oral interview. The key to being successful at the oral interview is to show that you can work in a group setting to accomplish a shared objective. Do not try to 'win', or you will lose. Find consensus.

    Interview Questions
    • What is a tense situation that you managed to overcome in a work environment and how?   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    As a government, there is little room for negotiation, but there is some (salary - based on experience). Take advantage of it because once you join it becomes very rigid.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Intern Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 5+ monthsinterviewed at US Department of State in April 2013.

    Interview Details

    Applied through USAjobs. Received a request for phone interview from the office a few months later. No in person interview occurred, although it is possible this varies depending on your previous background.

    Interview Questions
    • Provide a summary of a recent research topic you have worked on.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
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  5.  

    Foreign Service Specialist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 8+ monthsinterviewed at US Department of State.

    Interview Details

    The hiring process is long and tedious. The interview process takes an entire day, which includes a considerable of waiting. You are interviewed by two or three people who tell you that they have to remain "stone-faced", so as not to display a personal interest in you.

    Interview Questions
    • How have you persuaded a group of people, many of whom you do not know, to change their current mindset to one that is similar to yours?   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    There is no salary negotiation. You are paid according to the Foreign Service pay scale. Benefits and most importantly, the start date, is not negotiable, and nor are they even mentioned.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Intern Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at US Department of State.

    Interview Details

    Very tedious online application - you need to submit your resume on top of filling in your resume information into their own specific resume builder. You will also submit a statement of purpose, and this is very important. Moreover, you need to give detailed info for clearance.

    Interview Questions
    • Phone interview Qs: tell us a time you had to deal with a difficult person. Please introduce yourself in the foreign language you are studying.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    Through email - very understanding - but they want full time interns. The minimum is 10 weeks and maximum is 14 weeks. Usually 8:30am to 5pm. Need strong writing and analytical skills.
    Accepted Offer
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Foreign Affairs Officer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Application Details

    I applied through a recruiter – interviewed at US Department of State in November 2012.

    Interview Details

    I was a Presidential Management Fellowship Finalist and competed with other Finalists for this job. I was recruited directly by the agency.

    Interview Questions
    • Describe you experience planning events and working with difficult people.   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    As a PMF, the program is highly regulated and base salary is set for you (no wiggle room).
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  8.  

    Public Diplomacy Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at US Department of State in August 2012.

    Interview Details

    Given the size of the organization, the interview will be based on what Bureau and office you have applied for. I interviewed for both a regional and functional Bureau. The difficulty of the interviews was comparable, and I felt it was much more relaxed than expected. I think the most important thing for State is to gauge your ability to act diplomatically under stress, verbal and written communication skills, and genuine interest in the area/function of the Bureau you're applying for. I would say that after having interned there both in person and virtually, the people there are generally relaxed, so it's much better to let your personality show instead of being overly formal.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Consular Adjudicator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 11+ monthsinterviewed at US Department of State in June 2012.

    Interview Details

    I found a position on USAJOBS.gov. I applied, passed an initial stage, and then passed an initial language stage. Afterwards, I was told to prepare the e-QIP security clearance application and flew to Washington DC for an interview. The entire process took 6 months.

    The interview actually takes up about an entire day. The morning section consisted of tests, then a formal interview. Once I got the results, I came in for the afternoon for the language test. After I passed that section, I had to complete the rest of the security protocols.

    Interview Questions
    • Most questions revolve around the skillset that the position required. There were no out-of-the-blue questions.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    There was no negotiation phase as I was only offered a conditional offer. A complete offer was only after a successful security clearance and suitability phase which I did not pass.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10.  

    Contract Specialist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at US Department of State in March 2012.

    Interview Details

    Apply through USA Jobs. Phone Interview and possible face-to-face interview.

    Interview Questions
    Negotiation Details
    It depends on your education and experience. Salary is not negotiated. There is a GS pay scale that employees fall into.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  11.  

    IT Specialist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 6+ monthsinterviewed at US Department of State in September 2011.

    Interview Details

    Visit USAGov site to determine if there are any openings. If so, the job seeker will need to submit an online application. If the application is approved, the job seeker will be invited for a comprehensive test/interview. If all goes well, a security background investigation and medical physical will also be required before any formal job offer is made

    Interview Questions
    • The questions range from: history, politics, current events, to situational scenarios where the applicant is given the opportunity to explain how they reacted to certain events. Scenarios may be driven by the specialty desired or general experience.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    Very automated (with set parameters) and based on one's experience level.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

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