National Park Service Interview Questions

Updated Jan 4, 2015
20 Interview Reviews

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Candidate Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Park Ranger Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Accepted Offer

    Interview

    Over the phone and mainly focused on people-related skills. They greatly use your references listed and are looking for dynamic individuals that have an interest in interpreting the importance of the parks.

    Interview Questions

    • Describe what it means to foster a relationship between people and parks?   Answer Question
  2.  

    Interpretive Park Ranger Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through other source. The process took 6 weeksinterviewed at National Park Service.

    Interview

    Permanent positions are very hard to come by. Temporary (part - full time) positions rarely lead to permanent positions, despite "getting your foot in the door." Veteran's preference figures largely. I had been a volunteer at the site for two years before getting an offer for a temporary, 1-year appointment. Before accepting it, I was told that there were many ways to be extended--that I should not worry, yet, the position ended in one year, and HR would not rehire. I was told I would have to wait 6 months, then would be rehired, and was even given a start date of June 1, 2014. One week before, HR refused to rehire, stating that I must wait 12 months before being re-hired. This is very common, and several of my coworkers from this site, and others from other sites, are in the same situation. Get everything in writing.

    Interview Questions

    • Are you prepared to stand and walk for long periods of time, in inclement weather?   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    No negotiation.

  3.  

    Biological Science Technician Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 6+ monthsinterviewed at National Park Service.

    Interview

    The interview process is extremely drawn out. After first filling out the questionnaire, which you'll likely have to lie on just to proceed to the next step since pretty much everyone else does. As long as you're not telling tall-tales you should be able to discuss everything in the interview.

    (As a side note, the NPS, and every other government organization, is required to advertise ALL jobs to the public. Unfortunately, when Parks have "pet" employees they often tailor job questionnaires to fit them. If you run into a posting that asks if you "Have at least 2 years experience studying the yellow-legged snail-sucker of Timbuktu, Rhode Island, then don't bother applying, they've already selected their man.)

    IF you qualify, and often this seems to be completely arbitrary, AND the Park in question hasn't already picked a current pet employee to fill the job, AND there aren't too many veterans applying, AND if the stars are aligned correctly, you might just get "referred".

    Next you'll wait for either an email or phone call requesting an interview. Don't get excited, more often than not nothing will happen and you'll never hear from anyone.

    If you DO get an interview it is nearly always over the phone and most likely will be during somewhat odd hours due to the many time zones in this country.

    You may talk to just one interviewer, or several. Be prepared with knowledge of the park and some questions for the interviewers. The attitude of the interviewer ranges just as much in the NPS as in the real world, you might get friendly people, jerks, or people who would rather be doing anything else.

    Just be yourself in the interview, I've not run into any instances where the interviewer tries to trick you or otherwise mess with you. They are quite interested in finding someone who has literally been doing *this exact job* for years, so anything and everything you have experience in is fair game. Most interviews come off friendly, informative, and productive. It can be very difficult not to get excited that you might be picked.

    Next, be prepared to wait a while for a call back. If you're not picked, you will NOT be called or otherwise informed in any way. Occasionally you may receive an email stating that someone else was selected, but only certain agencies seem to do this.

    If you ARE selected, you may not know for weeks or even months. My last job waited for 3 months after my interview to offer me the job.

    After that will be a whirlwind of background checks, physicals, and forms upon forms to fill out. before long you'll start your first day. A bit of warning, though: have some cash saved up, you WILL NOT get paid for at least a month after starting, assuming the Park's Admin and HR departments are on the ball, this is, supposedly, due to the bi-weekly payment system and the two week lag in pay (being today for what you did 3 and 4 weeks ago.)

    Interview Questions

    • What is your biggest weakness?   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    There is no negotiating with the Federal Government, you get what the posting said you'd get. Period.

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  5.  

    Park Guide Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Easy Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Easy Interview

    Application

    interviewed at National Park Service in April 2014.

    Interview

    Email, followed by a phone call. Flexible with time and able expect over the phone interview and hiring. This process can be quick or elongated depending on the particular hiring official. The interview is more of a conversation than anything

    Interview Questions

    • Expect some kind of probing into your technical knowledge so do your research.   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    5 minutes tops.

  6.  

    Visitor Services Assistant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Easy Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online – interviewed at National Park Service in March 2014.

    Interview

    Apply, phone interview, in-person interview and job offer.Initial application to phone interview process was about three weeks to a month. Time inbetween phone and in person interview was two or three weeks. Applicants have to go through the New England Human Resources office then they go back for approval after the interviews. Started working about one or two weeks after I accepted the job offer. Job also comes with uniform allowance.

    Interview Questions

  7.  

    National Park Ranger Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Stillwater, NY
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at National Park Service (Stillwater, NY).

    Interview

    Apply online. Telephone interview

    Interview Questions

    • Basic questions. Criminal background can kill all chances for employment   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    No negotiation

  8.  

    Park Ranger Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online – interviewed at National Park Service.

    Interview

    I applied online through USA Jobs then about 3 weeks later I was called for an over the phone interview. The interview was pretty average- no trick questions- just insuring that it was a good fit for the both of us. I was then asked to fill out the background check information. This was extremely extensive. I filled out all of previous employers and places of residence for the last 5 years and every single person I had lived with or worked for was contacted. After that process was through I was given a drug test. Only after that point was I offered a position.

    Interview Questions

    Negotiation

    No negotiation.

  9.  

    IT Specialist Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online – interviewed at National Park Service.

    Interview

    Initial communication was a telephone call from hiring official for a telephonic job interview.

    Interview Questions

    • Technical questions were with regard to the DOI/NPS computer/network environment   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    Negotiated two weeks annual leave during PCS.

  10.  

    Maintenance Worker Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Accepted Offer

    Application

    I applied online – interviewed at National Park Service.

    Interview

    Applied online and was asked for an interview with manager and was offered job during the interview.

    Interview Questions

    • Manager just asked me how I felt about vandalism and how I could be an asset to the park   Answer Question
  11. Helpful (1)  

    Park Ranger Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Crescent City, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ monthsinterviewed at National Park Service (Crescent City, CA).

    Interview

    The culture is to help people and connect them with the park and the environment to create a sense of stewardship on both an intellectual and emotional level. The job itself is perceived to be all fun and walking in the woods, when it actually involves the tedium of working in high volume visitor centers most off the time, or walking high volume trails to assist visitors with repetitive questions. Those questions have been heard by each ranger thousands of times, but asked by each visitor only once- so you must maintain a sense of humor and patience. You must also be flexible and learn to "read" and match the needs of the visitor rather than impose what you might think the need of the visitor is on them.

    Interview Questions

    • " At what age do deer become elk?" and questions of that type are common. they are not meant to be funny, but must be answered in a manner to teach without becoming preachy or humiliating the visitor- I tended to use a gentle humor. Daily, often asked questions get old fast, but treating each visitor as if they were the first and only person to ask "Where's the restroom?" can make or break the mood of their visit, and their impression of the park as a whole. Patience, patience,patience!   1 Answer

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