US Census Bureau

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US Census Bureau Field Representative Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jun 30, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  

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Interview Experience  

54%
36%
9%

Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
11 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Field Representative Interview

Field Representative
Boulder, CO

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at US Census Bureau in July 2012.

Interview Details – Talk to an HR representative who explains the position and asks about availability. Not many job-related questions. Then sets appointment date for a test that measures basic math, language comprehension, and map-reading. There were about 15 candidates at the test. After passing the test (same day), someone interviews you to see how well you can speak and follow directions. They also ask some personality-type questions.

Interview Question – Very organized group, make sure to have your paperwork in order prior to the test-taking appointment.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No negotiation since it's a government job.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Field Representative Interview

Field Representative
Bel Air, MD

I applied through other source and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at US Census Bureau in January 2013.

Interview Details – First, contacted by email because I was a former 2010 Census employee. Responded that I was interested in the new survey position. Second, I received a phone call asking me to attend a 3 hour meeting at the local library. The meeting consisted of about 25 people. The job expectations were reviewed, a skill test was given, and those who passed were asked to stay for a one-on-one interview. The questions asked were about my past experience with the Census and a few behavioral questions. I was presented an offer and accepted. Follow up with finger printing and background search.

Interview Question – Basic behavioral questions. Not too difficult.   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Negative Experience

Very Easy Interview

Field Representative Interview

Field Representative

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 1 week - interviewed at US Census Bureau.

Interview Details – First you take a test to see if you can read, write and have any sense of direction. Once passing the test it could be between getting an interview on the spot up to two years before you are call. Questions are easy and the process you go through to get hired or trained doesn't really prepare you for what actually happens in the field talking to real people.

Interview Question – How would you handle coming in to a high crime area?   View Answer

Negotiation Details – There are no negotiation with this government position. You take it or leave it. You are a part-time intermittent employee and they make sure you have just few enough hours to never get covered with health benefits or any other federal benefit.


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Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Easy Interview

Field Representative Interview

Field Representative
Springdale, AR

I applied through other source and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at US Census Bureau in October 2013.

Interview Details – 1.simple word problem test (only question i missed would have got, if I had a ruler
2. Mock interview (read from a script...articulate, real clearly and don't change words
3. Interview General...mostly about overcoming difficult people

Interview Question – Describe something you failed at.....could not overcome or find a solution...how did you deal with it.   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Field Representative Interview

Field Representative
New York, NY

I applied through other source and the process took a day - interviewed at US Census Bureau in April 2012.

Interview Details – I worked on the 2010 decennial operation as an enumerator and enjoyed my experience. After the decennial operation was completed, I contacted Census to see if they had any other job openings, and was told that they were testing people for the position of Field Representative (this was in April 2012). Unfortunately, working on the decennial operation will not get you any special consideration or credit when applying for other Census jobs....the application process begins anew as if you'd never worked for them.

The hiring processes for the Field Rep position begins with a basic skills test (28 questions with a 30 minute time limit). This test is very similar to the one that was given for the decennial operation. Unlike the decennial operation, the Field Rep test is not given a percent score, but is pass/fail.

Next up is a mock interview. The applicant is provided a script to read from. This was easy so long as you followed all the instructions on the script. Some questions will instruct you to ask the respondent to spell their answer and the like. They want to see if you can pay attention to detail, and can follow instructions.

After the mock interview, there is a short structured interview....5-10 minutes. The interviewer asked basic questions such as, "Tell me about a time that you needed to deal with a difficult person."

You are also required to provide a resume. The skills test, mock interview, structured interview and resume are then all used to assign a score to the applicant.

After completing all of the above, I heard nothing back from the Census. I had no idea if I was being considered for a job. After some months, I called to inquire about the status of my application, and was told that I was on their list of "qualified applicants" and that I would be called if they had any openings. I was also told that the applicant list was good for 2 years.

Interview Question – Tell me about a time that you needed to deal with a difficult person, and how you handled it.   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Field Representative Interview

Field Representative
Bakersfield, CA

I applied in-person and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at US Census Bureau in April 2009.

Interview Details – I had heard that the Census was interviewing people in Lancaster Calif. I had previously worked for them so I drove to Lancaster to take the test and schedule an interview. The test took about 30 minutes and I passed. Then I was asked if I wanted to stay and wait for a 1:1 interview or go and have them call me later. I opted to stay for the 1:1 interview. I was interviewed by an SFR and came home. About 1 week later I was called and did a phone interview where the SFR tested my Spanish proficiency. A week later they called me back and offered me the position in Bakersfield, which I accepted.

Interview Questions

  • How would you handle a respondant who didnt want to participate in the survey?   Answer Question
  • What would you do if you repeatedly found no one home to take a survey?   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No.


No Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Field Representative Interview

Field Representative
Los Angeles, CA

I applied through other source and the process took a day - interviewed at US Census Bureau in May 2011.

Interview Details – The interview consists of three phases:

1. Aptitude test. Multiple choice, 28 questions dealing with math and clerical skills. The Census Bureau has a practice test that you can download to prep for the real thing. Pretty easy.

2. Mock Interview: You make believe you are a census field representative, asking some typical questions and writing down the answers. I believe that this is just to see if you are capable of reading aloud in a coherent, intelligible manner.

3. Structured interview. The actual job interview. After the interviewer reads your resume and application, he gives you a score based on the bureau's requirements for the job. He then asks you a series of scripted questions.

I worked as a Census Enumerator during the 2000 and 2010 decennial census's, so I felt I understood the skill set they were looking for. Census workers get a lot of push back from uncooperative respondents, and the job requires a strong ego, persistence, persuasiveness and closing ability. If you've ever been successful in sales you should be able to handle it. However, many cannot and the Census Bureau has a high turnover of their field personnel.

Overall I thought I did well. Unfortunately for me and other job seekers, the Census Bureau's budget was recently slashed by 25%, and Congress is likely to cut it more before the year is out. That's likely to put a big dent in their hiring plans.

Interview Questions

  • "Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a hostile person, and how did you handle it?"   View Answer
  • "Tell me about a time when you tried to do something and failed. How did you react to it?"   View Answer


2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Field Representative Interview

Field Representative
Dallas, TX

I applied through other source and the process took a day - interviewed at US Census Bureau in May 2011.

Interview Details – If you are interested in this kind of work, there is a number to call. You call and tell them you are interested.
The next time they have a testing and interview session, they will call you to come in.

I had my testing and interview session yesterday. It's important to get there early. Get there before the designated time. You want to be first in line to sign in. Interviews are done in the order that people sign in. If you sign in early, you should be able to complete the process in half a day.

The first task is the skills test. You must pass the skills test. The test is pretty easy, in my opinion. Basic math, vocabulary, and map reading. It's pass/fail and they don't tell you your score. High scores don't seem to help. The only thing that matters is that you pass. The interview is the important thing.

On to the interview. There are two parts to the interview, a simulation of the job tasks, followed by a structured behavioral interview.

The simulated job task involves reading a series of survey questions, the same kind of questions you would read when visiting a residence to gather information. If you can read aloud, you should do well on this part of the interview.

The second part of the interview was some fairly standard interview questions. I hated it, but I am terrible in job interviews. If you do fairly well in most interviews, you should do alright.

Interview Questions

  • Have you ever had a job in which you had to deal with the public?   View Answer
  • Tell me about a time when you persuaded someone to do something that they inititally did not want to do.   View Answer
  • We all face rejection at times. Tell me about a time you experienced rejection and how you dealt with it.   View Answer
  • Tell me about a time you had to deal with a very hostile person.   View Answer
  • Tell me about a time that you failed to perform well on an important task and how you dealt with it.   View Answer


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Field Representative Interview

Field Representative

I applied in-person and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at US Census Bureau.

Interview Details – To get hired, you need to be a citizen of the United States, have a clean background, and you will have to pass a test that examines basic literacy, math, and slightly above average map reading skills. The in-person interview is fairly easy and centers around your personal integrity. You'll be asked about your ability to get along with others, your ability to work well without direct supervision, and being able to handle rejection gracefully. You'll also need to make it clear that you have at least rudimentary computer skills.

Interview Question – There were no particularly difficult question.   Answer Question


Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Easy Interview

Field Representative Interview

Field Representative

I applied through other source and the process took 5 months - interviewed at US Census Bureau in July 2011.

Interview Details – Initial contact pursuant to work in prior year's decentenial survey; phone contacts from employees named but without titles over 5 months; helpful to applicant to cultivate friendly and memorable conversations with spot contacts just mentioned; realize that prior security clearance, background check, training, work history, recent Census experience/achievements will be irrelevant as hiring process begins again from scratch; conscientious trainers but insufficient training time, unannounced self-study before training was a full week rather than a quick hour or two as expected; absence of training proctors was a serious handicap for trainers and trainees when PC's failed repeatedly, graying out, software glitches, etc.; second survey in second year opportunity paid less than earlier work but warranted more compensation due to sophistication of survey and difficulty of interview process.

Interview Question – How do we contact previous Census supervisors and managers about your experience and prior performance?   View Answer

Reason for Declining – A Fortune 100 job offer promised better working conditions, a career path, likelihood of numerous choices to move from part- to full-time employment.

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