I applied online and the process took 9 months - interviewed at US Census Bureau in March 2012.
Interview Details – As with any government position, it took an amazingly long amount of time between applying for the position and getting called in for an interview. They put me up in a hotel and paid for everything.
On the day of the interview, my contact brought me upstairs and dropped me off with a higher-up for a quick interview. Then I interviewed with my contact and a supervisee. I did this process three more times in three branches (a total of five or six interviews for the day). I had started at 8:00AM and was out by 2:00PM.
All of the interviewers asked very similar questions: coursework, ability to work in groups, statistical computing experience, major projects, and the like.
Somewhere between four and five months later (remember: government) I heard back with a job offer. They paid for the entirety of my move and travel expenses. Other than the amount of time it took to make it through the entire process, it was fairly painless, and the people here are great. They are knowledgeable, helpful, and fun.
Interview Question – What got you interested in statistics? Answer Question
Very Easy Interview
I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at US Census Bureau in July 2011.
Interview Details – This interview was for a GS-1529 (Mathematical Statistician) position at Grade 9, Step 1. I submitted a formatted federal resume on USAJobs.gov in response to a listing, and was contacted by e-mail a few weeks later.
My interview day consisted of three one on one interviews with branch chiefs (managers of approximately 5 to 15 people) among three different divisions of the Bureau, though I later learned that anywhere between three and six interviews is considered normal. Any of your interviewing managers may offer you a position with their branch, but you are most likely to receive an offer from the manager who initiated your interview process (normally the one who first contacts you to setup the interview). All of my interviews were casual, with no questions to evaluate my qualifications and only very friendly questions about my interests and plans. My advice for the interview would be to relax and demonstrate that you are easy to get along and work with.
Regarding the office & culture, my impression is that they parallel closely the interview process. There are a great many people, but the atmosphere is casual (jeans and polos were common at one end of the spectrum, though suit & tie was also a well represented set).
I received an offer from my initiating manager after about two weeks (quite fast for the federal government, really).
Interview Question – Where do you plan to be in five years? View Answer
Negotiation Details – The offer included a 20% signing bonus with a one year contract. I attempted to negotiate a higher starting step (i.e. pay level) with the HR rep who delivered the offer, but didn't make any headway against the "This is the official pay rate for someone with your qualifications" response. I've since learned that up to a 25% signing bonus can be offered, so I'd encourage you to try that if your base salary negotiation goes the way mine did.
I applied through other source and the process took 5+ weeks - interviewed at US Census Bureau in July 2010.
Interview Details – It was very smooth as they found my resume in the database. I had applied to another position in the same company. The recruitment could have been as little as three weeks, but I was working elsewhere. I received the offer within 40 days. I had one week to respond.
Negotiation Details – I was not able to negotiate as it is a government position. My employers suggested that I try it with human resource by showing my current salary. So you may want to try it as well.
Very Easy Interview
I applied through college or university and the process took 3 months - interviewed at US Census Bureau in June 2008.
Interview Details – From beginning to end, the interview to offer was at least 3 months. The interview process started by recruiting at the university I attended. Inexplicably, the Census Bureau recruits nationally for it's headquarters for statistician and economist positions and probably spends much more resources on that than it should on it, given the low amount of responsibility that new recruits end up getting. It will inflate your sense of importance and make you more disappointed once you arrive to start the job and see what it's all about. After getting lost in the web site for applying (which hasn't been updated in years), and eventually getting through the phone calls and emails if you're a candidate they want, they will bring you in to interview in Washington, DC. While people were nice enough, the whole interview process should have been a red flag for the bureaucratic mess you'll end up in once you arrive. The questions are cookie cutter and nothing to get worked up over. You won't get asked a hard question by any means. You get to have lunch in the cafeteria with socially awkward people. You probably shouldn't take a job where they give you lunch in the cafeteria on site.
Interview Question – What's a project you've done well at? View Answer
Negotiation Details – No negotiations really, it's the government! I was shown the wrong salary structure on my interview. I found the right one only because I searched for it myself. The modest reimbursement that I applied for (for moving expenses) was sent to the wrong address.
Interviewed at US Census Bureau
Interview Details – phone interview
in person interview with 5 departments (an all day affair)
each department had from 1 to 3 person interviewers
in formal offers through interviewers
final offers through HR department
Interview Question – typical questions were expected
the hard part was the whole day process. very draining Answer Question
Reason for Declining – didn't decline, still considering the offer
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