US Department of State
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US Department of State Foreign Service Officer Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Feb 25, 2014
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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Foreign Service Officer Interview

Foreign Service Officer

Interviewed at US Department of State

Interview Details – I was selected as a Pickering Fellow and was not required to take the exams until after I entered the service. It took me three tries to pass the FSOA. Don't go in thinking it will not be a challenge. Eat a healthy breakfast and get a good nights rest. Probably the most challenging day in your profession.

Interview Question – Unfortunately, I signed a non-disclosure agreement and agreed not to disclose.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No negotiation, they calculate your experience by what you put on your resume. Be exact and include volunteer experience!

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Foreign Service Officer Interview

Foreign Service Officer
Washington, DC

I applied online and the process took 4 months - interviewed 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 Question – 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.

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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Foreign Service Officer Interview

Foreign Service Officer

Interviewed at US Department of State

Interview Details – It's a test -- and it's changed since I've come in, so I can't give much info.

Interview Question – The interview questions are easy if you aren't an idiot.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – None

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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Foreign Service Officer Interview

Foreign Service Officer
Washington, DC

I applied through other source and the process took a day - interviewed at US Department of State in December 2009.

Interview Details – The hiring process is driven by a series of tests. First is a written test (FSOT), which assesses candidates' general knowledge and communication skills. If successful, the candidate moves on to an Oral Assessment, which consists of a group exercise, a written case study, and a structured interview, Finally, the successful candidate is subjected to a suitability review, a health clearance, and a security clearance. Candidates are given offers of employment on a space-available basis, with those with the highest scores in the Oral Assessment reviving preference.

Interview Question – Hypothetical questions concerning difficult situations that might occur at a U.S. Embassy require candidates to express good judgement while thinking on their feet.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Negative Experience

Average Interview

Foreign Service Officer Interview

Foreign Service Officer

I applied online and the process took 10 months - interviewed at US Department of State in June 2013.

Interview Details – All day assessment meant to be a challenge. Group exercise was straight forward but had people who were unyielding--I failed. Case management was just like one from packet--long with a twist towards the end--I passed. Interview is straight forward exactly and I mean exactly what the packet says is going to happen

Interview Question – Why?   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Foreign Service Officer Interview

Foreign Service Officer
Washington, DC

I applied online and the process took 12 months - interviewed at US Department of State in April 2011.

Interview Details – Online application followed by sitting for the Foreign Service Test. The test is a comprehensive test that tests everything from US Political and Government history to Logic, to Interpersonal Skills. Following the test there are a series of interviews. You have a group interview where you solve problems as if you were in the embassy as well as a personal interview.

Interview Question – They were all typical questions that you find in an interview.   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Foreign Service Officer Interview

Foreign Service Officer
Washington, DC

I applied online and the process took 6 months - interviewed at US Department of State in October 2011.

Interview Details – First took the computer based "written" test, which was three sections of multiple choice and a writing section. Second, submitted 6 personal narrative questions that pertained to leadership, initiative, and other desirable qualities. Final round is a day-long interview consisting of an interview, memo-writing, and a group session where you, along with a handful of other applicants, discuss the merits of a particular project while the interviewers monitor you.

Interview Question – Why do you want to join the Foreign Service?   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Foreign Service Officer Interview

Foreign Service Officer
Washington, DC

The process took a day - interviewed at US Department of State in May 2010.

Interview Details – First 1/3 of the day was a group exercise (5 people) where you demonstrated your negotiation, communication, and interpersonal skills; Second 1/3 of the day was a 2 on 1 interview; Last 1/3 of the day was a 90 min. memo-writing exercise.

Interview Question – What is your biggest weakness?   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Foreign Service Officer Interview

Foreign Service Officer
San Francisco, CA

I applied online and the process took 9 months - interviewed at US Department of State in October 2009.

Interview Details – Started with written exam, followed by submission of 6 short essays. Once invited to the Oral Assessment portion of the interview, look forward to a structured group exercise, a one on one (or one on two) interview, and a case management exercise. It's a full day, and it's quite daunting.

Interview Question – Cannot answer this because of non disclosure agreement.   Answer Question

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3 people found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Foreign Service Officer Interview

Foreign Service Officer
Washington, DC

I applied online and the process took 5 months - interviewed at US Department of State in June 2009.

Interview Details – Lots of post on Oral Assesment elsewhere. It consists of a group excercise, a one on one interview, and a written assignment.
-The group assignment involves 4-6 people with ~4 assessors (sp?) sitting around the outside of the room. You are given a scenario and need to advocate for your project and then work towards a compromise.

Interview Question – There is a non-disclosure agreement....   Answer Question

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