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US Patent and Trademark Office Patent Examiner Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jul 1, 2014
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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Patent Examiner Interview

Patent Examiner

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office.

Interview Details – Applied online in the mid of April 2014 and got interviewed second week of June 2014. Got the offer after two weeks of interview.

Got an email to schedule an interview after 1 1/2 month of applying. Scheduled an interview from a week after getting the email and it was a WebEx interview. During the call, there was one hiring manager to whom I talked to. Hiring manager who conducted the interview was friendly and pleasant. She first explained the job requirement and gave a job description. Then she started with the interview. Along with the 4 questions given below, she asked me about my work. The interview call lasted for 45 minutes.

Interview Question – Questions asked:
1. Describe a situation/project you had to prepare a technical paper/presentation.
2. Describe a task/project that you had to accomplish with a short turn around time.
3. Describe a situation in which you received constructive criticism about work you have done and how you handled it.
 4.Give an example of a time when you had to make a persuasive argument, how did you accomplish it and what was the outcome?

Give an example for each situation.
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Negotiation Details – There was no negotiation.

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Easy Interview

Patent Examiner Interview

Patent Examiner
Denver, CO

I applied through other source - interviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office in February 2014.

Interview Details – One interview at hiring fair held specifically for this position, hosted by USPTO at local hotel. Hiring managers gave presentation, met with each candidate individually. I was asked which tools I'd used for patent-related research, to elaborate on my experience and ability to work alone (job requires extensive solo work), describe expertise/ability to determine if a submitted design will function or is technically accurate. Hiring managers very open, revealing. Culture appears similar to NASA or a department office at a research university: Laid back academic yet professional interactions.

Interview Question – I can't say any question was difficult or unexpected. I wasn't expecting the dress to be as casual as it was: 8 hiring managers were there, all wearing jeans/dockers and short sleeved golf shirts or colored denim long sleeved shirt.   Answer Question

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4 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Patent Examiner Interview

Patent Examiner

I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office in April 2014.

Interview Details – I applied for several positions and was contacted for an interview a couple weeks after the first position I applied for closed on usajobs. My interviewer said that this interview would be for all positions I have applied for. The interview was 25-30 minutes and all of the questions I was asked were already listed here (describe a time you had to present technical info, describe a time you received constructive criticism and how you reacted, describe a time when you had to persuade someone you worked for). The questions were very detailed - for example, for describing presentation of technical info, interviewer asked what my role was, how i conducted research, problems I ran into, how I resolved them, what the outcome was, etc. The interviewer also asked a few questions from my resume about classes and work experience. At the end of the interview, I was able to ask a few questions and the interviewer briefly talked about the patent training academy. The interview was conducted on webex but my computer audio wouldn't work so I had to use my cell phone, which was kind of awkward. The interviewer was very kind and easy to talk to. I was not given a time frame as to when to expect to hear from HR, but the interviewer said "soon"...

Update: my status switched to "selected" on USA Jobs about 2 weeks after the interview and the next day I got a call offering me the job.

Interview Question – No unexpected questions, but the amount of detail asked for was unexpected   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Easy Interview

Patent Examiner Interview

Patent Examiner

I applied online and the process took 4 months - interviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office in April 2014.

Interview Details – I applied for the job openning on December 2013 and received an interview schedule for mid April 2014. The interview was done on through video webcam on WebEx and the interview was informal. Most of the questions were basic behavioral questions that other people outlined in this website. The interview lasted approximately 45min.

Interview Question – There were no unexpected questions.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Easy Interview

Patent Examiner Interview

Patent Examiner
Alexandria, VA

I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office in March 2014.

Interview Details – See the other posts to get an idea of the behavioral questions asked. This was for a biomedical examiner position. I prepared an eight-page document over the course of a few days with possible questions and answers and practiced them the night before. I was able to answer most of the questions as rehearsed. Interviewer was casual and nice. I asked a lot of questions myself. I ended the interview weakly, though, which made me paranoid.

Few weeks after the interview, I got two emails saying I did not make the GS-7 or GS-9 opening. USAjobs profile was updated as well. Very sad to see those as I was very excited for the opportunity and was thinking of making it a career (I have a JD).

Interview Question – How would you finish a job that was due tomorrow and give an example.   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Patent Examiner Interview

Patent Examiner

I applied online and the process took 6+ weeks - interviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office.

Interview Details – As a former examiner, one should know that you will receive a whole different set of questions than what has been posted here. Questions such as: why did you leave the office, why do you want to return, what would you do differently for a search, etc. Having worked there a long time ago, there would obviously be a lot of things I'd do differently (like use a computer instead of searching through shoes of paper patents!), and this question seemed to be repeated in a lot of different ways. The interviewer was very polite, read from his prepared list of questions, and tapped my answers on his keyboard the whole time.

Interview Question – Name an instance when your supervisor commented on your office action and how you handled it. Depending on how long ago you worked there, you might really need to search your brain for an answer!   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – I was told I would receive an offer, but I cannot move back to the DC area for 6 months or more - the amount of time it might take for me to reach GS12 level and be considered for the hotelling program. I understand that some retraining would be necessary, but hoping that someday the PTO will not require the extended in-house initial stay for former examiners. It was a great place to work, I only left due to spouse's relocation - good luck to all!

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Patent Examiner Interview

Patent Examiner

I applied online and interviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office.

Interview Details – I received an e-mail from the hiring contact first, then another with the time to set up phone interview. Almost all the questions were behavioral based questions. I had looked up all the questions and had them answered and ready to go. This position was for a chemistry examiner. I didn't hear back from them for weeks and when I called them they told me they were putting this position on hold and they weren't sure if they were going to hire anybody. I finally received a message weeks after that that I was not hired.

Interview Question – All the questions were similar to the ones that I saw on this and other websites.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Patent Examiner Interview

Patent Examiner

I applied online and the process took 4 months - interviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office in February 2014.

Interview Details – Applied for the Patent Examiner Position (Electrical Engineering) on 01/08/2014. 02/18/2014 got an email from HR saying I met qualifactions and my application was forwarded to selecting official for further consideration. 02/24/2014 got an email for a phone interview scheduled for 2/28/2014. Interview was done using webex (audio & video). Audio piece was done with cell phone (only option allowed). Interview lasted 30 minutes. Very straight forward interview all questions asked were covered in glassdoor. Now waiting for the decision (hopefully here back soon!)

Interview Question – Asked a question about my work background and what I used to do.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Very Easy Interview

Patent Examiner Interview

Patent Examiner

I applied online and interviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office.

Interview Details – I applied online at USAJOBS and received periodic updates through email up to the interview. The interview was by phone and most of the other posts covered the details thoroughly. Very relaxed and comfortable. I am currently in the waiting process.

Have specific examples ready for the interview questions! Don't answer them with hypotheticals. I suggest you review all the questions posted on glassdoor and be familiar with the material on your resume. The questions I received were:

- Describe a situation/project where you had to prepare a technical paper/presentation.
- When was the last time you had an assignment that had to get completed quickly? How did you organize/manage your time?
- Give an example of a time when you had to make a persuasive argument, how did you accomplish it and what was the outcome?
- Give an example of when you received constructive criticism, and how you handled it.
- If you have more than one task, how do you get them done?
- What software/databases have you used to conduct patent/literature searches?
- Expect to answer questions regarding gaps in work/study, assuming you have one.

I didn't get any questions on the USPTO itself but I suggest you go over the link they provided to be familiar with what USPTO does, what a patent is, etc.

Remember that while the interview questions are behavioral questions, you should also try to demonstrate your technical competency if possible through your examples. They'll want to know which department is best for you. On a related note, do some research into the USPTO departments before the interview so that you can tell them what departments you'd be most adept in.

EDIT: I was not selected. I hope you had better luck than I did.

Interview Question – N/A since everything was provided here. I suggest reviewing questions here that you would be uncomfortable with.   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Easy Interview

Patent Examiner Interview

Patent Examiner

I applied through college or university and interviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office.

Interview Details – It was a very informal interview. They were at our school career fair. If I remember correctly, I had a short, quick interview on the spot with the gentleman at the booth. I gave him my resume, talked for a few minutes and received a job offer not too long after that.

Interview Question – It was very casual and no unexpected questions. It was more of what my major was, what kind of classes I took, GPA, etc...   Answer Question

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