Author: Dr. Dana

Panel interviews don’t have to be scary: 7 tips for acing them

For many, panel interviews are the nightmares that can wake them up in the middle of the night. And, to be fair, three (or more) interviewers to one can be intimidating. When you’ve done all you can to prepare for an interview, adding these tips to your repertoire will not only help calm your nerves, but put that extra polish on the impression you leave behind.

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Probation period: It’s an opportunity to shine

One of the most frequently sited reasons for wanting a Federal job is job security. And, this is a benefit that is true. Unless you’re on probation. Probationary periods are intended to let supervisors continue to evaluate whether they made a good hiring decision. This period is not (or should not be) a ‘gotcha’ period.

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Save time by conducting mini phone interviews

The time involved in reviewing resumes, setting up interviews, and actually conducting interviews is a huge time commitment. No one wants to waste their time (yours or the candidate’s) sitting through another awkward hour-long interview that won’t lead to a good hire. As a hiring manager, there’s nothing more disappointing that being 10 minutes into a face-to-face interview and knowing this candidate isn’t the one.

What’s the alternative? I propose a 10-15 minute pre-phone interview.

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Be ready to answer: What do you know about our agency?

On the surface, it seems like an ice-breaker or a throw-away question. No one expects you to recite everything there is to know about the agency. They just want to know you cared enough to look it up and have a sense of what you’d be getting yourself into if you took the job. But, you have to assume every question asked of you, no matter how innocent it seems, can be the make-or-break question.

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Can you negotiate your grade in a government job offer?

If you’re new to government, the first thing you’ll learn is that every position has a grade associated with it. These aren’t the grades we’re used to seeing in school (A, B, C-) but rather numerical representations of the level of expertise required for a particular position. Your first government job is the one time you’ll be able to negotiate grade.

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