Interviewing is about putting your best foot forward. It’s about making sure the hiring manager knows how great you would be at the job. The interview is also about you finding out whether this is really somewhere you want to work.

I recently heard some sage advice about work. It was, “It’s never a good idea to take a job just for the money.”

Fedability interview guide for government jobs


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While government jobs aren’t known for their high-paying salaries, there is a general pressure to climb the GS-ladder. It’s not unusual for you to begin to think about the next grade-level when you’re coming up on your ‘year-in-grade’ with little consideration about whether the new job is worth what the increase will be in your bank account.

As you prepare for and attend your next interview, here’s 10 things to think about:

  1. Is the interviewer a jerk? Are they considerate of your time (i.e., the interview started 30 minutes after the scheduled time)?
  2. What impression did you get about the culture of the agency? When you asked, what did they tell you about the culture?
  3. What does the office space look like? Is it a cubicle farm when you need absolute quiet? Or, are all of the office doors closed?
  4. Did you meet any of the others on the team? Did you get along with them even in the short time you met?
  5. How did they respond when you asked what would be expected of a person in this new position? Was the answer solid or was it vague? Where the expectations reasonable to you?
  6. Is there a pattern or theme in the types of questions they ask? Did the questions they asked make you uncomfortable?
  7. Did you get along with the hiring manager?
  8. Does the work sound interesting? Will you gain any new skills that will help you develop?
  9. Do they support training and employee development?
  10. What was the commute like? Will you have to drive even though you prefer public transportation (or vice versa)?

When it comes right down to it, accepting a job offer means living in the environment for as long as you choose to work there.

Even if the boss/team is awesome, will the two hour commute ruin your relationship with your kids? Are you ok with the work environment? Are the team members interesting and open to new people? Is what you’re gaining worth whatever you may have to sacrifice?

There isn’t necessarily any right or wrong answer. But, the questions should prompt you to think about whether you really want to work there. Remember, there’s more to an interview than just hoping they like you.