Charleston Chapter – MOAA
Charleston Chapter – MOAA Charleston Chapter – MOAA
Charleston Chapter – MOAA

Previously viewed stories are grayed-out.

Tricare Users Must Approve Mail Order Drug Prescription Renewals

Trump signed the ‘Forever GI Bill.’ Here are 11 things you should know.

Smart devices can make life easier around the home for disabled Veterans

Online Network Connects Veterans and Spouses with Professionals

Trump Signs VA Funding Bill, Averts Choice Program Crisis

11 Things Employers Want from Job Candidates

As you prepare to get out of the military, don’t make these mistakes.

How Do You Write a Resume That Fits the Job?

The Top 10 Military Employers

15 Reasons The Coast Guard Is Completely Underrated

Research: You Should Attend Transition Assistance More than Once

Congress Passes New Forever GI Bill

VA to Decide on New Agent Orange Ailments by Nov. 1

VA 'STOP PAIN' Best Practices Guidelines

Service Dogs and Other Lesser Known VA Benefits

VA Medical Center plans for future national history center

VA Counseling Services

Vets Can Now Use Smartphones for VA Consultations, Appointments

Stay Informed About TRICARE

“Keeping a Career on the Move” Military Spouse Symposium

Post government Employment: Conflict of Interest?

Updating Your Resumé for a Civilian Job

5 Steps to Building a Winning Network

Making the Most of Job Fairs

The Cost of Selling A House

Air Force Gets Creative to Tackle Pilot Shortage

13 Hobbies Veterans Recommend for Dealing With Stress

TRICARE Expands Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment

Upcoming Tricare Change Could Hurt Families

Commissaries Update Website

Sidewalk Sales at the Commissaries

Commissaries Offer Their Brand

Squeeze Every Dime From MyCAA

How to Quit Your (Civilian) Job

Military Principles to Help You Succeed in Your Civilian Career

Franchises: One Way Veterans Can Own a Business

10 Back to School Deals for Military Families

5 Easy Questions: Should You Go Back to School?

You asked, MOAA answered: How will TRICARE’s new enrollment rules work?

Army Offers Legal Assistance

Navy Offers Education Vouchers

Upcoming Tricare Change Could Hurt Families

Great entertainment for veterans and first responders

Top 11 Career and Transition Apps for Officers

10 Military Discounts for Spouses

7 Hot Tips on Negotiating Your Salary

Veterans among the first to benefit from cutting edge bionic arm

Top 10 Don’ts of Home Selling

See all your military benefits in one place

Business Lessons from the Tuskegee Airmen

Tricare Officials to Continue Online Portal Upgrades

How To Make The Most Of Store Loyalty Cards

New GI Bill Would Make College Education a Lifetime Benefit

Interviewing Etiquette: 14 Steps to Success



Home front help: 14 tips for dealing with deployment, from spouses who've been there

Secrets and Marriage: When They Just Can't Talk About It

5 Questions To Ask When You Don’t Know What To Do With Your Life

National Parks Pass Price for Senior Retirees to Skyrocket

How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

AF Offers Ph.D Tuition Assistance

Cheap Lodging for Military Families

The 5 Steps to Building a Solid Personal Brand

3 Top Tips on Handling Resume Keyword Filters

Finding Careers That Fit Your Military Experience

VA Chief Withdraws Staab Appeal; Vows to Replace ‘IU’ Pay Cut Too

VA still planning to round down benefit payouts

5 Steps to Position Yourself for a Career Change


House passes fix to veterans health care tax credit controversy

Army to expand Arlington Cemetery, ends talks with county

Tricare Expands Outpatient Mental Health Help

5 Military Benefits for Your Summer Road Trip

Trump Wants to Find Jobs for Military Spouses, Aide Says

5 Possible Reasons Employers Aren’t Calling You

Rules for Saluting US Flag

Tricare After Divorce: What Benefits Are Not Included?

How to Stay Motivated and Focused During a Tough Job Search

Tuition assistance education guide

Post 9/11 GI Bill education guide

More than 18,000 vets verified for online exchange access, and thousands are already shopping

Commissaries rank high in national survey of grocery shoppers

The Top 16 Careers for the Future

Supreme Court rules in veteran's favor in closely watched divorce settlement case

MOAA’s 2017 Military State Report Card and Tax Guide

Top 10 Career Tips for Veterans

Job Seekers: 7 Tips for Asking Better Questions

TRICARE Nurse Advice Line

Air Force Retiree Services

Consider Hiring Veterans into Leadership Roles in STEM Careers

3 Ways To Be Financially Prepared When You Transition

Military Appreciation Month Discounts

Monument honoring Vietnam helicopter crews approved for Arlington Cemetery

Declutter Your Resume in 5 Steps

Military Spouses Can Apply for This Business Grant

What to Send Someone Who Is Deployed

Cheap Lodging for Military Families

How to Use Military Discounts While Traveling

Air Force Warns Airmen Against Talking Politics on Social Media

Reservists to Get Equal Death Benefits Under Bill

Military Star Card Questions & Answers

US Air Force Museum to Mark 75th Anniversary of Japan Raid

70 military and veteran job fairs across the U.S. — now through January

Scam Alert: Top Five Veteran Swindles

6 tricks for veterans transitioning from college to the workplace

Hit the Ski Slopes with Military Discounts

TRICARE and Flu Shots

TRICARE and Assisted Living

New USAF Drone Combat Officer Course

9/11 Memorial Concert

5 Ways to Emergency Prep Like a Pro

Enter your Title5 Ways to Emergency Prep Like a Pro

Should You Sell Back Leave or Take Terminal Leave When You Get Out?

Yes, You Need a Business Card

ROTC & JROTC Awards Presenter Thank You

Read our Newsletter
Breaking News   
Register for News Story Emails

Government Jobs: Top 10 Interview Questions
This Story expires on: Sunday Jul. 30, 2017

While every interview presents its own challenges, government interviews will often have a similar set of questions. While preparing for your government job interview, ensure you've at a minimum considered these questions.

As with any interview question preparation, the best way to prepare is to write down your answers, and then practice them with someone. If you don't have someone to practice with, consider recording a video of yourself practicing your answers, and see how you can improve both the answers and your mannerisms (see this article on how to project confidence in an interview).

Interviews are tough; government interviews can be tougher. Check out these ten tricky questions and how to answer them.

1. Why do you want to work for the government?

Bad answer: "I like the government. It seems like a super cool place to work."

Good answer: "I have always appreciated and admired those who serve their country. That's why I joined the military in the first place, and I'm at a point where I may not want to carry a rifle, but I want to keep giving back."

Don't just say you like it. Anyone can like the idea of working for the government, and that proves nothing. Focus your commitment to public service and respect for government officials and what they are doing. Consider using a couple examples of work government agencies are doing that has inspired you (this can be other agencies than the one you're interviewing for -- remember, we're going for big picture here).

2. Why do you want to work at this agency?

Bad answer: "Everyone knows your Department is cool, and I think it will look great on my resume."

Good answer: "The work that you did in the Haiti earthquake relief efforts inspired me to study humanitarian issues in the first place, which is why my internship was focused on humanitarian and aid issues. I believe my passion and experience would be a great asset to your agency, and know I would look forward to coming to work each day in a job like this where I know I'm making a difference."

Don't make it all about you, but find a way to spin it so you're telling them why you would make a great contribution to their team and agency.

3. Tell us about yourself.

Bad answer: "I graduated high school and then went into the military, where I was a cryptologic linguist. When I got out I went to college to study Asian studies, then I did a couple internships, one at the Treasury Department and another with State. I also practice trombone ten hours a week, which speaks to my commitment."

Good answer: "I am enthusiastic about Asia policy, which is why I am applying for this position. It started when I was stationed abroad in Okinawa, Japan, and so I studied Asian studies in school and did an internship at the Asia office at the Treasury Department."

Don't just list what you've done, but tell a story with a strong through-line about what you've done and how it sets you up perfectly for this job.

4. Why did you leave your last job?

Bad answer: "No one seemed to like me, and they were all jerks anyway." 

Good answer: "I was looking for new growth opportunities, but upward mobility in that role was stagnant. I am excited that this position with your agency offers room for learning and an opportunity to prove myself."

Avoid being negative, because it might set you up in the hiring manager's mind as someone who doesn't get along well with others, or might easily get disgruntled.

5. What do you think of your previous boss?

Bad answer: "She was totally checked out at times, and seemed to single me out to pick on whenever she bothered to say anything. What a jerk."

Good answer: "My last boss was tough at times, but she taught me a lot about myself. I learned to always keep a notebook handy and to reiterate what was expected of me, so we were both clear and there was no room for misunderstanding. She definitely helped me grow in the areas of time-management, as well as understanding different styles of leadership."

Again, you don't want to come across as negative. Even this good answer could be more positive. Remember that the person interviewing you could be your next boss, and they don't want to imagine you going around and talking bad about them someday.

6. This position is less senior than your last one. Are you okay with that?

Bad answer: "No, but I'll figure it out. Maybe I can do something on the side."

Good answer: "If there's one thing I learned during my time in the military, it was how to put my head down and get to work. For me it isn't about prestige right now, it's about pursuing a career that I love, and that's where I see this fitting in. I know that if I work hard and show how passionate and dedicated I am, I can move up the chain in time."

Government jobs often have a certain pay scale they can hire you into. Depending on the agency, going with just a BA degree might land you as a GS-9, while an MA might be GS-11. These are not super high-paying, senior positions, and you have to realize that you have to prove yourself all over again. Get the chip off your shoulder and be prepared to shine so you can move up the ranks quickly, but don't expect handouts.

7. Our culture here is a bit more relaxed than the military. Do you think you'll be a good fit?

Bad answer: "I served my country and proved myself, so… don't you think it's more important that you all fit with me?"

Good answer: "My work history has certainly shown that I can be adaptable. In fact, if you look at my internships you'll see that I have both fast-paced and not so fast-paced work environments.    

Remember that not everyone realizes the military is as awesome as we know it is. Don't come in with a chip on your shoulder. Instead, show that you are adaptable and easy to work with. Some people might be nervous about working with a veteran, because they don't understand what you've been through.

8. This office has its fast and slow moments. Are you going to get bored in the down time?

Bad answer: "I'm sure you'll find something for me to do."

Good answer: "I can always find something to do, even if it's just learning more about my job or background issues related to the job. Plus, I like to keep myself busy outside of work, so down time has never bothered me."

This question is one that definitely gets asked in certain government job interviews, and the key is to show that you're a good fit. They don't want someone who is lazy, but they also don't want someone who will get disgruntled and quit just because there is a slow period.

9. Where do you see yourself in five years?   

Bad answer: "Maybe in the government? But who knows, because after the military I don't want to be tied down."

Good answer: "I am applying for this job because I see huge potential, but also because I believe in the mission of the agency. I hope to grow with your office, but if that does not work out for some reason, I hope to find other opportunities here that relate."

It doesn't have to be this answer, but be sure to show you are passionate about the specific job you are applying for as well as the agency. There is often a lot of growth and movement potential in government agencies, and they like to know that you'll stick around for the long haul.

10. I understand that you were in the military, but most veterans are republicans. Where do you stand on that and the current president?

Bad answer: "Are you kidding? I can't stand either party, I'm such a libertarian anarchist, I'd rather we abolish the government and everything to do with it."

Good answer: "I'm always happy to serve my country, regardless of politics. In the military, the president is our commander in chief, and we all know that he tells us what to do. There's not room for our personal opinions to get in the way."

Trick question! They can't ask you this type of question. The same goes with questions related to your marital status and disabilities. If someone happens to ask this question, probably the best thing to do is side-step it with something along the lines of the good answer example above.


Charleston Chapter – MOAA
Charleston Chapter – MOAA

· Copyright ©2017 Charleston Chapter – MOAA P.O. Box 70421 Charleston SC 29415 ·
· Contact Charleston Chapter – MOAA · Editorial and Privacy Policy · Webmaster · Browser and Email Settings ·
· MOAA Website by ·