Sample Interview Questions
Since there is no centralized hiring process for Capitol Hill, every interview experience will be different. However, there are some familiar themes that will come up, as illustrated by the following samples questions. Provided as a guide only are some thoughts on responding to these questions.
1) Why do you want to work for [Member of Congress]?
This is a chance for the interviewee to show that she has done her research and is familiar with the Member and his record. The reasons may relate to geography (born and raised in the Member's district, know the people there); specific issues (support the Member's issues and have done relevant research/work on some of them); or ideology (believe in the cause championed by the Member of Congress).
2) You understand that this position requires a lot of administrative duties, such as answering the phones, opening the mail, and greeting visitors. How do you think you will perform these operations?
This question gets to the heart of the specific duties for the position. The interviewer knows you are smart - now she wants to see that you know what you are getting into and will actually perform the job.
3) Tell me about an activity that you were involved with in school or work that demonstrates your leadership skills and your ability to get things done.
Capitol Hill offices are fast paced and require everyone to pitch in. The interviewer is trying to gauge your ability to pick up a project and see it through to completion.
4) Are you an organized person? Show examples from your previous experience where you demonstrated your organizational skills.
Working on the Hill means that assignments are coming at you three at a time. As a staff assistant you may have two constituents on hold on the phone, a family of four standing in front of you waiting for their White House tour, and two staffers asking about projects you were assigned - all at the same time. Provide specific examples of your ability to juggle multiple responsibilities.
5) Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
This is a popular question, so be sure to think it through before you go in to the interview. Interviewers would like to get a sense of how serious you are as a professional and of your long-term interests. No one will ever hold you to it, so make sure that your answer makes sense.
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