Last week our workshop included a remarkable spokeswoman,
T. Harris-Whitfield, who revealed the “hidden side” of the
application and culture in federal employment.
T. Harris-Whitfield urged people to apply early, recognizing that
you are negotiating with a bureaucracy with many levels and
components. Proof-read everything multiple times since your
application will be going through screening from several
Describe your skills, experiences and any specialized training.
While Citizenship is often a criterion, your unique skills may
Commonly, interviewing is done by panels. Develop an ability
to introduce yourself and perform an audience analysis so you
can speak to what they need to know. Many positions will not
list details that you should know in advance, especially if there is
a security clearance.
The agency itself does the security clearance investigations in
a formal schedule. Other than knowing the importance of a
“squeaky clean” background and that all references will be checked
to some degree, there is little preparation for clearances.
Questions to ask. Since there is much that is not available in the
public domain, good questions in the interview process are also
an important element. What does the position’s daily routine
include? Ask about compressed schedules, student loan repayments,
relocation allowance, subsidies and training allowances.
It is important to network with people who work in the government.
They can provide useful information on pay, step levels and special
programs that can be trade-offs to enhance your hiring package.
There are a number of acronyms in the government. So, it is not
unusual to ask for clarification. Like e-QIP for the clearance
program, which takes some time and preparation on your part.
There are employment steps. Permanent-Career Conditional
which is usual for first time employment. You need to satisfy a
one year probationary term and a total of three years continuous
service for a career appointment. [Permanent-Career].
Government work is family oriented and family supporting.
As a person enters the workforce, showing the willingness to
learn and follow guidelines, without anyone looking, pays dividends.
There is a lot of “paperwork”, training and rules.
Each agency has a formal mission, structure (org chart), and does
their work in projects (with large teams). You will be working on
challenging activities that have a major practical impact, rather
than projects that seem like “interesting science.”
Setting up “smarter” goals with deliverables and appraisals
is the norm for individuals and teams. Remember, experience
working as an intern, fellow or trainee count in years of
service, independent of department.