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What to Expect in an FBI Interview

by Chiara Sakuwa

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, employs thousands of highly skilled employees for various positions, ranging from special agents to professional support staff, including investigators, forensic scientists, technology experts and administrative support. As opportunities at the bureau are highly competitive, landing an interview is a great accomplishment in itself. However, to interview successfully, you must properly prepare by researching the position and the organization, as well as assessing your personal goals for FBI employment. Knowing what to expect from the interviewing process ahead of time will also increase your chances of successfully securing a conditional job offer.

Interview Appearance Recommended

The FBI, like most federal employers, recommends wearing black or navy blue suits with white or blue shirts. Men should wear solid ties and women should put on minimal makeup and jewelry. Skirted suits also suffice for women. Also, have your interview ensemble professionally dry cleaned and pressed and your shoes polished, prior to the interview. Good posture and a confident demeanor will also increase your chances for interview success. Maintaining eye contact and sitting up straight and using controlled hand gestures while explaining yourself will also demonstrate intelligence, confidence and enthusiasm.

Interviewing Personnel Expected

Most FBI interviews consist of panels of three to five special agents or administrative staff members to conduct the interview. One will initially greet you, but make it a point to greet each interviewer with a firm handshake and learn their names. Each of them will take turns asking you questions, so be sure to respond to each of them by name. When answering questions, address the interviewer asking the question first; but then engage the whole panel by alternating eye contact among the panel members when elaborating your points. The panel will take notes throughout the interview.

Subject Matter Covered

Throughout the interview, prepare to answer personal background questions, such as your work history, relevant hobbies and career interests, including your interest in the bureau. The interview panel will then inquire about your decision-making skills and judgment by describing a scenario and asking how you would respond to it. Current events, particularly those happening overseas, are also of particular interest to the bureau. So you may be asked to describe at least one international current event in detail. Describing recent FBI press releases relevant to your position will also gain traction with the interviewers.

Hiring Outcome Anticipated

Once you have completed your interview, you may be asked to meet with an administrative staff member promptly after to discuss your interview results and whether or not you secured a job offer. However, with some positions, including FBI special agent Phase II interviews, the FBI will notify you by mail or phone call at a later date if you passed and received a Conditional Letter of Appointment. If you receive a conditional job offer from the FBI following a successful interview, expect to receive your National Security Questionnaire or e-QUIP application package to begin your background investigation within a few weeks (See references 1 and 2).

About the Author

Chiara Sakuwa has been a writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in publications such as the "Liberty Champion" newspaper and "The New World Encyclopedia" project. She is also the author of the novel "The Lady Leathernecks." She holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences from Campbell University and a Master of Criminal Justice from Boston University.

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