From Interviewee to Employee

Careers In Government (CIG) is dedicated to matching qualified individuals with challenging and rewarding careers in government and the public sector. Additionally, CIG is a forum for the exchange of news and information of interest to more than 20 million Americans working, or seeking employment, in public sector occupations. CIG was created and developed by public sector employees!

For many, with graduation quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about life after college. What is life like in the “real world?” While freshening up your cover letter and resume to suit each job you apply for is important, there are an additional few key components to keep in mind during the interview process and post-hire.

Do your research. During your interview, you are in the hot seat. If asked questions about the company or the given role, ensure that you know their mission and details of the position, so you can respond accurately and confidently While conducting your job search, look at the duties and responsibilities of the role you’re applying for. Determine ways that your previous experience relates to those responsibilities. With this preparation, you have some background knowledge of the role you’re applying for and how to fits into the company as a whole. Don’t feel apprehensive about looking into the “About Us,” “Team,” or “Blog” sections on a company’s website – those are valuable resources that can help you prepare not just for the interview, but hopefully after you’re hired as well.

The best tool for success is to show your confidence.
Appropriate dress code. While many companies have chosen the “business casual” dress code, it’s important to dress professionally for both your interview and your first few weeks after you’ve been hired. While your resume is your first impression to those leading your interview, how you present yourself is your first impression to the rest of your workplace. For men, a suit is your best option during the interviewing process. A well-fitting suit shows professionalism and a level of seriousness. If you want to express personality through your attire, wear a solid color dress shirt or spruce your suit up with a patterned tie. For women, a pantsuit or a nice shift dress, like this one here, with a blazer is a great option to wear during an interview, again, showing that you’re serious and assuming a professional attitude. A key takeaway when determining your interview attire is to make sure your clothing is form-fitting, comfortable and professional.

During your interview, don’t be afraid to ask about company culture and dress code. That information will be extremely beneficial when dressing for your first few weeks on the job. If the company is known for “business casual,” lose the suit jacket and stick with a dress shirt and a nice pair of khakis for your first few weeks, at least until you get the gist of what your coworkers typically wear day to day.

Ask questions. Job seekers often feel timid, which can show through in the interview process. The best tool for success is to show your confidence. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions. That’s what makes the conversation flow naturally. Your future coworkers will want to see that you are able to clearly articulate your opinions, concerns, questions, and responses.  For some common interview questions to help you prepare, click here. The questions don’t stop after the interview, the same thing goes for once you’ve been hired. The first couple of weeks typically involve a level of mentoring or training programs. Be engaged during these sessions. The more questions you ask your coworkers upfront, the smoother your transition will be when you work independently.

Track your accomplishments. An important piece of advice when starting a new job is to create a spreadsheet or a document of your personal growth. Once you’ve been given more responsibility in your role, it’s critical to keep a record of your achievements. This type of documentation is great to have on hand if your company is ever hiring internally. While keeping tabs on what you’re doing day to day is important, be sure to update your resume and/or any professional networks that you use as well. This can help with networking within your industry and bring in potential new coworkers.

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