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Sample Public Administration Interview Questions 

  • Why are you interested in working for this agency?
  • What can I tell you about this agency?
  • Which division or section of the agency are you most interested in?
  • How long would you expect to stay with the agency?
  • Tell me about a situation from your job last summer that required you to exercise good judgment.
  • What areas of public policy/administration particularly interest you? Why?
  • What, in your mind, is the most significant item on your resume?
  • What have you learned from participation on a publication or clinical program?
  • How committed are you to service for the poor?
  • What if any interests do you have in service to the public generally?
  • What are some of the policy issues you have dealt with or studied?
  • Do you have experience evaluating policy? If so, what?
  • What areas of community development interest you most?
  • Tell me about a time when your ethics were challenged and how you handled it.
  • Using the state of Pennsylvania as an example, site the most important policy problems in the state. Now pick one of those issues and identify the nature of the problem. What can be done about it? What information would you need to gather?
  • What do you think of the welfare reform bill?
  • How do you approach a problem for which there appears to be no definitive answer?
  • Have you been on a committee or had a work-related situation in which you were asked to accomplish a task with insufficient guidance? How did you proceed?
  • All of us have had times in our lives in which we felt unmotivated, or encountered problems which seemed insurmountable. Describe such a situation and explain how you dealt with it.
  • Tell me about a situation in which your personal obligations and business/school commitments conflicted. How did you resolve the conflict?
  • Tell me about volunteer or community activities you've been involved in.
  • What attributes do you have that would make you an effective public servant?
  • When you are in a team/group/committee setting, how often are you chosen to be a leader? Why? Are there times when you choose not to lead? Why?
  • Describe a situation in which you acted as a leader that was particularly satisfying to you.
  • Tell me about a time when you worked as part of a team. What is your favorite part about teamwork? Least favorite part?
  • What do you do when you know you need help or more expertise?
  • Have you had a person who acted as a mentor at some point in your life? Tell me about him/her.
  • What skills do you believe that you have that would contribute to a team effort?
  • Why do people like working with you? Why might people not like to work with you?
  • Tell me about a time when you were in a pressure situation. Why do you think this situation arose? What, in hindsight, were you most dissatisfied with about your performance?
  • What do you wish you had done differently?
  • When disappointment or failure occurs in your life, what do you do?
  • Describe an event in your life that has had a major impact on you.
  • Have you ever undertaken something just to prove to yourself or others that you could do it?
  • If you don't get a job with this agency, what will you do?



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