Ask a Coach

Q: I held private sector positions before I joined the TSA. Why do I need to include them in my resume even though they are not security-related or Federal positions?

A: It's important to include all your past positions, Federal and private sector, on your resume if they're relevant to the position you are applying for. How do you know what's relevant or not? When you're reading over the Job Opportunity Announcement for the Federal position you're interested in applying for, make sure you pay close attention to the duties and qualifications listed and to the skills and core competencies found in the occupational questionnaire. Those duties, qualifications, skills and core competencies are what you'll need to address in your resume, so if you've held a position in the past, private sector or Federal, where you have experience with those duties and skills, it's important to include that position on your resume and address your relevant experience within the position. Focusing on your relevant experience will increase your chances of making the Best Qualified list and hopefully receiving an interview.

Methods of Interviewing

You've applied for a job and your resume got you to the interview stage. Congratulations! Did you know there are several different methods of interviewing you could encounter?

One-On-One Interview

You're probably familiar with this popular method of interviewing. It consists of just an interviewer and interviewee. The interviewer could be someone from Human Resources or a future supervisor. You might also have multiple one-on-one interviews with various different people.

Panel Interview

With panel interviews, there will be one interviewee but more than one interviewer, usually 3-5 in order to break any ties. You don't always know who'll be making the hiring decision, so it's important you give all panel members your attention and eye contact during the interview. For some people panel interviews can be very stressful so practicing beforehand can really help.

One-On-One and Panel Interviews are the favorites of the federal system. You'll generally take part in one of these methods, so if you're not sure which kind you'll be having, feel free to ask the Human Resources representative who calls you to set up your interview.

Phone Interview

There are other methods of interviewing you might see, particularly in the private sector. Phone Interviews are popular because they can take place anywhere. These can be held either as a preliminary interview for the company to get further information about you or to check your qualifications, or they could take the place of a one-on-one interview. Remember to make sure you have reliable phone service, find a quiet area for the interview, but not in your car while driving and smile while speaking because tone of voice goes a long way in showing you're interested.

Video Conference Interview

Along with phone interviews, you might also be given a Skype or VoIP Interview. These interviews are handy for the company because they won't have to fly you to their location if you're out-of-state. Make sure you treat this like a one-on-one interview: dress fully in a suit and dress shoes, have a good Internet connection and ensure the program is up-to-date, make sure it's quiet and make sure your surroundings are clean because the interviewer can see.

Group Interview

A Group Interview is where one interviewer is interviewing multiple people. They're usually held to fill several positions at once and can sometimes lead to a one-on-one or panel interview. The company wants to see how you interact in a group setting, so don't jeopardize the conversation but do show what you can bring to the position.

Stress Interview

Stress Interviews are held for positions where you'll be dealing with stressful situations regularly. The company will see how you deal with hypothetical situations, so be prepared.

Meal Interview

You might also have a Meal Interview, held over lunch or dinner. It's important to remember that although these can be a little informal, it's still an interview, so manners are important, don't go too expensive or messy with your food and never drink alcohol at the meal.

Good luck with whichever interview method you participate in!