Peace Corps Interview: FAQ and Tips
I had my interview in March of 2016. I did weeks of research on what the application process and interview would be like. Below I will list my interview experience and my tips for preparing for your interview. As all ways, good luck! Be sure to checkout my vlogs for a look into what life is like here and the future volunteers tab for blogs tailored to those considering the Peace Corps!
Preparing for the Interview:
I received the email to scheduled my interview on March 16, 2016. There was a link within the email that allowed me to sign up for a time of my choosing. I would recommend signing up as soon as you get the email to ensure that you get the most options and can find a time that works for you.
I received an email the next day from the person who would be conducting my interview confirming my time slot and providing me with connection instructions. Our interview was via Skype Business via a "Skype Meeting". This may require a plug in which will be linked in the email. Make sure everything is downloaded an updated well before the time of your interview.
Now that my interview was set, I began my research. I read everything on my country's Peace Corps page, re-read all the documentation on the sector I was interviewing for, and researched my interviewer. I also started reading current events for my country so that I would be up to date should it come up in the interview.
What I found the most helpful was researching potential questions that might be asked. I printed these out and wrote out my answers. This is the website with the list I used.
I would highly recommend filling out these questions and getting very familiar with your answers.
The Actual Interview
I scheduled my interview during a morning slot and scheduled the morning off from work.
I set up my laptop in the study at my house. I made sure the back group was nice and neat. I hardwired the computer into our network so I would not have an connectivity issues. I read on other blogs that people only wore business professional from the waist up since you would be on Skype. I would highly recommend wearing a full outfit just in case you have to get up during your interview. I ended up getting a very persistent mail person who rang the doorbell about 7 times to deliver a package. My interviewer was very cordial about me having to get up during my interview and I didn't feel that the interruption had a negative impact on me.
At the end of the interview, as at the end of all interviews, they will ask if you have any questions. I'm sure everyone has heard this about 1 million times but your answer to that question should never ever be no. You should always have at least 3 or 4 questions prepared. I found that much easier during this interview than any other job interview. My interviewer was a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) so most of my questions revolved around her experience during her service, and if she could go back in time to this time during her application process, what would she like to tell her self.
The interview ended with her reassuring me that I would most likely not hear anything else for months and to not freak out.
The Question that Stumped Me
The very last question that my interviewer asked me, was not something that came up during any of my research. She asked me to describe a time that I failed and how I responded to that.
I was so prepared during my interview and I was so comfortable with all the questions until she threw this curve ball at me. How apropos of what service will be like, prepare as best as possible and hope that through your preparation you will be able to get through whatever is thrown at you.
In preparing for this interview and answering all the questions, it really makes you dig deep into what has shaped you as a person and how each experience has taught you something.
This question seemed to be most interested in assessing your response to your failure. During service, as in life, you will fail multiple times, the kind of person you are is determined by how you respond.
In the blog posts that I came across during my research, some said that you received a "nomination" following your interview and that the invitation was close to follow. I asked my interviewer about this and she told me that they had a restructuring of the program recently and they no longer did it that way.
She told me I would most likely hear something around July 1st when the application window closed but it could be as late as September 1st when all applicants would know by.
Every interview is going to be different and each interviewer will connect with you in a different way. I wish you all the best of luck during your application process and recommend just being yourself. Take deep breaths prior to your interview and rest in the confident of the research you did in preparation.