Put my mind at ease! Job interview worries
September 20, 2011 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Put my mind at ease! Job interview worries

[posting for my fiance]

Hey everyone,

I recently had a job interview with a fed. gov't agency. The interview took place last Wednesday. Due to the fiscal year obligations, the person is required to start on Monday, Sept. 26th. For anyone that knows anything about hiring with the feds, this is an insanely short span to get the person on board.

My father worked at this office for ~5 years, and spent 38 years with the agency on the whole. He was well-liked, and his old supervisor was one of the 3 women interviewing me. If I get the job, I'm not going to say it was the deciding factor, but it certainly can't hurt my case.

Fast-forward to Friday, two days after the interview. Both of my professional references were contacted (current and previous supervisors), and both gave glowing reports. My supervisor mentioned to me that they were insistent upon stating and re-stating that short notice was inevitable and that it would be a week (or less) of notice. We had discussed a situation like this before, and of course, she told them she was okay with that.

On Friday of last week, she requested my official transcripts. I had a copy at the interview, but they wanted the real deal. After much e-mail correspondence, I did rush delivery from Penn State's website and they arrived at her office at around 9:45 yesterday morning. I was expecting them to arrive later in the week, but I'm glad they came so soon.

Based on what I've shown here, what do you all think? Some people have told me that contacting references is a sure lock, and others have told me that it's done for 2-3 candidates to do further weeding. At the interview, I was told that the selected candidate should know by "Monday or Tuesday" of this week, but nothing with that is definite. Background check, security clearance, etc.

Thanks for any and all input.
posted by cozenedindigo to Work & Money (7 answers total)
I think there's just no way to know what the outcome will be. It sounds good to me, but I also know from first-hand experience that when I do this sort of thinking with regard to interviews, the over-analyzing I'm doing is really me trying to control or manipulate the decision. There is not a lot you can do at this point to sway them at this point. It's hard, but try to breathe and be patient.
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:23 AM on September 20, 2011

It all sounds positive to me! With that short of a time frame, I don't think they'd be bothering with "official official" transcripts if you didn't have a very serious shot - they don't need those for additional information so much as they need a copy for the file. Hang in there - the waiting sucks, but (and I'm not jinxing anything here, I did knock on wood) I think you're in a good spot.

If you want to direct your energy, try meditating and visualizing. Let yourself do that for a bit and then pull your mind back to whatever else you have going on.
posted by mrs. taters at 10:25 AM on September 20, 2011

From a MeFite who would prefer to remain anonymous:
Hi, I'm in my third month as a GS-15 attorney with a federal agency. After my in-person interview off of the "short list", a senior manager (on the committee deciding the hiring) contacted my references and then they asked me some follow-up questions (requesting some of my prior work product). The conversations with my references were more in-depth than anything I had heard of, previously.

It's my understanding that the internal process here was that after the "short list", they were checking my references, and that they had not gone that far with other candidates on the "short list". A final decision wasn't made until after they had contacted all of my references, reviewed my additional submissions and conferred internally. Also, the offer I received was a conditional one, pending my clearance of the OPM background investigation.

As I understand it, the federal hiring process is a little more complicated than many private-sector processes. Some of the hiring process literally requires scoring candidates, and even when there is broad consensus about who the "right" candidate might be, the managers must jump through the hoops. (My private-sector experience suggests that private-sector managers with appropriate seniority may have greater leeway in cutting through the HR-mandated crap, compared to the lack of discretion afforded to comparable government managers.)

The transcripts (for the OP) and work product sample (for me) could be something as simple as "we had this on our scoring form, other candidates submitted this stuff, and before we make our offer we need to have a completed scoring form showing our preferred candidate came out the highest". There just isn't an easy way to generalize, I think.

Hiring practices vary from agency to agency, and the pressures caused by the end of the fiscal year and current budgetary environment certainly can also skew those process.

Good luck!
posted by jessamyn at 10:38 AM on September 20, 2011

Mod note: also, few comments removed - OP, please make clear who you are when you reply and keep in mind that this is not strictly a kosher rule bending here
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:39 AM on September 20, 2011

Thanks for the replies everyone! I appreciate the insight.

It seems that I just can't jump to any sort of conclusion, good or bad. I suppose if I don't hear anything by Thursday evening, I can probably assume I didn't get the job.

Going through all of that effort on their part seems silly if they had no intent to hire, but once again, rationalizing...

Thanks everyone.
posted by elninost0rm at 11:11 AM on September 20, 2011

Response by poster: Update: He got the job! Thanks for the help, and no more rule bending from us :)
posted by cozenedindigo at 9:03 AM on September 24, 2011

posted by runningwithscissors at 10:13 AM on September 27, 2011

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