33 Government Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

Jennifer Herrity

Updated May 27, 2022

Published February 25, 2020

Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.

This article has been approved by an Indeed Career Coach.

Preparing for an interview can be a deciding factor in whether or not you receive a job offer. By reviewing the job requirements and possible interview questions for government jobs, you can give yourself the best chance to present yourself as a qualified candidate to an employer.

In this article, we review general, experience-related and in-depth interview questions that could be asked of you in a government job interview, along with sample answers and tips to help you formulate your own responses.

General government job interview questions

The following list includes generalized questions that could be asked of you in relation to your personal life:

  • How was the drive?

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • Where are you from?

  • What are your three greatest strengths?

  • What are your three greatest weaknesses?

  • Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

  • What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

  • What are you passionate about?

  • What is your biggest regret?

  • Would you rather work alone or with others?

  • If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be and why?

  • What is the last book you read?

Related: 125 Common Interview Questions and Answers (With Tips)

Government job interview questions about experience and background

The following list includes interview questions that ask about your professional background, how you entered the industry and why you decided to pursue government work:

  • Where did you attend college?

  • How did you choose your major?

  • When did you realize you wanted to have a career in government?

  • Can you tell me about your first job working for a government agency?

  • Why did you leave your last job?

  • What were your main job responsibilities at your last job?

  • Were there any difficult situations that you learned from?

  • What will you miss about your last job?

  • Why do you want to work in government?

  • What are your top five technical skills that you can apply to this type of work?

Related: How to Introduce Yourself in an Interview

In-depth government job interview questions

The following list reviews potential questions your interviewer might ask you about your qualifications for the role you are applying for:

  • How did you find out about our agency?

  • What interested you in our agency?

  • How would you describe the role of our agency within the government to a member of the general public?

  • Are you comfortable with the responsibilities that would be expected of you?

  • Why should we hire you over other candidates?

  • What attracted you to this role?

  • What do you plan to accomplish within your first 30 days?

  • This role involves a lot of interaction with concerned citizens. Is that something you can see yourself doing on a daily basis?

  • What do you think will be the most challenging part of this job for you?

  • This role will require you to supervise a team of five professionals. How will you interact with them?

  • If there was one aspect of our government you could change, what would it be and why?

Related: How To Apply for Government Jobs

Government job interview questions with example answers

The following interview questions and sample answers are from the perspective of an individual interviewing for a parks and recreation position:

Why do you want to work in government?

This question is designed to gauge the root of your willingness to work within the government. An employer wants to understand why you want to work for the government specifically, as opposed to other areas of society. You should avoid answers related to pay, benefits or time off, and instead center your answer around the foundational reason for government.

Example: "I've always believed that service-related work is the most rewarding. Knowing that my job is part of a larger initiative to maintain and improve public life keeps me motivated."

Related: How to Use The STAR Interview Response Technique

What interested you in our agency?

By asking this question, an employer is trying to learn more about what you value in a job and its work environment. You should avoid answers related to pay or perks. This question is also used to gauge what you know about the government agency you are interviewing with.

Example: "I've always been drawn to opportunities that allow me to serve other people. I became interested in your agency after being inspired by your agency's motto—'To provide joy and opportunities for learning to all ages'—and I've seen how the different community programs offered by parks and recreation have positively impacted the citizens of Louden County."

Related: 18 Types Of Federal Government Jobs (Including Benefits)

How would you describe the role of our agency within the government to a member of the general public?

This question is designed to see what you know about the agency and its responsibilities, but it is also designed to gauge how well you would interact with citizens as a government employee.

Example: "Our government agency is devoted to serving the citizens of Louden County by planning and overseeing fun and educational events, such as the trail-walking club, Christmas festival and historic figure talks at the pavilion in Whitetail Park. Our agency is also responsible for making sure that our city's parks remain in pristine condition to be enjoyed by all."

Related: 15 Highest Paying Government Jobs

Are you comfortable with the responsibilities that would be expected of you?

An interviewer asks this question not only to see how comfortable you are with the role but also to see how in-depth you have researched the position and its responsibilities. Your answer should demonstrate that you understand the specific title and its required job duties.

Example: "I feel very confident that I have the necessary skills and qualifications to fulfill this job position. I am well-versed in government policies, have 10 years of experience in customer-oriented positions and have been commended in my community outreach programs."

Related: 10 Government Job Interview Tips for Success

This role involves a lot of interaction with concerned citizens. Is that something you can see yourself doing on a daily basis?

This question is designed to evaluate your readiness to work in a citizen-oriented position. Your answer should be positive and detailed, explaining why you could see yourself in this kind of role.

Example: "I've always been a people person. It's one of the aspects of government that I find most appealing. As I have held multiple customer service positions in previous jobs, I have developed a set of skills that are specific to communicating with customers to find the best solutions while keeping them calm and making sure they feel valued."

Related: What To Expect From the Federal Government Hiring Process After Your Interview

What changes would you make to our agency and why?

This question is used by an interviewer to learn more about what you know of their agency. This is also an opportunity for you to demonstrate your creativity and possible leadership qualities. Your answer should reflect a positive outlook on the agency and avoid any type of criticism towards the agency or its employees.

Example: "I would want to expand the reach of your Christmas festival. I read about the revenue that is acquired each year, and I believe we could circulate a portion of that revenue back into the festival's funding. We could lengthen the timeline of the festival from the week before Christmas Day to two weeks before with the festival concluding on Christmas Eve. We could also amp up the marketing plan for the festival to spread awareness to neighboring counties."

Related: 24 Civil Service Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Jobs in government

If you're interested in working in government at the local, state or federal levels, you may have many employment opportunities. Here are 10 jobs in government to explore:

1. Park ranger

2. Policy analyst

3. Air traffic controller

4. Civil engineer

5. Compliance officer

6. Firefighter

7. Surveyor

8. Librarian

9. Mail carrier

10. Records clerk

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