My Peace Corps Interview(s)

The day after my last post, on December 16th, I was offered an interview for Mozambique. My interviewer emailed me with a few date and time ranges to choose from. Unfortunately, all of the options would take place during my vacation, so I selected one after Christmas so that I would have time to set up. My interview was scheduled for the morning of December 28th. I appreciated that in the interview email, my interviewer included “interview tips.”

Interview tips:

  • The Peace Corps is a professional organization and we expect applicants to conduct themselves in a professional manner during the entire application process.
  • Learn about the Peace Corps, Volunteer life, and the country you are under consideration for before the interview. I encourage you to review the Peace Corps website, the Peace Corps Mozambique Country Website, the attached Position Description, and the attached “Common Challenges Faced by Peace Corps Volunteers” document.
  • The interview will ask you about past and current long term experiences that relate to the following:
    • living or working with people from another culture;
    • background in working with/in an especially unstructured environment;
    • fulfilling an important but difficult commitment;
    • history of working on a team;
    • experience transferring knowledge or skills;
    • failing to achieve a desired goal
  • Try to share different experiences for each of these subjects.
  • During the interview, we will discuss the challenges outlined in the attached “Expectations for Service” document.

The vacation that I was on was in a small town in Mexico. During my time there, the Internet had been pretty iffy, but we had a few backup plans. However, the morning of the interview, the wi-fi was out. We went down to the town plaza to see if we could connect there. I was able to get a small connection, but not strong enough for a video chat. What happened next was absolutely incredible. My host and his father managed to stop the noisy construction taking place in the plaza (jackhammering and music), secure permission for me to connect directly to their internet via ethernet cable, and put me in the old town jail, which was in the center of the plaza. I found out after my interview that they also lent the workers their truck and joined in on the construction efforts. I managed to get connected and start my interview only a few minutes late.

My interview was pretty standard compared to the other PCV blogs I’ve seen. We stuck to the 6 questions I was given a heads-up about, and my interviewer asked a lot of follow-up questions to elicit more information. Unfortunately, in the middle of my 6th question the internet went out on the Peace Corps’ end, and the connection was lost. I was frantic and emailed my interviewer trying to figure out what was wrong. Luckily, a few hours after my initial interview, she emailed me and we managed to set up a later interview to finish up and go over the expectations and concerns after I got back to the States.

The second part of my interview was yesterday, January 5th. I felt really confident about the interview, and my interviewer did a great job of explaining what service in Mozambique would be like and answering my questions. Some of the questions I asked included “Can you tell me a little bit about the malaria medications and how frequently I’ll need to take them?”, “What advice would you give your pre-service self?”, “What is the Mozambican attitude towards academic integrity?”, and “What surprised you the most about your service?” I feel these questions did a great job of helping me establish a personal connection with my interviewer, communicate my interest in the Mozambique Peace Corps position, and answer my questions and concerns.

Additionally, I also asked my interviewer when she realistically expects to have made a decision regarding my application, and she gave me the date range of mid-January to mid-February! She also told me that I would only have 3 days to make my decision and accept the offer. Right now I’m in limbo as I’m waiting for my last reference to be completed. Once my interviewer has had a chance to interview other applicants and compare my strengths with theirs, I should have an answer! I’m so excited I’ve made it this far, and I’m anxious to hear back and (hopefully!) move through the process!

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