From Peace Corps Wiki
Many applicants first big fear is the interview. Who likes an interview? You want to feel prepared, but not overly prepared, but definitely not in the dark. The key to the Peace Corps interview is to dress professionally like you would to any job interview (slacks, button up collared shirt, tie, skirt, suit, dress shoes, blouse, primped), relax and be comfortable (many people attribute a Peace Corps interview to being like talking with an old friend about why you are joining), and be informed about the Peace Corps (but be prepared to ask questions). An interview may last anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours.
These questions have been compiled by various sources who have been interviewed during their application process. In general, it has been agreed by those who've looked at this list that this is a pretty concrete list of the questions that you will be asked during the interview. The list may not be word for word, but nearly all these questions will be asked in one wording or another, and one order or another. Usually there are a couple extra or a couple they don't ask, but they all sort of fall in sync with this list. Finally, this list should be used as a guide, only to look at so you can start thinking about the interview, get general ideas of how you might respond.
(recommend turning any response from a negative into a positive, as well as in most responses.)
- Why the Peace Corps?
- Why do you want to volunteer?
- Why the areas of volunteer work you chose?
- Do you have any experience in those fields?
- What's rewarding about your volunteer work and what have you learned from it?
- Give an example of a leadership position you had
- Describe a situation where you had to exhibit or use leadership skills.
- Have you ever had to take leadership in an unstructured setting?
- In your leadership position(s), how did you train or lead people?
- Tell about an experience when you were able to transfer some knowledge or skill to someone who was different from yourself.
- What did you learn about your interpersonal skills from that experience?
- What did you learn about the other person?
- Tell about a time when you worked in an unstructured or ambiguous situation?
- How did you approach the task at hand? What did you learn about your personal strengths from that experience?
- How do you deal with confrontation?
- Discuss a situation where you had to make a difficult decision and how people dealt with it/ you dealt with it.
- What frustrates you and how do you deal with it?
- What causes the most stress in your life and how do you deal with it?
- How do you feel about any of the following and how do you think you could deal with that?
- Living somewhere with no running water or no hot water?
- Living somewhere isolated?
- Being away from home and family?
- Trying new foods?
- Being in a country that has alcohol as a key drink?
- Being in a country with no alcohol?
- Being in a country with strict gender roles?
- Being in a country with a lack of privacy?
- Being isolated?
- Being in a country with possible minority challenges?
- How long have you been away from home before?
- What do you do for fun?
- Have you ever had French/Spanish? How would you feel about learning it now?
- Do you have a religious preference of the country you go to?
- Explain your preferences for geographic locations and jobs.
- Are you in a relationship? Tell me about it. (if so, you will have an additional form to complete)
- How does PC fit into your long term career/life goals?
- Tell me about a time when you had to change or modify your behavior to fit in culturally.
- How is your support network at home--friends and family?
- Do you solve problems/can handle things independently or do you need to always call someone for help/advice.
- Is there anyone who disagrees with your decision?
- How do you feel about that?
Questions to Ask
Besides giving answers you are happy with, something that is quite important, sometimes overlooked, and the interviewer is really interested in are the questions you ask them. They want to see that you know about the organization, you've done some research, but that you are still seeking more knowledge about the Peace Corps. Keep in mind that you may think you know the answer to something, but most likely, you only know part of it, so ask anyway!
- Ask about the recruiters/interviewers experience in the Peace Corps.
- Where and when did they go?
- What was it like?
- What was the most the most difficult thing they encountered?
- What was the thing they least expected that happened?
- What did they get out of it the most?
- If you are interested in the PC Fellows program, ask about it.
- How far apart are volunteers placed?
- What if I get severely ill or injured and can't get to the Peace Corps office or another volunteer--what happens?
- With the PCVs recently pulled out of Georgia and Bolivia--what happens to me if that should happen?
- Will I be reassigned?
- Do I have more of a say on a new country?
- How long would a reassignment take?
- How long will I wait to see if we go back to that country?
- How do our belongings get back to us if we are very quickly evacuated?
- Will I be reassigned?
- I have heard in-country training consists of language, culture, technical, & safety--could you tell me anything more specific about it?
- In some countries you can live on your own after training, and in others you're required to live the full 2 years with a host family, is that correct?
- In countries where its required to live with a host family, why is that required?
- How is a host family chosen?
- How much of your work as a volunteer is completed solely by you and how much does the Peace Corps help with?
- If you are having trouble getting your project started, does the Peace Corps provide any help?
- If I am nominated, what can I do to make myself more competitive for placement?
- What steps do they take to make sure they are providing their volunteers with the safest environment possible?