10 Steps to a Government Job - For Military Service Members
GovCentral and Military.com
Step 7: Meeting a Recruiter
Sell Yourself: Speak Professionally
During your time in the military you should have had ample time to learn to speak in front of others. Public speaking is extremely important in fire and rescue. As a firefighter, you will be expected to give presentations to members of your department and members of the community alike.
Public speaking is often referred to as the number one fear in the workforce. Tackle that fear early on. If you have to, sign up for speaking classes at your local community college or through the local Toastmasters. There is no substitute for the ability to list yourself as an accomplished public speaker on your application.
Wear a Suit
Always wear a suit or coat and tie. Wearing business attire shows that you hold yourself to the highest standards, and that is what a recruiter is looking for in a candidate. Many prospective recruits make the mistake of showing up in their every day street clothes. This does not go unnoticed and there is a high probability that your resume or application will end up on the bottom of the pile. If, for some reason, it is absolutely not possible for you to wear a suit then make sure you tell the recruiter before hand so they know.
Be prepared with a list of questions you have for the recruiter. This is your chance to get clarifications to questions you might have about an agency you are interested in, common job tasks, or about general career advancement. Make sure your questions are relevant and aren’t already answered through general literature.
Don’t Be a Know-It-All
Don’t try to impress the recruiter with your knowledge (or perceived knowledge) of the government. You’re there to get information from the recruiter, not to give it. Even if the recruiter is telling you something you already know, listen intently and be thankful for the information.
Listen and Be Courteous
When you meet with a recruiter there will be opportunities for you to get your questions answered. Don’t interrupt or cause disruptions if the recruiter is speaking to someone else or isn’t answering your question as quick as you would like. Be courteous and wait for the appropriate time to interject or clarify your question.
Don’t Use Military Jargon
Even though you are transitioning to a military-friendly environment, remember that not all government employees are former military and may not understand or appreciate certain language, words, or attitudes. Always act and speak professionally in front of a recruiter. Even if you find out that the recruiter served in the same unit as you at some point, be professional and don’t accidentally start talking like you’re in boot camp.
Do not be late, especially if you have a one-on-one meeting with the recruiter. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. If you are meeting a recruiter at a job fair, remember that recruiters will usually not forget the first few people they talk to, even if they end up talking with dozens more throughout the day.
Expect Tough Questions
Why do you want a government job? Do you have anything questionable in your past? When was the last time you used drugs? Those are just a few of the questions that you will be asked during your application process. Be prepared to answer them quickly and honestly even as early as your first meeting with the recruiter. Always remember that if you lie, they will find out and your career will be over before it even starts.
Be Prepared to State Your Goals
You should list out your career goals before you even make a meeting with the recruiter. Be true to yourself and be honest, but don’t be stupid. If you’re talking to a recruiter about one specific career paths, don’t go into a lot of detail about your long-term career aspiration to work in a position which you are under-qualified for.
Remember that You Are Talking to a Government Official
The authorities and responsibilities bestowed on government officials can be very serious. You must always be professional and courteous to everyone you encounter. Your attitude and demeanor must convey the embodiment of these principles to the recruiter.