January 30, 2015
- Applying for Jobs at the Library of Congress
- Interview and Selection Procedures
- Pay and Benefits
- Explanation of Common Terms Found in LC Vacancy Announcements
Interview and Selection Procedures
- How long does it usually take after the announcement closes until I am notified whether or not I will be interviewed?
- How will I be notified if I am to be interviewed?
- Who will interview me?
- I've been invited to a "structured interview" at the Library. What is a structured interview and how should I prepare for it?
- I was invited to participate in a "preliminary telephone interview." What is this?
- If I'm interviewed, how long will it be before I am notified whether or not I got the job? How will I be notified?
- I have been scheduled for an interview, but I misplaced my information on where and when. Who do I contact?
- If I receive a "conditional offer" and intend to accept it, should I give notice to my present employer or should I wait for the official "final" offer?
- If selected, will I be required to undergo any type of background investigation?
- If selected, when will I start working for the Library?
- If I am hired by the Library, will I be required to complete a "probationary" period of employment? If so, how long will this probationary period last?
- I do not reside in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. If selected for a Library vacancy, will the Library pay for my moving expenses?
- What is a recruitment bonus and does the Library pay recruitment bonuses?
Interview and Selection Procedures
The length of time it takes to learn if you will receive an interview depends on the vacancy. Applicants applying for most positions who have been selected to receive an interview typically are notified within 3 to 4 weeks of the vacancy closing.
Candidates to be interviewed are typically notified by telephone. However, if we are unable to reach you by phone, we will try to contact you via email or, if necessary, via letter.
You will be interviewed by an Interview Panel that includes the Selecting Official and at least two additional Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).
If you are not sure what category of position you are being interviewed for, you should feel free to ask when the Library contacts you to schedule your interview.
Structured interviews are designed to assess a candidate's job-related competencies using a predetermined set of questions that are linked directly to the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs) outlined in the vacancy announcement for the position. All interview candidates are asked to respond to the same series of questions. Responses are scored by the Interview Panel using standardized criteria (referred to as "benchmarks") that are determined in advance of the interviews.
The questions you will be asked during your structured interview will be "behavioral" in nature, that is, they will be designed to elicit from you specific, focused examples from your past experience, education, and/or training. You likely will be asked to describe past job experiences or situations and to explain the specific actions you took in those situations, your role in the situations, and the outcome of the situations. Since all of the questions asked during the structured interview will be linked directly to the KSAOs outlined in the vacancy announcement for the position, familiarizing yourself with these KSAOs and thinking about your past job experiences in relation to them is one good way to prepare for a structured interview at the Library.
Preliminary telephone interviews may be used in advance of the full structured interview to verify candidates' experience related to one or two critical competencies/KSAOs. Essentially, the questions related to one or two competencies/KSAOs in the full structured interview are asked of all interview candidates by telephone rather than in person. Responses are scored by the Interview Panel using standardized criteria (referred to as "benchmarks") that are determined in advance of the interviews. If the Interview Panel determines that a candidate has "no evidence of experience" in one or both of the competencies/KSAOs, he/she is disqualified from further consideration for the position. All other candidates will proceed to the full structured interview. Preliminary telephone interviews typically last about 30 minutes.
The Library strives to make all selections within 90 days of identifying the interview pool. However, the time-frame for selection varies depending on the nature of the position, the interview schedule and the availability of individual candidates and interviewers for interviews. As a result, the Interview Panel is often the best source of information regarding the projected time-frame for filling the position. It is perfectly appropriate for you to ask the Panel about their projected time-frame during the informal question & answer portion of your interview. Once the Selecting Official has made a final selection, he/she will contact the selected candidate and extend a "tentative" offer of employment. Upon successful completion of the Library's personnel security review, the Library's Office of Human Resources Services will extend the official final offer of employment to the selected candidate. Tentative offers typically are extended by the Selecting Official via telephone; final offers are extended via telephone and are followed by a formal letter outlining the terms and conditions of employment. Candidates who were interviewed but not selected are notified as soon as the selected candidate has accepted the final offer.
You may call the Library of Congress Employment Office at (202) 707-5627 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The Employment Office will direct you to the appropriate staffing specialist.
You should wait until you receive the "final" offer before giving notice to your present employer or making financial commitments to relocate.
Yes. The Library's Personnel Security Office (PSO) conducts a standard background check on all new hires. For most positions, this is a fairly straightforward process that takes approximately three - five weeks to complete. For positions that require higher-level government security clearances, the background investigation process is more extensive. The vacancy announcement will indicate whether or not a position requires a higher-level security clearance. If you are selected for a position that requires a higher-level security clearance, you will receive specific guidance and instructions from the Library's PSO about what to expect during the investigation process.
Most new hires typically start 4-6 weeks after receiving their conditional offer of employment.
Yes, most Library of Congress positions require the completion of a one-year probationary period.
Typically, the Library does not pay for moving/relocation expenses. However, the Library does have the option to pay these expenses in situations where the Library determines that payment is warranted (perhaps, for example, when recruiting from within the United States to fill a position at one of the Library's overseas offices). The decision about whether or not to pay for moving/relocation expenses typically is made in advance of a position being posted, and is reflected in the vacancy announcement for that position.
The Library also has the option to offer "relocation bonuses" to current Federal employees who would be required to relocate from a different commuting area in order to accept a "hard-to-fill" position within the Library. A relocation bonus is a one-time payment of up to 25% of the annual rate of basic pay. Before receiving a relocation bonus, an employee must sign a written agreement to complete a specified period of employment with the hiring agency (typically one to three years).
A recruitment bonus is a one-time payment of up to 25% of the annual starting rate of basic pay (excluding locality pay) to a "newly appointed" Library employee. "Newly appointed" means that the employee has never worked for the Federal Government before or has had a break in service of one year or more. A recruitment bonus may be used when the Library believes that, in the absence of such a bonus, it would encounter difficulty in filling an advertised position due to a shortage of qualified applicants or related factors. Before receiving a recruitment bonus, a "newly appointed" employee must sign a written agreement to complete a specified period of employment with the hiring organization (typically one to three years).