Recruiting Process for Public Policy & Government

To increase your chances of landing a job, it is important for you to use all of your available resources. The recruiting process has many steps including career exploration, industry & organization research, applications, networking and interviewing. The Villanova Career Center has resources including Handshake, Big Interview, Vault Career Guides and many others (including our staff) to help you along the way.

  • Common Entry Level Jobs include Research Analyst/Assistant, Account Specialist, Administrative Clerk, Auditor, Legislative Correspondent, and Coordinator.
  • Since occupations within the government and public policy institutes vary so greatly, it is important to continually check a company’s website and to have job alerts on, the federal government’s website for civil service job opportunities.
  • Begin searching for opportunities utilizing, Handshake and CareerShift.
  • The recruiting and hiring timeline for the government can take several months (typically 6-18 months, depending on the position) due to thorough background checks and clearances, so apply to both internship and full-time positions early. Typically, you must meet every requirement to be considered.
  • Depending on the organization you are applying for within the public policy space, the recruiting and hiring timeline may vary. Some think tanks will hire immediately, while some organizations will begin their search process earlier.
  • Networking is crucial if you are interested in working in this industry as the contacts you make may alert you to open positions. For this reason, it is often suggested to move to Washington, DC to begin building your network and to be available for any immediate openings.
  • Be aware of the timing of administrations and campaigns. Jobs and internships often open and close with this timeline.
  • Check employer websites for interviewing information & application details.

Fit and Experiential Interviews:

  • Behavioral Interview Questions are a set of questions to assess whether you have the soft skills and motivation to succeed at that organization. These often include general questions about your background and why you want to work for the organization, combined with behavioral-based questions asking you to give examples of past experiences. Use the S.T.A.R. approach to structure your examples; Situation/Task that you were facing, Approach and actions you took to address the issue, Result of the actions you took. Learn more about “Developing Your Interview Stories” in Module 5 of Big Interview’s Written Curriculum.
  • Practice with the Big Interview Question Library in Question Library>By Industry and clicking on the profession.
  • To prepare for interviews in this industry, it is also helpful to be knowledgeable of current events and daily news headlines.

The Career Center offers one-hour mock interview appointments that can be scheduled via Handshake to further develop interview skills and receive feedback. Students can also reserve interview rooms within the Employer Engagement Suite. For more information on interviewing, please visit the Career Center’s Interviewing webpage.