Ultra Vires


UV’s Mini-Guide to Government Interviews

You have probably heard numerous times that government interviewers ask standardized questions, they write down everything you say, and that they probably won’t make much, or any, eye contact with you. While this is all true, there are still a few things you should know about government interviews so you can begin living sweetly on Canadian citizens’ tax dollars.

1. They don’t just ask substantive questions. Yes, they want you to know the relevant legislation, but they also ask you questions about you. So make sure you are still an interesting, or at least a semi-normal, person. Or at least appear so in your interview. You don’t want to blank on a simple question like “what was your favourite and least favourite subject in 1L?” because you’re busy worrying about the 15 ways their office can enforce a court order in their favour.

2. Some places will ask for more than just one interview. You might think that the lunches and awkward Wednesday scheduling is for your big-firm friends, but office tours and second interviews happen with government too (albeit rarely). Make sure you factor in the possibility of MAG taking up more than 45 minutes of your time. And they will do all of this without feeding you.

3. The pen is your guide. Since they write down all your answers, it’s important to make sure you aren’t talking too quickly. You can also use the pen to gauge how much to talk. If you’re still answering and they stopped writing 10 minutes ago, move on. But if they’re still writing and you still have thoughts about the barriers the office faces in accessing clients, then keep talking and rack up that perfect score!

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