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DHS

The Department of Homeland Security has a vital mission: to secure the nation from the many threats we face. This requires the dedication of more than 230,000 employees in jobs that range from aviation and border security to emergency response, from cybersecurity analyst to chemical facility inspector. [Their] duties are wide-ranging, but [their] goal is clear: keeping America safe. (source: www.dhs.gov)

Perhaps you are working for the DHS or interested in working for the DHS. Here is a forum to share your experience with the DHS.

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armycpttx  
#41 Posted : Tuesday, January 4, 2011 10:26:34 PM(UTC)

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Hey everyone looks like FPS is moving along nicely, just remember this you will be having 


Panel Behavioral Interviews


Here, interviewers
use a set of questions related to specific job skills. You will be asked about problem-solving skills, leadership, conflicts, initiative etc. TIPS: 
Practice talking
about you skills and qualifications that fit the new job. Think about your work, volunteering, and education and prepare stories that feature your skills.


armycpttx  
#42 Posted : Tuesday, January 4, 2011 10:28:21 PM(UTC)

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What is Behavior Based Interviewing?

Behavioral Based Interviewing focuses on experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities that are job related. It is based on the belief that past behavior and performance predicts future behavior and performance. You may use work experience, activities, hobbies, volunteer work, school projects, family life - anything really - as examples of your past behavior. Current employment literature indicates that there is a strong trend toward this type of interviewing.

What Do Employers Evaluate in A Behavioral Interview?

Employers are looking for 3 types of skills: Content Skills, Functional or Transferable Skills, and Adaptive or Self Management Skills.

Content Skills -- are work specific skills such as computer programming, accounting, welding, etc. These skills are expressed as nouns.

Functional or Transferable Skills -- are used with people, information or things such as organizing, managing, developing, communicating, etc. These skills are expressed as verbs.

Adaptive or Self-Management Skills -- are personal characteristics such as dependable, team player, self directed, punctual, etc. expressed as adjectives.

How Are Behavioral Questions Different from Other Types of Interviewing Questions?

There are 3 types of questions typically found in interviews:

  1. Theoretical questions -- Questions that place you in a hypothetical situation. These questions are more likely to test your skill at answering questions rather than in doing a good job.
    Example: How would you organize your friends to help you move into a new apartment?
  2. Leading questions -- Questions that hint at the answer the interviewer is seeking by the way they are phrased. 
    Example: Working on your own doesn't bother you does it?
  3. Behavioral questions -- Questions that seek demonstrated examples of behavior from your past experience and concentrate on job related functions. They may include:
    • Open-ended questions -- require more than a yes of no response. They often begin with "Tell me...", "Describe...", "When...".
      Example: Describe a time you had to be flexible in planning a workload.
    • Close-ended questions -- Used mostly to verify or confirm information.
      Example: You have a degree in psychology, is that correct?
    • Why questions -- Used to reveal rationale for decisions you have made or to determine your level of motivation. 
      Example: Why did you decide to major in this program at UW- Eau Claire rather than at a small private college or larger university?

A quiz on behavioral, theoretical and leading questions

  1. How would you resolve a customer service problem where the customer demanded an immediate refund?
  2. Tell me about a time you had to juggle a number of work priorities. What did you do?
  3. You can work weekends occasionally can’t you?

Answers:  A. Theoretical; B. Behavioral; C. Leading

How Can I Best Answer Behavior-Based Questions?

Think of "PAR for the Course". A complete answer to a behavior-based question must explain the task or problem for which you were responsible, the specific action you took, and the results of your actions. Your answer must contain all of these components to be a PAR answerTell the interviewer a "story" (with a beginning, a middle, and an end) about how you used a practical skill.

Problem (P) -- Advertising revenue was falling off for the Daily News and large numbers of long-term advertisers were not renewing contracts.

Action (A) -- I designed a new promotional packet to go with the rate sheet and compared the benefits of DN circulation with other ad media in the area. I also set-up a special training session for the account executives with a College of Business professor who discussed competitive selling strategies.

Result (R) -- We signed contracts with fifteen former advertisers for daily ads and five for special supplements. We increased our new advertisers by twenty percent (quantities are always good) over the same period last year.

Can You Give Me An Example of A Complete PAR Story?

Right before Thanksgiving break, most of the guys had gone home for the weekend break. Our fraternity president and vice president had already left for home when we got a call that one of our brothers had been involved in a car accident. I volunteered to go to the hospital to be with him and then called his parents. I also made arrangements for them to stay at the Hospital Hospitality House when they got there. They were pleased I had taken time from my own weekend to help them. Our chapter advisor congratulated me for keeping a cool head and handling the situation. I've since decided to run for chapter office.

A Quiz on Questions

Determine which type of question each of the following is.

  1. How would you resolve a customer service problem where the customer demanded an immediate refund?
  2. Tell me about a time you had to juggle a number of work priorities. What did you do?
  3. You can work weekends occasionally can't you?
  4. What is your idea of the perfect job?

How Can I Prepare for A Behavioral Interview?

  • Analyze the type of positions for which you're applying. Try to get an actual job description. What skills do employers require?
  • Analyze your own background. What skills do you have (content, functional, and adaptive) that relate to your job objective?
  • Identify examples from your past experience where you demonstrated those skills. How can you "tell a story" about your use of particular skills or knowledge? Concentrate on developing complete PAR answers and remember that a good story has a beginning, middle and end.
  • Wherever possible, quantify your results. Numbers illustrate your level of authority and responsibility.
  • Be prepared to provide examples of when results didn't turn out as you planned. What did you do when this happened?
  • Before starting the interview process, identify 2 or 3 of your top selling points and determine how you will convey these points (with demonstrated PAR stories) during the interview.
  • Once employed, keep a personal achievement diary to help document demonstrated performance (PAR stories).

Material for this fact sheet is adapted from materials developed by Larry Beck, Ball State University.



NavyWolverine  
#43 Posted : Tuesday, January 4, 2011 11:29:05 PM(UTC)

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Armycptx,

Thanks for the prep material.  Just awesome.

Good luck everyone, hopefully we will be getting calls for interviews soon. Remember, it's a major honor to be in the running and to be considered for a position to serve the country this way....whatever the end result is.

-Thin blue line pride.
airborneSSG  
#44 Posted : Wednesday, January 5, 2011 12:47:25 PM(UTC)

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Wow, thanks everyone for the great info! As a noob to the federal employment scene its comforting to at least have some info.
I too applied for and was referred for the LESO/Canine position for GS/11, but here in WA. 8yrs Active under my belt and currently now in reserves. 
I got my referral letter on 30DEC.  What is anyones timeline looking like thus far as far as interview response times etc? Just wondering what kind of time frame I can look at. 

Thanks for the info, best of luck to everyone with their respective positions. Thumbs Up
cpt biggs  
#45 Posted : Wednesday, January 5, 2011 12:56:33 PM(UTC)

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When I interview for FAMS, questions were basic tell me a time when.. and how did you react... and what were the results. All agencies have the same questions. You are graded 1 out of 5 for each answer. Good luck to you bro. Just talk about Iraq or Afghan and different situations that you encountered there. 

airborneSSG  
#46 Posted : Wednesday, January 5, 2011 1:01:58 PM(UTC)

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Thanks sir! How long after your referral letter did they call you about an interview? Are you still in the process of that position? 

And a big congrats for one hell of a position! Clap  Thats good stuff.  
cpt biggs  
#47 Posted : Wednesday, January 5, 2011 1:23:47 PM(UTC)

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I'm a FAM now. When I went through two years ago it went from slow to fast in a month! Its like first manifest at Bragg.. Hurry up and wait. Just hang in and keep your eyes open. FAMS will be hiring soon. look out for that too SSG. Your a senior NCO I'm sure you will do fine at any interview. Who were you with at Bragg?
airborneSSG  
#48 Posted : Wednesday, January 5, 2011 1:49:02 PM(UTC)

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Congrats sir, 

I was in DISCOM before it was broken up to the new WTB's.  21st Chemical CO (ABN).  Yeah, it sure feels like manifest call!  pre-jump is done, now time to sit on my ass with my chute! LOL! I'll definitely check out FAMS, that sounds awesome, thanks for the heads up, appreciate the good words. 

Clear skies and light breezes sir! keep your feet and knees together! LOL

cpt biggs  
#49 Posted : Wednesday, January 5, 2011 2:04:38 PM(UTC)

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As a former Jumpmaster I always try to steer fellow paratroopers into a good direction. We have to always look out for each other! 1-504 PIR ... Rangers Lead The Way!!!!!!!

airborneSSG  
#50 Posted : Wednesday, January 5, 2011 2:14:34 PM(UTC)

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Nice! Well youre in the right work for sure, wish I was half as high speed! the 504 were some good guys. Thats for certain, we always have to look out for eachother. AIRBORNE! DEVILS IN BAGGY PANTS! 
airborneSSG  
#51 Posted : Thursday, January 6, 2011 4:37:03 AM(UTC)

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Does anyone have any information on the Physical Security Specialist/LESO Canine Explosives position duties other than the standard line info they gave in the job posting? Any idea what the actual day to day activities or anything like that?  24/7 firearm carry? Take home vehicle? Any info is much appreciated since the internet is not turning up much information for me thus far.  
redvettenuts  
#52 Posted : Thursday, January 6, 2011 7:58:03 AM(UTC)

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AirborneSSG... I don't know a ton about the position but I think I can answer your questions with a degree of certainty. I have a close friend who works for FPS that was kind enough to tell me a little about it.
 
It's my understanding that you would work in a LEO role 75% of the time and in an Inspector role 25%. You can and will be "loaned" out to other agencies both federal and civilian. My guess is that you would be doing lots of sweeps of federal buildings with your assigned dog. You would of course also be required to complete all needed training to include Canine school.
 
Yes, you will carry your duty weapon 24/7.
 
Yes, you will be issued a take-home ride. This is necessary with almost all Canine positions for the safety of the dog.
 
Not sure where you applied for but I just got the call today and have been invited for an interview in Federal Way, WA. I must admit I'm already a bit nervous. I have all of the canine stuff in the bag considering I have ten years dog handling experience but the physical security stuff has me worried. Guess I will just have to see how things go. Good luck to you...
 
 
airborneSSG  
#53 Posted : Thursday, January 6, 2011 8:30:26 AM(UTC)

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Wow! Thats the same office I was referred to! Small world! When did they call you?  Did they give you a interview date, is it local? Did they call you or email you?  I havent gotten any call so not sure if i am in the running anymore.  No canine experience aside from owning shepherds over my life.  I was in chemical weapons and explosives for my military career, but not sure if thatll be enough.  What grade did they approve you for?  Sorry for all the questions, but you know how bad it sucks to be in the dark!  Appreciate any info, and best of luck to you.  Thumbs Up
cpt biggs  
#54 Posted : Thursday, January 6, 2011 9:24:22 AM(UTC)

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Hey Airborne,
 
Also try TSA Bomb Detection Canine/ BOA positions too, especially with your experience.
redvettenuts  
#55 Posted : Thursday, January 6, 2011 9:29:34 AM(UTC)

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They called me today and asked if I was still interested... I of course told him that I absolutely was. My interview is next Wednesday (telephone interview). There wasn't any talk about pay grades yet but in my experience, that usually comes up in the interview or once a job offer is made.
 
The one thing I can tell you for sure is that these jobs are very, very competitive. I recently have interviewed as a EDD Handler with TSA at three seperate locations. One in particular had over 13,000 applicants that was narrowed down to just 17 invited for interviews. I feel very lucky to have gotten to that stage but unfortunately never got a job offer. It seems that each agency is looking for something different. TSA wanted/needed EDD Handlers but chose to hire from within instead of hiring experience. Needles to say, their canine program is broke and not doing so well. Another friend of mine who works as a LEO for the Department of the Interior has regular dealings with FPS and was told this... They are looking for experience. FPS is well aware of the problems at TSA and doesn't want to run into the same shortcomings. With that said, I think your explosives experience is a huge plus but I fear they may be looking for Dog Handlers this round. I hope I don't discourage you, that's not my intent at all, just passing on what the grape vine told me. On a more positive note though... At least you got referred, that's a huge step that you should feel proud of.
 
Good luck with everything and let me know if I can help you in any way...
 
BTW, thanks for your service. I just ETS'd back in 2007 after 9 years Regular Army, SSG, 31B (MP).
Eric Brought&#111;n  
#56 Posted : Thursday, January 6, 2011 9:41:56 AM(UTC)
EricB326

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Congrats on the interview notification.  I got the same notification this morning for Louisville, KY.  Let's keep our fingers crossed! 
airborneSSG  
#57 Posted : Thursday, January 6, 2011 9:55:30 AM(UTC)

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Thanks for the leads sir!  
Redvette: Thanks for all the info, and thanks to you too for serving! You MP's had a rough ride during the last 10 yrs.  Yeah, your experience is definitely a good fit!  I hope my explosives experience has enough play, but who knows right!  Like you were saying, they seem to sometimes make crazy moves.  Good luck with your interview, youve got plenty of experience and from what i've heard its not going to be a grill session interview, so im sure you'll knock it out..just imagine that first E5 board! LOL! Im hopeful i'll get a call soon for an interview, but no holding my breath! I'll keep ya posted, and keep me in the loop, i'll keep my fingers crossed that one of will get it.
I was 74D that moved into the new CBRNE (explosives expansion) position.  


cpt biggs  
#58 Posted : Thursday, January 6, 2011 12:23:41 PM(UTC)

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I've seen an E-5 board at division, I was happy I was an officer...lol Man.. tough
airborneSSG  
#59 Posted : Thursday, January 6, 2011 12:48:16 PM(UTC)

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ha! Roger that jumpmaster, but i've seen some of Propblast for the cherry LT's at Bragg, and i think i'd take the board! LOL
cpt biggs  
#60 Posted : Thursday, January 6, 2011 12:56:34 PM(UTC)

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lol.. you brought back memories.. I hated my propblast CSM got in us...lol
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