Saturday, July 21, 2007

Foreign Service...My Oral Assessment

After waiting many months, I finally came to Washington DC for my interview, affectionately known as the Oral Assessment. Along with the interview, I had to take a proof reading exam and write an essay on one of 14-15 topics. I love to write so writing on the topics was fun. All the topics were great but I picked one and began to put my words on the screen. I finished way ahead of the 45 minute time limit. Then I went to another floor, down a few halls and through a couple of doors and sat down at a computer for the proof reading test. I felt good about that part too. Then back to the first office where I met with 2 people. Many questions were asked and I felt I was giving the right answers. Well, right to me but were they right to the interviewers?? When it was all over, I returned to the waiting room to await their decision. After about 10 minutes, they called me back into the conference room and said..."Congratulations!! You passed the oral assessment and we are now extending a conditional offer of employment with the Foreign Service!" I was soooo relieved!!! The hardest part was over. All my worrying and wondering was over. They then briefed me on the process that would begin. The background security check would start Monday (7/23/07) and I would be contacted by someone in my area who would want to meet with me and ask "a thousand questions." This person would also, I understood, visit my neighborhood and previous employers as a routine part of the background check. No measly telephone calls for the US State Department! I will also have a complete physical and submit the results to the FS. At that point, once I'm deemed a good risk, I will be placed on a list of eliglble persons and from that list, they will pull people for different locations. I was told to NOT go home and sell my house or quit my job. This process could take 30 days or it could take 6 months. He told me that if I did not receive a formal offer of a job in 18 months, I would have to apply all over again. I was afraid to ask how often that happened. So, basically after waiting 8 months for the interview, I now get to wait some more. I can deal with that, knowing the tough part is behind me.

So, I'll just go about my life like nothing is going on. Everything is normal, day to day stuff. And one day, when I least expect it, I'll get that letter with the formal offer. Then life will change....I can't wait.


Tea Gal said...

How long did your Security Clearance process take?

Debi said...

The time it takes for the clearance really depends on how quickly the references you gave respond to the agent and appointments are set for the interview with them. That's a real important point...make sure you ask responsible people to be your references. If they drag their feet responding to the agent, it takes longer. I think mine took about one month. I do know that I reported to Washington March 8, 2008. I also had to take the test to be certified in Microsoft Word and Outlook. As dumb as it sounds, Word took me 3 tries. They asked really strange how do you set internet restrictions from Word.

I loved every minute of my time in the Foreign Service. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a job that will make them feel good and will end up looking forward to each day of work.