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Author Topic: What is the reason that Peace Corps no longer conducts in-person interviews?  (Read 1461 times)

Offline Bernie2016

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  • PC Status: Applicant
I didn't know this fact until I was invited to an interview. I was under the impression that I would meet with one of the regional recruiters in person. I don't mind the video format, but it just seems kind of strange, because it seems to me that meeting someone in person is the better way to get a first impression of an applicant. I tried thinking of reasons, and the only one I could think of would be to save money, but I'm not even sure how that would save the Peace Corps money, as they will not be spending any money if applicants have to come to the recruitment offices? It also seems strange that reference checks are all done through e-mail, as having a reference simply fill out a form doesn't give Peace Corps an idea of whether or not the results are accurate. If the placement officer talks to a reference on the phone, for example, they might be able to sense hesitation or misgivings.

I also figured the forum could use a new topic, as there haven't been a lot of postings here, so this is my contribution to keeping the forum active since I can't afford a donation right now.

Offline Jeff

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That's actually a really good question - I'm not actually sure why they switched, but the cynic in me thinks it has a lot to do with the perception of efficiency and the whole governtment-wide push towards technology-driven work.  In the past, you either had an in-person interview, or, if you weren't able to do so, you could have a phone interview.  All of which was done with a recruiter.

Now, as you may have already noticed, the recruiter actually has NOTHING to do with the process of becoming a PCV.  Their only role is literally recruiting - getting people to put in applications, and helping people to try to put in good applications.  They can answer general questions, but no longer have a role in selecting or placing applicants.  Everything now is done by the placement officers.  This changed with the 'new' process, so maybe it does actually make more sense to have the placement officers interview for specific countries since they are the experts on what that country's needs are, and now you apply to specific openings in specific countries (unlike the 'old' process where you just applied to PC and got what you got).

There are no placement officers anywhere other than DC, so from a practical perspective, this makes it impossible to interview candidates one-on-one as people apply world-wide.  What annoyed (?) me, though, was that I literally worked 2 blocks or so from the office in DC and STILL couldn't interview in person.  I've done four interviews with PC over a decade, and three of them were in-person.

In my opinion, much better - not only from the interviewer's standpoint as you mention, but also from my perspective as the interviewee!
RPCV - Ghana, 03-05
PCV - Macedonia, 15-17

Offline amanda_pearl

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  • Cambodia CHE 2016-2018
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I spoke to my local recruiter about the transition, and he said it was primarily done to standardize the process. If the same PO is interviewing everyone for a certain program, all applicants are on level footing. It helps keep the selection process fair and unbiased. They can also record and transcribe interviews more easily, which makes it easier to review the applicant. Similarly, with reference forms rather than calls, the reference is in a standard format and there is a paper trail to review.

Offline Bernie2016

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