20 US Department of Justice Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position at US Department of Justice.

When you’re interviewing for a position with the US Department of Justice, you can expect to be asked a range of questions about your qualifications, experience, and skills. However, you may also be asked some questions that are specific to the Department of Justice.

To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common questions that you may be asked, along with sample answers.

US Department of Justice Interview Process

The interview process at US Department of Justice can vary depending on the position you are applying for. For intern positions, the process may only consist of a phone call with the intern coordinator. For more competitive positions, such as Attorney or Trial Attorney, the process may be longer and more difficult, with multiple rounds of interviews. Overall, the interviewers are professional and interested in your qualifications for the position.

1. What are your thoughts on the US Department of Justice and it’s mission?

The US Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing the law and administering justice in the U.S. The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your knowledge of the department, its mission and how you feel about it. In your answer, try to show that you understand what the department does and why it’s important.

Example: “I think the US Department of Justice is an essential part of our government because it ensures that everyone has equal access to justice. I also believe that the department plays a vital role in maintaining peace within the country by ensuring that all citizens are protected from crime.”

2. Why do you want to work for the DOJ?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to get an idea of your interest in working for the DOJ. It’s important that you show them how passionate you are about this career and why you’re interested in working for the department.

Example: “I want to work for the U.S. Department of Justice because I’m passionate about upholding the law and making sure justice is served. I’ve always been fascinated by the legal system, so I decided to pursue a degree in criminal justice. Working here would be a dream come true.”

3. Are you willing to relocate?

The U.S. Department of Justice is a federal agency that operates in Washington, D.C., and throughout the country. The department’s attorneys are often required to travel for work, so candidates who are willing to relocate may be more attractive to hiring managers. When answering this question, it can be beneficial to mention specific reasons why you would or wouldn’t want to move.

Example: “I am open to relocating if it means I could advance my career. However, I do have family here in town, so I would need to make sure they were taken care of before making any decisions.”

4. Tell me about a time that you had to argue a case vigorously in court, how did you prepare yourself?

This question is a great way to show your ability to be persuasive and how you can use your communication skills to convince others of your point of view.

Example: “I had to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court when I was working as an assistant district attorney. The defendant’s lawyer argued that my client should have been tried as a juvenile instead of an adult, but I knew that he committed several violent crimes while still a minor, so I prepared myself by researching the facts of the case thoroughly and making sure I understood all of the laws involved.”

5. Describe a situation where you were overwhelmed with work, what did you do?

This question is a great way to assess your ability to prioritize and manage tasks. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe how you prioritized the work and what steps you took to complete everything on time.

Example: “In my current role as an assistant district attorney, I have had several situations where I was overwhelmed with work. In these situations, I first try to identify which tasks are most important and need to be completed immediately. Then, I break down each task into smaller pieces so that they are more manageable. Finally, I set deadlines for myself and delegate some of the work to other team members.”

6. Do you have any experience working as an attorney or paralegal?

The U.S. Department of Justice is a law enforcement agency, so it’s important that you have experience working in the legal field. The interviewer will want to know about your background and how it relates to this position. If you don’t have any experience as an attorney or paralegal, consider talking about your education and how it prepared you for this career.

Example: “I’ve always been interested in pursuing a career in law, but I didn’t decide to pursue my degree until after I graduated from college. While studying at the University of California, Berkeley, I took several courses on criminal justice and learned more about the role of the U.S. Department of Justice. After graduating with honors, I decided to apply for a job here.”

7. What is your greatest weakness?

This question is a common one in interviews, and it’s important to be honest. Interviewers want to know that you are self-aware and can recognize your own flaws. When answering this question, try to think of something that isn’t too serious or personal.

Example: “I am very detail oriented, which is great for my work but sometimes makes me miss the big picture. I’ve been working on improving my ability to see the whole while still paying attention to the details.”

8. What do you think will be the biggest challenge when starting this position?

This question is a great way to show your knowledge of the position and how you plan on overcoming challenges. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention something specific about the job description that you think will be challenging and how you plan on overcoming it.

Example: “I believe one of the biggest challenges when starting this position will be working with other agencies to ensure justice is served. I have experience collaborating with other departments in my previous role as an assistant district attorney, so I am confident I can use those skills to work well with others.”

9. How would you handle being assigned tasks that are outside of your scope of knowledge?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your ability to collaborate with others and seek help when you need it. Your answer should show that you are willing to learn new things, but also highlight the skills or knowledge you have that can be applied to a variety of tasks.

Example: “I would first try to understand what I was being asked to do and then find someone who has experience in that area to help me. If I couldn’t find anyone, I would reach out to my supervisor for guidance on how to proceed.”

10. What qualities should we look for when hiring new attorneys?

The U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for hiring new attorneys to work in the department. The interviewer will want to know that you understand what qualities they are looking for and how your own skills match up with those qualities.

Example: “I think it’s important to hire people who have a passion for justice, as well as strong communication skills. I also believe that empathy is an essential quality for working in this field because you’ll be dealing with many different types of people from all walks of life. Finally, I think it’s important to hire people who can remain calm under pressure.”

11. How do you think technology has impacted law enforcement?

The U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for law enforcement in the country, and as such, it needs employees who understand how technology has changed the way police officers do their jobs. Your answer should show that you are aware of the impact of technology on law enforcement and can apply your knowledge to your work if hired.

Example: “Technology has made a huge difference in law enforcement because it allows us to gather information more quickly than ever before. For example, when I was working as a patrol officer, we had to wait until we got back to the station to look up records or run license plates. Now, with smartphones, we can access all this information while still on the scene.”

12. What was one time that you struggled in a leadership role and how did you handle it?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your leadership skills and how you overcame challenges. When answering, it can be helpful to discuss a time when you had to make an unpopular decision or one where you were able to resolve conflict with others.

Example: “In my last position as a legal assistant, I was responsible for managing the calendar of our department’s attorney. One day, I noticed that the attorney scheduled two meetings at the same time. I knew that if he attended both meetings, he wouldn’t have enough time to prepare for his afternoon court case. I decided to call him and let him know that he couldn’t attend both meetings. He wasn’t happy about it, but he understood why I made the decision.”

13. Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

The U.S. Department of Justice asks this question to ensure that you are legally eligible for employment in the federal government. If you have been convicted of a crime, be honest and explain what happened.

Example: “I was arrested once when I was younger for shoplifting. It was an impulsive decision and I learned from it. Since then, I’ve never committed another crime. I understand that my conviction could prevent me from working at the U.S. Department of Justice, but I hope you will consider my past record and my commitment to upholding the law.”

14. Do you speak any languages other than English?

The U.S. Department of Justice requires that all employees be able to communicate in English, but they also look for candidates who can speak other languages as well. This question is used to determine if you have any language skills and how fluent you are in them. If you do speak another language, it’s important to mention which one and your level of fluency.

Example: “I am fluent in Spanish, although I haven’t had the opportunity to use my Spanish since graduating college. However, I would like to take a refresher course so that I can improve my skills.”

15. How much experience do you have using software programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel?

The U.S. Department of Justice uses Microsoft Word and Excel for many tasks, including writing reports and creating spreadsheets. Your answer should show that you have experience using these programs and can do so efficiently.

Example: “I’ve been using Microsoft Word since my undergraduate studies when I had to write a lot of papers. I also use it at work where I am responsible for editing documents and writing reports. As for Excel, I learned how to use it in my last job as an analyst. My team used the program to create financial models and forecasts.”

16. If hired, are you familiar with all of the qualifications required to become a full-time employee?

The U.S. Department of Justice requires all employees to meet certain qualifications, and the interviewer may ask this question to ensure you are aware of these requirements. In your answer, explain that you understand what is expected of you as an employee and provide examples of how you have met similar expectations in previous roles.

Example: “I am familiar with the qualifications required for a full-time position at the U.S. Department of Justice. I understand that I must be a U.S. citizen for at least one year prior to employment, hold a valid driver’s license and pass a drug test. Additionally, I would need to complete a background check and submit my fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

17. Explain the difference between civil rights litigation and criminal prosecution.

The U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing the law and protecting citizens’ rights, so it’s important that a candidate understands the difference between civil rights litigation and criminal prosecution. In your answer, explain how you would use each type of case to protect citizens from injustice.

Example: “In my experience as a public defender, I’ve seen both types of cases used to protect citizens from injustice. Civil rights litigation is often used to protect individuals who are being denied their constitutional rights or other basic human rights. For example, in one case I worked on, an individual was wrongfully arrested and detained by police officers. We filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city and were able to win compensation for the client.”

18. How do you keep up with current regulatory changes in the industry?

The U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing federal laws and regulations, so it’s important that the department’s employees are up-to-date on changes in the industry. Your answer should show your ability to stay informed about regulatory changes and how you would apply this knowledge to your work as a compliance officer.

Example: “I have several subscriptions to online newsletters and blogs that I follow regularly. In addition, I am active on social media where I can connect with other professionals who share their insights into current events. I also subscribe to email alerts from my professional association, which provides me with updates on new legislation and policy changes.”

19. Would you consider yourself detail oriented?

The U.S. Department of Justice is a highly organized department that requires its employees to be detail oriented and able to work independently. Your answer should show the interviewer that you are capable of working in an organized environment and can complete tasks on time.

Example: “Yes, I would definitely consider myself detail oriented. In my last position as a legal assistant at Smith & Associates, I was responsible for organizing all documents pertaining to each case. This included scanning important documents into our database and filing them according to client name. I also had to ensure that all files were properly labeled so attorneys could easily find what they needed.”

20. Can you tell us more about your educational background?

The U.S. Department of Justice is interested in candidates who have a strong educational background and are committed to continuing their education throughout their careers. When answering this question, it can be helpful to highlight your academic achievements or any certifications you may have earned.

Example: “I graduated from the University of California with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology. I then went on to earn my Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the same university. While working toward my Master’s degree, I also completed an internship at the local police department where I gained valuable experience.”


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