ALJ Hiring Update
Recently the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) conducted a review of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) candidates from the 2013 applicant pool. Premised on the need for greater numbers of qualified ALJs, OPM seeks to expand its most recently constituted Register. Thus, many ALJ candidates who completed the Online Component back in 2013, plus those who completed the online component following a successful appeal (e.g., those with qualifying experience who were accidentally deemed “unqualified”), are now being invited to participate in the Proctored and In-Person Components of the exam.
This third phase of the examination includes a Written Demonstration and a Logic-Based Measurement Test (both proctored), and a Structured Interview, which is an in-person assessment conducted by a panel of three (or two) federal ALJs.
How does one prepare for an exam whose questions are closely guarded, especially when all candidates are sworn to secrecy about the process?
- First, by exploring the 13 competencies essential to the ALJ evaluation process.
- Second, by exploring the fundamentals of quality ALJ decision writing.
- Third, by reading materials available from other agencies that administer Logic-Based Measurement Tests to candidates in their selection process.
- And perhaps most importantly, by understanding what the federal Structured Interview is all about.
The Structured Interview is Behavior-Based and Performance-Based
Like all federal interviews, the ALJ interview will be “structured,” in that the questions are decided upon in advance and the answers are scored. The interview will include open-ended questions; it will also be “behavior-based,” in that you will be asked to elaborate on various past situations where you were called upon to solve problems consistent with those a federal ALJ is likely to be called upon to resolve. There may be hypothetical questions.
There may be one or more questions designed to test your knowledge of what makes a good federal ALJ. Most importantly, the Structured Interview will be “performance-based,” giving you the opportunity to highlight aspects of your accomplishments most likely predictive of your future performance as an ALJ, covering subjects such as case management, judicial decision making, judicial temperament, and the like.
The Resume Place has helped thousands of applicants navigate the federal selection process, including but not limited to the Structured Interview. We’ve received positive feedback from customers who have been prepped for judicial interviews, including Administrative Patent Judges, Administrative Judges, Hearing Officers, and Administrative Law Judges.
Need Interview Practice and Feedback?
If you would like help with interview performance, The Resume Place can help. In two one-hour sessions, conducted by an AV-Preeminent® rated, experienced federal trial lawyer, candidates will learn the basics of structured interviews, and review targeted material designed to help candidates address every question that is likely to be asked in the ALJ interview, based on the 13 ALJ competencies. This service includes a recorded mock interview, which is critiqued and downloadable as an mp3 file once the mock interview concludes.
Those who purchase services will receive our own written resources on performance-based, structured interviews, our proprietary ALJ competencies worksheet (to help you plan and practice answers for likely interview questions), and a list of links to other useful references for your in-person assessment and proctored exam. We’ll also give you science-based tips for improving interview body language, speaking tone, and more.
Our space is very limited for this service. We will reserve spots on a first-come-first-served basis with payment.
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Nicole Schultheis is an attorney and Certified Federal Job Search Trainer & Career Coach. Since 2010, Nicole has helped aspiring ALJs and other legal candidates craft compelling federal applications and perform well in structured interviews. She has also trained agency leadership candidates at and is a sought-after speaker by EPA, TSA, U.S. Secret Service, NIH, DOD (Army, Navy and Air Force), USDOT, DC Pretrial Services, NASA, and elsewhere. She is the author (along with Kathryn Troutman) of The ALJ Guide (Resume Place, 2013). Her full bio is here: http://www.resume-place.com/about/nicole-schultheis/.