Page updated 8/14/2016
Civil Service Exams / Government Jobs Exams / Postal Exams
Many agencies allow applicants to bypass the written test for select occupations by completing an “Occupational Questionnaire.” This is a series of questions, often 30 to 75 or more, that you have to answer in detail, often online. Occupational questionnaires are not KSAs. Many applicants confuse them for KSA statements. If KSAs are required, the job announcement will identify them as such.
Occupational questionnaires are extremely important in the evaluation process. They are often scored and inadequate responses may prevent you from being rated in the “Best Qualified” group.
The federal resume and/or application information presents Human Resources with the information they need to determine if you are qualified for the position applied for. These essay questions help to further describe your skills and abilities using actual work experiences.
All of your questionnaire answers must be job related and show case the qualifications and skills described in the job announcement. Agency are not permitted to ask questions that do not support the job’s position description.
Occupational questionnaire measures the candidate’s proficiency in various job required skills. Typically, the questions consist of multiple-choice or Yes/No responses to measure the candidate's level of experience. Narratives, essay type questions, are included to substantiate a candidate’s work experience.
An example of an occupational questionnaire is presented in Chapter Six of The Book of U.S. Government Jobs. The example was taken from an actual job announcement. The online application limits your answers for each question to a specific character-count.
The following sample questionnaire is from a Department of the Navy job announcement for a GS-0303-08 position. Note that this particular questionnaire is 100% multiple choice. It was posted on USAJOBS March 2, 2012.
Vacancy ID: 614902 Announcement Number: NE20303-08-6149024F271702 USAJOBS Control Number: 310279600
The following section is used to determine your eligibility for appointment in the Federal Government or Status for referral consideration. Please respond yes to ONLY ONE of the following questions. FAILURE TO RESPOND TO THESE QUESTIONS WILL RESULT IN AN INELIGIBILE RATING. NOTE: You must submit the required documentation to verify your eligibility as indicated below. Failure to provide the required documents will render you not eligible for consideration. See instructions under the "How to Apply" tab for submitting documentation.
Current Federal - I am currently employed as a career or career-conditional
employee in the competitive service or excepted service. (NOTE: If you
indicate "yes" for this question, you MUST submit a copy of your most recent
career/career conditional SF-50 AND you must submit a copy of an SF-50 that
reflects your highest grade held on a permanent basis).
2. 30% Disabled Veteran AND NOT a current Federal Employee - I am a disabled veteran rated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as having a compensable service-connected disability of 30 percent or more; or a disabled veteran who retired from active military service with a disability rating of 30 percent or more; AND my discharge was under conditions other than dishonorable. NOTE: If you respond "yes" to this statement, you must submit a copy of your DD Form 214 documenting final military discharge, release or retirement (your DD Form 214 must reflect the dates of service, character of discharge, and time lost, if any) and an official statement, dated 1991 or later, from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA), or from a branch of the Armed Forces, certifying that you have a service-connected disability of 30% or more along with your application/resume package.
3. I am claiming Veteran's Preference AND NOT a current Federal Employee NOR a 30% Disabled Veteran. Please go to following link to determine whether or not you are eligible for preference. http://www.dol.gov/elaws/vets/vetpref/mservice.htm. NOTE: If you respond "yes" to this statement, you must submit a copy of your DD Form 214 documenting final military discharge, release or retirement (your DD Form 214 must reflect the dates of service, character of discharge, and time lost, if any). *Not applicable to current federal employees.
4. I am a US Citizen that does not meet any of the above criteria
1. Select the one statement that best describes the education and/or experience that you possess that demonstrates your ability to perform Administrative Assistant work at the GG-08 grade level or equivalent pay band in the Federal service.
A. I have one year of specialized experience at the GG/GS-07 grade level or equivalent pay grade in the federal service or one year of specialized experience in the private or public sector performing the following duties: 1) providing advice and training on formats and procedures pertaining to support functions of a department; 2) assisting with researching and compiling data in preparation of briefings, reports, personnel actions, performance measurement and budget submissions; 3) developing formats, compiling information, updating processes, and preparing project status updates for all functions; 4) reviewing and editing clerical and administrative reports for consistency, accuracy, grammar, and punctuation following established administrative procedures; 5) presenting oral presentations regarding administration information such as changes to policies, regulations, precedents and work directions to cases or problems within the department; 6) ensuring travel arrangements are accurately prepared in accordance with guidelines and instructions; 7) interpreting and analyzing administrative policy and helping resolve work related problems throughout the agency.
B. My experience is not reflected in the above statement.
For each of the items below, select the one statement that most accurately describes your training and experience using the scale provided.
A- I have not had education, training, or experience in performing this task.
B- I have had education or training in how to perform this task, but have not yet performed it on the job.
C- I have performed this task on the job. My work on this task was monitored closely by a supervisor or senior employee to ensure compliance with proper procedures.
D- I have performed this task as a regular part of a job. I have performed it independently and normally without review by a supervisor or senior employee.
E- I am considered an expert in performing this task. I have supervised performance of this task or am normally the person who is consulted by other workers to assist or train them in doing this task because of my expertise.
2. Locate, select, and collect data for use by Administrative Specialists.
3. Research in-house records, manual and automated databases at manager's request for information.
4. Maintain and organize manual and automated databases for assigned area(s).
5. Extract and correlate information from various sources for supervisors.
6. Review and edit clerical and administrative reports for consistency, accuracy, grammar, and punctuation following established administrative procedures.
7. Type correspondence, reports, studies, and messages in final form from rough drafts, notes or oral instructions.
8. Assist with researching and compiling data in the preparation of briefings, reports, personnel actions, performance management and budget submissions.
9. Develop formats, compile current information, update processes, and prepare project status updates for all functions.
10. Present oral presentations regarding administration information such as changes to policies, regulations, precedents and work directions to cases or problems within the department.
11. Provide advice and training on formats and procedures pertaining to the administrative, research, reporting, personnel and information technology support functions of a department.
12. Coordinate information technology requests (email and telephone accounts) and telephone asset requirements as needed for all departmental personnel.
13. Coordinate visits and escort customers to the department in order to enhance professional relationships.
14. Ensure travel arrangements are accurately prepared in accordance with guidelines and instructions.
15. Coordinate the staffing of civilian position descriptions and hiring action correspondents.
16. Identify rules and procedures or operations requiring facts for Administrative Specialists.
17. Interpret and analyze administrative policy and help resolve work related problems throughout an agency.
As previously explained, your responses in this Assessment Questionnaire are subject to evaluation and verification. Later steps in the selection process are specifically designed to verify your responses. Deliberate attempts to falsify information will be grounds for disqualifying you or for dismissing you from employment following acceptance. Please take this opportunity to review your responses to ensure their accuracy. If you fail to answer this question, you will be disqualified from consideration for this position.
18. I certify that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, all of the information included in this questionnaire is true, correct, and provided in good faith. I understand that if I make an intentional false statement, or commit deception or fraud in this application and its supporting materials, or in any document or interview associated with the examination process, I may be fined or imprisoned (18 U.S.C. 1001); my eligibilities may be cancelled, I may be denied an appointment, or I may be removed and debarred from Federal service (5 C.F.R. part 731). I understand that any information I give may be investigated. I understand that responding "No" to this item will result in my not being considered for this position.A. Yes, I certify that the information provided in this questionnaire is true, correct and provided in good faith, and I understand the information provided above.
B. No, I do not certify/understand the information provided above.