Nail the Interview

The USPS Interview Questions Answers You Should Know

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When you are applying for a job with the United States Postal Service (USPS), you should prepare for being called in for an interview. Most companies have a set of specific questions that they pose to their applicants. USPS is no different, and being prepared to answer these questions during your interview will increase your chances of being hired.

“There’s both a demand and an opportunity for younger employees to get hired. “The government is seeking to fill thousands of positions at any given time, and these jobs match almost every set of skills and interests,” says Margot Conrad, director of education and outreach for the Partnership for Public Service, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.

Working for the government can also provide a career that hits upon many of the characteristics that younger workers value in a job. Sound good? Read on and learn more.” – Monster.com

To help you with this specific employer, we’ve created a shortlist of the USPS interview questions most likely to come up during your interview with them. They are taken straight from people who have interviewed with the USPS,  describing the USPS interview experience. If you want to get into more detail, take a look at Glassdoor.com’s review of interviews, the interview process and some interview questions. Glassdoor’s chart below provides an overview as well.

The Different USPS Jobs

As a complex structure, the United States Postal Service needs people to man their position in multiple departments. The first two positions are obviously named thus because of the areas of work the person is expected to carry out. Each position has its unique challenges: a city carrier delivers a larger flow of mail items, while a rural carrier may be expected to drive longer distances and so on. The mail handler positions usually deal with the added pressure of tight deadlines and the requirement of flawless organization skills.

USPS also offers seasonal positions, especially during busy times, like the holiday season. If you’d like to try working for them only temporarily, to see how the work experience is, this is a good opportunity.

The most common positions, for which hiring is conducted almost constantly are:

  1. Mail carriers
  2. Mail handlers
  3. Retail Clerks
  4. Automotive Mechanics
  5. Automotive Technicians
  6. Custodians (building services)
  7. Industrial Engineers
  8. Tractor Trailer Operators

Usually, regardless of the season, you can expect USPS to have active vacancy announcements for a large assortment of opportunities.  While you can find links to USPS jobs on a number of sites, the most direct way to find opportunities are on the USPS sites:

USPS Career Sites:

Being a federal or a local government employee has generous benefits; job security is one of the most important among all. With the world witnessing frequent economic turmoil, the scenario in the private job market is threatening.

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The Most Common USPS interview questions You’ll Encounter

Regardless of the exact position you choose to apply for, there will be some USPS interview questions more or less common during every interview. Here are some of them:

1. Why Do You Want to Work for USPS?

The best way to answer this is beyond the utility value of having a job. Say that you admire the hard work they do and how important the company is for the nation. Then you can add that you would like the chance to be a part of this and that you think you would make a good addition to the team.

2. How Would You Deal with a Customer That Was Upset?

More often than not, this situation would occur in your day to day job with USPS. Everyone likes to think of themselves as being able to respond well to conflictual situations, but the truth may be different. In order to respond correctly to this interview question, you should say that you would try to find out what upset the customer, and then you would listen to them and see if you can solve the problem. If the issue goes beyond your ability to solve it, you would then pass it on to your manager.

3. How Are Your Customer Service Skills?

A more direct question regarding your people skills is this one, bound to come up during your USPS interview. If you are asked about your customer service skills directly, you should be positive that you are a natural in working face to face with customers. Also, be sure to mention any previous jobs with a customer service component, which helped you hone these skills.

During your interview, more specific questions may come up in direct relation to the position you are applying for. For example, if you are applying to be a mail carrier associate, you may encounter the next question.

4. How Would You React If Confronted by a Dog?

This is a potentially threatening situation, especially if you are not comfortable around dogs. It’s also pretty common in the daily life of a mail carrier, which is why this is a common USPS interview question. If you are asked this, you should respond that you are confident enough around dogs and not afraid of them, so you would remain calm. However, you should also stress that you do understand the fact that dogs can pose a real danger so that you would also take the necessary protection measures to prevent coming to harm.

5. How Would You Respond to Your Manager Asking You to Do Something You Consider Unsafe?

This is a question meant to assess how comfortable you are tackling a potentially conflictual issue between you and your manager. A good answer to this question is that you would first ask to know more about the safety protocol to be followed for the specific situation or task. Then, if you would still need to pursue the issue, you would directly ask your manager why this needs to be done, in a polite manner.

Photo by María Victoria Heredia Reyes on Unsplash

6. How would you deal with a co-worker conflict

You need to convince your interviewer that you are a good listener and can accept opposing views without getting upset. If you have had experience with this, try to give an example of how you handled the situation successfully. Stress your communication skills, that you always remain calm in these situations.  Ensure that your interviewer understands your willingness to find common ground with your co-worker.

These are only a few examples of common USPS interview questions you are likely to be asked. As long as you keep a level head and do your best to answer any other question politely and friendly, we’re pretty sure you will ace it.

Some Additional Resources:

Norman Hall’s Postal Exam Preparation Book – The United States Postal Service is the nation’s largest civilian employer. Yet 80 percent of all applicants fail the test. That’s why readers look to Norman Hall’s classic, comprehensive guide to the Battery 460 and 473 exams.

Postal Exam Preparation Book: Everything You Need to Know – This revised and updated third edition offers new test questions and exercises. Featuring information about various careers in the postal service and complete with a money-back guarantee, this book is all readers need to pass!

How to Interview Like a Pro – Getting a job is like parking. You have to be in the right place at the right time. In How to Interview Like a Pro, author Mary Greenwood provides strategies and practical tips about how to prepare for job hunting and how to interview.

101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions – No matter how good you look, how much research you’ve done, or how perfectly your qualifications match the job description, if you’re not prepared with great answers to the toughest interview questions, you won’t get the job.

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