The assessment portion of the application is untimed and unproctored, which means you can submit it any time between November 5 and 19, 2012.
The on-line assessment includes three components:
1. a video-based situational judgment assessment,
2. a questionnaire designed to assesses specific work styles and work-related characteristics required for success and fit in the PMF Program, and
3. essay questions
The essays are collected during the application process, but factored into the in-person assessment. The on-line assessment is administered in an un-proctored environment and is not timed.
While each of these sections seems straightforward, the online assessment is most likely different from any other test you have taken. Some PMFs we surveyed about their experience were confused at the nature of the questions.
Be sure to read the official PMF Assessment Preparation Guide located at the bottom of this page. The information we share below offers the unofficial input from interview with past participants.
“Many of the questions were repeated in slightly different ways to see if you would answer consistently. It felt like I was getting everything “wrong” but realistically there was probably no wrong answer. Many had an obvious answer as well, if you are able to work well with others and perform well on the job, etc.”
- Elizabeth Fischer Laurie, PMF Class of 2011, General Services Administration
“The only thing you know for sure is that they are looking for leadership qualities. Just be honest. One of our online assessments was personality leadership. I’m not sure what it tested. We answered a lot of strange questions that you couldn’t prepare for – they weren’t knowledge-based so you just have to trust that you are a good candidate and answer those questions honestly.”
- Ashley Cassels, PMF Class of 2010, Small Business Administration
Read a selection of sample questions below so that you will not be surprised when you see them on the assessment:
- When you have an appointment, do you typically arrive:
a) very early
c) on time
e) very late
- Write an appropriate topic sentence for the following paragraph….
- After which sentence should the following text be broken into a new paragraph?
- Which of the following subjects did you get your lowest grade in during high school? (Biology, Math, Foreign Language…)
- Which of the following group of words include a misspelled word?
- How would your colleagues/peers describe you? How do they like your organizational skills?
- They also asked what you would do in specific situations that had an ethical slant–like whether you would confront a co-worker who was doing something that you didn’t agree with, versus going directly to your supervisor.
- What grades did you receive in high school?
- How often do you go out in the evenings?
- How strongly would you agree that people like you as a person?
- If your boss asks you to do something that is beyond your skill set, what do you do?
a) Try your best to do it yourself.
b) Find a colleague that can help you.
c) Don’t do the assignment.
Many scenario questions were asked, such as:
- If you were a manager, and one of your employees had issues and was not meeting work goals, and the employee’s stated reasons was a lack of training, what would you do?
a) Publicly confront the employee in front of co-workers and berate him/her for not doing his/her job.
b) Threaten to fire the employee if he/she doesn’t start doing a better job.
c) Work with the employee to develop a training schedule to work on the necessary required skills.
d) do nothing.
A lot of the questions were trying to determine the potential PMF’s personality. While there are no right/wrong answers, the PMF program usually tries to look for well-balanced, sociable, intelligent, flexible people with a strong work ethic and an enthusiasm for getting the job done, and being creative to do so if necessary.
Overall, the most solid advice we can give you for the online assessment is: be yourself, don’t over-think questions, and write essays that showcase your motivation for public service..
“I did not do a whole lot of prep for [the online assessment]. We did receive a little practice guide that had a couple questions. I went through that multiple times. A former PMF suggested going through the LSAT practice book, so I did read through that. It was helpful to get me in that logical frame of mind. [My advice is to] just go sit in a library for an afternoon and read through the LSAT practice book to get the gist of how you’re supposed to be thinking on the logic portion of the assessment.”
- Kaleigh Emerson, PMF Class of 2010, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Advice from a Career Counselor:
What the PMF is looking for is collaborative team-builders. What they are not looking for are alpha personalities. I have seen some outstanding candidates who I knew were strong personalities get knocked out in the first round. I probably know about forty or forty-five PMFs, and with one exception, every single one of them is not an alpha personality. There is one person who seems to have slipped through the cracks, but the others are not. They are thoughtful, self-effacing people, total team players, fiercely committed to public service, patriots, and that is really what you need to be to be a PMF. You can’t make yourself into a personality that you’re not and if you think you’re a strong alpha personality, take the test and see what happens.
As an applicant and semi-finalist you are evaluated on the following during the online and in-person assessments:
- problem solving
- interpersonal skills
- oral communication
- written communication
- public service motivation
- personal accountability
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