36 Questions for Policy Analysts to Ask in Interviews (With Sample Answers)
Businesses and governments hire policy analysts to look at, write, and change new and old policies. They make sure that policies follow the law and work. When you go in for an interview for a policy analyst job, be ready to talk about your education, work experience, policy knowledge, and skills like research that are related to policy. This article gives some examples of questions you might be asked during an interview for a policy analyst job, as well as some sample answers to help you prepare. 36 Questions for Policy Analysts
General policy analyst questions
The hiring manager will ask you general questions about your career, personality, and goals to see how well you fit into the company’s culture. Try to be yourself and show how much you care about the job when you answer these questions. This is the first time the person in charge of hiring gets to know you. Here are some common interview questions:
- What is it about being a policy analyst that you want to do?
- Why do you want to work at this company?
- How are you qualified to do this job?
- What’s the worst thing you think about yourself?
- Why did you choose to study politics?
- What do you like to do in your free time?
- Tell me in one sentence who you are.
- What do you hope to gain from this job?
- How long have you been doing this kind of work?
- Which of your skills do you think is one of your best?
- How do you know what’s going on in the world and in politics?
Questions about work and history from the past
Interviewers ask about your past jobs to see if you have the skills needed to be a policy analyst. Your answers also tell us how you do your job and how you handle different situations. Here are some examples of common questions about your past that you might be asked during an interview for a policy analyst job:
- At your last job, what did you have to do?
- At your last job, what hard things did you have to deal with?
- Tell me about a work mistake you made and how you fixed it.
- Have you ever disagreed with a boss or had a good talk with one?
- How do you keep your work interesting?
- How do you handle stress at work?
- Have you ever had to figure out how to use something new at work? How did you do it?
- How do you keep things in order at work?
- Give an example of how paying close attention to details at work has helped you.
- What’s the best thing you think you’ve done?
In-depth questions are about the job you want to get as a policy analyst. They show the person in charge of hiring how you deal with different situations and how well you work with other people. The interviewer might ask you about certain policies, technologies, and workflows. Use this list to see some examples of detailed questions that might be asked of a policy analyst:
- What do you think will happen to policies because of recent or upcoming changes?
- What have you found was left out of policies when you’ve looked at them?
- How do you think people can be persuaded to agree to changes?
- What are your favorite statistical and research programs?
- Tell me about a research project you were in charge of. How did you handle it?
- How do you tell someone something they don’t want to hear?
- Tell us how you handle a lot of information.
- Tell me about the job of a policy analyst.
- Give an example of a time when you had to show that you had good morals.
- How do you figure out how a policy will affect people’s lives and the economy?
- How can you tell what policy will do? Tell me about a time you made guidelines for a forecast.
Sample answers to questions asked during a job interview for a policy analyst
Review these questions and answers to prepare for your policy analyst job interview. Make them fit your life and what you’ve learned.
1. What is the process for analyzing policies?
Hiring managers might ask this question to find out how you work and what steps you take to analyze policies. It shows if you have done things like the ones they want you to do in this job before. When you answer this question, be clear and to the point. Tell the interviewer about a recent policy you analyzed and what you did and what happened as a result.
Example: “When I look at a policy, I do four things. First, I figure out what problem there is with the policy that I need to fix. Then I decide on the criteria I’ll use to judge the issue. Some of these might be correctness, relevance, and effect. In the next step, I make changes to the policy or suggest a different way to do it so that the goal can be reached. Lastly, I look over the new policy before sending it to be put into effect.”
2. What do you think will be the biggest challenge you’ll face in this job?
Hiring managers might ask you this kind of question to make sure you know what the job entails and how hard it can be. They also want to know how you’d deal with them. When you answer this question, give a specific example of a challenge you have faced in the past or think you will face in this role. Make sure you also give a short summary of how you plan to deal with and get past that problem. The person in charge of hiring wants to know how you act when things go wrong.
Example: “I think that making good decisions is the most difficult part of being a policy analyst. When I review and change policies, the choices I make can affect whole companies and communities. So, I take my job very seriously and spend a lot of time researching before I write an analysis. If I don’t understand something about the policy, I ask someone who knows more about it to explain it to me.”
How do you think a good policy analyst should be able to do their job?
Hiring managers ask questions about your skills to make sure you know what skills the job needs and can show proof that you have them. Include specific examples of the skills listed in the job description in your answer. List some of the skills of a policy analyst, then list the most important ones and give examples of when you might need to use them.
Example: “Policy analysts should be able to negotiate in a way that makes sense and be able to talk and write to people from many different agencies and departments. When reviewing policies, they should pay very close attention to every detail. Above all, policy analysts should be able to look at many policies on different topics, figure out where they need to be improved, and suggest changes to make them stronger.”
4. How do you keep up with changes to rules?
The hiring manager might ask you this to make sure you know what’s going on in the world, what’s going on in politics, and what the rules are. Policy analysts need to know this because they are expected to know the laws and rules that affect the policies they are evaluating. When you answer, give examples of the ways you keep your knowledge up-to-date and how often you use those ways. Make sure your answer shows how much you care about the industry and the job.
Example: “I keep up with new and changing rules by checking government and industry websites for updates. I check these sites first thing in the morning to see if anything important has changed. I also sign up for a number of e-newsletters about local government and policy, so I can find out about important changes as soon as they happen. I’ve been going to the annual policy analyst conference for the past five years to keep learning and learn more about industry policies.”