Honors Program Interviews

If you are selected to interview for an Honors Program entry-level attorney position with the Department of Justice this fall, then we want your interview experience to be a positive one. The information below explains how to schedule your interview, provides information about travel costs and reimbursement, tells you where to find interview locations, provides guidance on how to deal with travel emergencies (i.e., cancelled flights) and answers other important questions. We strongly recommend that you print a copy of this information and bring it with you if you travel by commercial carrier. The links below will take you directly to the subject listed.

Notice of Selection: The Department sends candidates selected for an interview a message using the e-mail address provided in the application. All e-mail messages from the Department are issued from mail@avuedigitalservices.com. We recommend that you enter this address into your computer's personal address book to ensure that you receive messages issued on behalf of the Department through our private contractor. A separate message is issued for each component.  If you are selected by more than one component, you will receive more than one notification message. Selection for an interview status will also be posted on the application website.

Pre-Interview Submissions and Requirements: Most components require interview candidates to submit writing samples, resumes, or transcripts prior to the scheduled interview. See Component contacts and component-specific pre-interview requirements for a chart listing Component contacts, required pre-interview submissions, and interview locations. Do not submit a writing sample or other materials unless you are selected for an interview and the interviewing component lists a requirement.

Interviews and Travel:

Interview SchedulingComplete a Travel Survey form after receiving notice that you were selected for an interview, then fax it to the Department’s Conference Center Staff (CCS) at the number designated on the form. This alerts the CCS staff to arrange travel and schedule an interview. Even local candidates must submit a Travel Survey to schedule an interview. Instructions are on the survey form. Submit only one Travel Survey, no matter how many interviews you have or where they will take place. We have a master list that the schedulers use to book all your interviews and travel, once they receive your Travel Survey. Submitting more than one Travel Survey causes significant problems and delay. Please use the fax confirmation report to confirm delivery (it should read “OK”). Do not contact OARM to confirm receipt of your Travel Survey - we are not in the same building as the CCS staff. OARM tracks interview scheduling and, if we cannot account for a candidate, we will follow up directly with that person.

Disclosing Conflict Dates: Be sure to list all dates that you are unavailable for travel or for interviews on your Travel Survey. The Department will not schedule you for any listed dates or, if we do, will amend your schedule. Please note that some hiring offices have limited interview availability dates.  We must meet those requirements when scheduling your interviews. If a component that selected you for an interview is only available during a period when you have an absolute conflict, contact Deana Willis (Deana.Willis@usdoj.gov) to discuss alternatives.If you have personal issues that may impact on your travel availability (e.g., are a single parent, are a caretaker for an elderly person, require an accommodation, have work conflicts, etc.), please list your concerns on your Travel Survey to alert the CCS staff.

How We Select The Interview Date and Time: The Conference Center Staff (CCS) staff will make every effort to consider the preferred week and day listed on your Travel Survey, but cannot guarantee your preferred schedule because of variables affecting Government-contracted travel and component availability. You should receive a fax from the CCS Staff not later than the Wednesday prior to the week in which your interview is scheduled. This may or may not be the first interview week you requested. If you have not received a fax from DOJ by close of business Tuesday, October 28, 2014, contact the CCS Staff schedulers at (202) 616-3803. If you do not receive assistance within a day, contact the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management (OARM) immediately at (202) 514-8900 and ask to speak to someone who can assist with Honors Program interviews. Please be patient during the scheduling process. The CCS staff will schedule interviews as quickly as possible; however, the process for booking travel is complex and can take some time.

The Scheduling Process: The Conference Center Staff (CCS) schedules interviews based on component interview schedules, then, if travel is required, coordinates with CWT/SATO for government-funded commercial travel. When booking flights, we must consider the availability of commercial travel at the government rate, as well as the planned interview schedule. Once flights are confirmed, CWT/SATO sends the candidate a travel itinerary by email. The CCS Staff faxes the candidate’s interview schedule separately.

Interview Schedule Changes: Please do not ask to change your interview schedule except in the case of a major emergency. If an emergency arises, please contact the assigned scheduler indicated on the fax cover sheet accompanying your itinerary and the component contact. If you are unable to reach the designated scheduler, please call (202) 616-3803.

Interview Dates and Times: Most interviews will take place between October 20 and November 7, 2014, excluding weekends and federal holiday. Interviews are conducted during regular business hours. Most interviews last one hour in duration (except for U.S. Attorney's Offices interviews). We allocate at least 30 minutes between interviews for candidates with more than one interview to move to the next interview location. Candidates interviewing with multiple branches or sections within the same component may be scheduled for two interviews, back-to-back. Candidates interviewing with the Executive Office for Immigration Review in Falls Church, VA and also interviewing with a component interviewing in Washington, D.C. will be afforded 90 to 120 minutes between interviews.

Overnight Stays: It is our policy to arrange same day interviews, no matter how many components selected you for an interview. If that is not possible, you may be asked to remain overnight or travel to your interview city the day prior to morning interviews. If your interview or travel schedule requires an overnight stay, you will be authorized reimbursement of lodging costs up to the current government “per diem” lodging rate.  Current government rates are available at www.gsa.gov.  You are responsible for making your own hotel reservations.  Be sure to retain a copy of the lodging receipt as it is required for reimbursement.  You may ask the hotel whether it will honor the government rates, but be advised that they are not obligated to do so.  If the hotel is willing to honor the government rate, you must explain your circumstances, advise that you do not have a government identification card and are not a current DOJ employee, and ensure you retain the name of the person who confirmed the rate for you. Many candidates have found excellent rates via online discount websites.  You may also stay with friends or family but will not be eligible for lodging compensation.

    Travel Scheduling: Airline reservations and, on occasion, train reservations are booked by a contractor, CWT/SATO, based on the information in your Travel Survey and the tentative interview schedule forwarded by the CCS staff. If your travel to Washington (or another authorized location) is booked on a commercial carrier (air or train), the Department will pay directly for your travel and issue an e-ticket to minimize your out-of-pocket expenses. Please review the information on reimbursable and non-reimbursable costs associated with travel (below).

    Non-Emergency Changes to Travel Reservations: If commercial travel is authorized, you are NOT AUTHORIZED to change your travel schedule or modify your flights or rail travel independently. You are NOT authorized to contact airlines or other commercial carriers directly to make changes to your flights or rail travel. Government travel is booked through government contracts. Only authorized DOJ personnel can make changes, and changes incur additional costs, so are limited to emergencies. If you cancel the first leg of government-scheduled travel, the carrier may cancel all further legs of travel. If you modify your travel arrangements without authorization, you may be  personally liable for increased travel costs.

    Missed Connecting Flight: If your flight is late and you miss a connecting flight, it is permissible to work directly with the airline to reschedule. Please notify the assigned scheduler and the component contact if your revised travel schedule impacts on your interview.

    Emergency Changes Prior to Departure: If an illness or an emergency arises prior to your departure, please contact the designated scheduler and the component contact. If you are unable to reach the designated scheduler, please call (202) 616-3803. If it is after duty hours, leave a message and follow up the next day. If you are within 24 hours of departure, please contact the CWT/SATO emergency line at 1-877-905-9644 (PRESS OPTION 2, then the option for "Domestic Flights").

    Emergencies While In Transit: If an emergency, or unexpected/exigent circumstance arises while you are in transit, or impacts on your return travel (e.g., flight cancellation, weather delay, airport closures) and it is within regular business hours, please contact the assigned scheduler indicated on your itinerary. If you are unable to reach the designated scheduler, please call (202) 616-3803. If you cannot reach anyone at these numbers, default to the emergency contact number for CWT/SATO Travel listed on your itinerary.  The afterhours CWT/SATO emergency line for a travel emergency within 24 hours of departure or while in transit is 1-877-905-9644 (PRESS OPTION 2, then the option for "Domestic Flights").

    If travel cannot resume until the next day, we request that you attempt to find lodging within the government per diem rate. You may ask CWT/SATO to book lodging, if possible for a traveler in your status (e.g., without a government employee ID card) and, if necessary, to make alternative travel arrangements. You must follow up with CCS as soon as possible during regular business hours for further instructions regarding submitting your request for reimbursement to include the new lodging costs. When making a hotel reservation, be sure to explain that you are on government-funded invitational travel and request government rates and tax exemption when you check into the hotel. The hotel is not obligated to honor this rate without presentation of a government identification card, but many will. In order to be reimbursed, you must retain and submit the original hotel receipt.

      Reasonable Accommodations: If you have special needs (e.g., American sign interpreter, wheelchair access, etc.) and require a reasonable accommodation for travel or for your interview, please send an e-mail message to Deana Willis listing your needs in advance of travel and/or your interview so that appropriate arrangements can be made. All DOJ interview sites are handicapped accessible.

        Getting Your Interview and Travel Schedule:

        How We Send Interview Schedules:  Once you are scheduled, the CCS staff will fax interview schedule to you using the fax number you listed on your Travel Survey. The date and time of your interview or interviews will be on the fax cover sheet. You may receive ONLY a fax cover sheet with the information listed in the comment space. Please be sure that you check your listed fax machine frequently and alert other people with access to the fax machine to notify you when your fax arrives. Please note that we do not guarantee that you will be scheduled for the specific week or day you prefer. We will fax interview schedules not later than Wednesday for the following week's interviews. If you do not receive a fax with your interview schedule from the Department by October 28, 2014, contact the CCS Staff schedulers at (202) 616-3803 for immediate assistance.

        How We Send Travel Itineraries:  If you are traveling by commercial carrier from outside the local commuting area, you will receive a travel itinerary (commercial travel) by e-mail from SATO/CWT Travel. Local travelers will receive only the fax from the CCS staff with their interview schedule. If you received a fax with your interview schedule and did not receive a travel itinerary, contact the CCS Staff schedulers at (202) 616-3803 for assistance. All travel should be finalized and itineraries issued by Tuesday, October 28, 2014.

          Component Contacts and Interview Locations: See Component contacts and component-specific pre-interview requirements for a chart that provides contact information, interview locations, and directions to the interview sites. The majority of hiring offices will conduct interviews in Washington, D.C. and its surrounding area. The major exception is the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which will interview for the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge in several major U.S. cities.

            Security: DOJ buildings have stringent security measures. Please bring a photo ID and the fax notifying you of your interview time and date to help expedite clearing security. We recommend that you arrive at least 20 minutes prior to your interview to get through the security procedures and to find your interview room. Many components request that you call from the Security Desk so they can send an escort. See the Component Contacts and Interview Locations, above for details.

              What to Bring to An Interview: We suggest the following:

              — Travel Itinerary (non-local travelers only)
              — Your scheduler's name and telephone number (in case of emergency)
              — The name and telephone number of the Component Contact for each component with which you are interviewing
              — Addresses of Component Interview Sites
              — Updated resume and law school transcript (in case the interviewer requests a copy)
              — Government-issued photo identification (for access to buildings)
              — An umbrella (recommended)
              — Writing sample (if specified in Writing Samples, above)
              — Notepad and pen

                Due to the number of interviews and the decentralized interview process, OARM is unable to provide the names of specific interviewers. We recommend that you request a business card from your interviewer(s) at the close of your interview.

                Government Travel and Reimbursable Expenses: The Department will pre-pay certain costs, such as commercial air fare. The Department may authorize mileage reimbursement for candidates who request to travel by personal automobile if it is cost effective to do so.  Certain other expenses may also be reimbursable. Reimbursement is not automatic - you must submit a reimbursement request within two weeks after your interview using the Honors Program reimbursement form. Please retain receipts for all lodging and for any other expenses totaling $75 or more.

                Meals & Incidental Expenses:  Candidates who are in a travel status in excess of 12 hours will receive a pro-rated per diem allowance to cover costs of meals and other incidental expenses, subject to the rates specified in the Federal Travel Regulations. For current per diem amounts, see www.gsa.gov.Travelers are reimbursed at 75% of the M&IE rate on travel days.

                  Lodging: Candidates whose flights arrive and depart on the same date are not authorized an overnight stay.If your travel schedule requires it, you will be authorized an overnight stay. Lodging costs will be reimbursed based on the current Government per diem rate: the Department cannot prepay lodging. Current government per diem rates for Washington, D.C. and other cities is available at www.gsa.gov.

                  You are responsible for making your own hotel or lodging reservations and retaining a copy of the original receipt to submit with your reimbursement request.  If you stay with family or friends, then no reimbursement is possible. Please retain all lodging receipts to submit when requesting reimbursement.

                  Absent extreme circumstances, the Department will reimburse for one night's lodging only unless your interview schedule and travel, as scheduled by DOJ, requires more than one night's lodging. We recommend that you ask the hotel if it will honor the Government rate at the time you make your reservation. Please discuss their documentation requirements when making the reservation.

                    Covered Costs:

                    Public transportation: Candidates who travel by air or train are required to use public transportation (e.g., airport shuttles, Metrorail, Metrobus) while in Washington, D.C. and all other locations where public transportation is available (e.g., New York city). We will reimburse these costs.

                    Courtesy shuttles: Candidates authorized for overnight lodging should also use hotel shuttles to and from the airport, if available. Candidates may request reimbursement for the cost of round trip public transportation to and from the interview site.

                    Special Rules for Travel by Personal Car: Individuals within driving distance of their interview site who wish to drive their personal car should indicate that preference on the Travel Survey. If CCS determines that the cost is less than government rate commercial travel costs - or if you are willing to accept reimbursement of government rate commercial travel costs in lieu of actual cost to you - you may drive to your interview. Please note that approval to drive must be received in advance. Check with the CCS staff if you have questions. You will be reimbursed at the current government mileage rate (see www.gsa.gov) plus road tolls. Repair costs, gasoline, towing and alternate means of transportation expenses in the event of a breakdown are not reimbursable. Also note that election to drive does not entitle you to per diem or lodging at Government expense if same-day travel by commercial carrier is available unless it is more cost effective to the government.

                    Special Needs/Reasonable Accommodations: Costs associated with reasonable accommodations based on a disability or special need that affects your travel may be authorized. Contact Deana Willis (Deana.Willis@usdoj.gov) for a case-by-case determination before you travel

                      CostsNot Covered: We cannot reimburse claims less than $1.00.

                      Baggage fees: Interview candidates should check with the airline in advance regarding baggage fees. Most airlines permit travelers to carry on one bag at no additional cost. You may bring your suitcase with you to your interview or ask your hotel if they offer a baggage hold.

                      E-Tickets: Candidates should check in using "e-ticket" kiosks at airports or, if possible, online. Some airlines now assess additional charges for counter check- in. Please note that the Department will not reimburse candidates for additional costs associated with check-in when a cost-free option is available.

                      Taxi fare: Taxi fare will not be reimbursed except under limited circumstances (e.g., a reasonable accommodation) or in pre-approved locations where a specific sum for cab fare is authorized (e.g., certain candidates arriving at Dulles Airport).  Candidates interviewing with EOIR Immigration Courts and U.S. Attorney's Offices in cities not serviced by commuter light rail, regularly scheduled airport shuttles, or regular commercial transportation will be authorized cab fare to and from the airport.

                      PLEASE NOTE: Travel Authorizations contain estimated costs. Estimates are generally higher than actual reimbursable costs. You will not receive reimbursements that exceed your actual costs, and the government per diem rates are the reimbursement ceiling for lodging and meals/incidental expenses.

                        Requesting Reimbursement: After interviewing, candidates may request reimbursement for certain travel costs by submitting the reimbursement form (www.justice.gov/careers/legal/reimbursementform.pdf ) within two weeks of the interview. Please retain copies of your reimbursement request until your claim is settled.

                        Reimbursement is not automatic - you must submit a reimbursement request using this reimbursement form. You may be required to submit original receipts for lodging and expenses totaling $75 or more.

                        It can take 4 to 6 weeks to process a reimbursement request. To follow up on a submitted request, contact the CCS Staff at (202) 616-3803.

                        Updated October 22, 2014