I recall wanting to know how long it would take from start to finish regarding entry into the FS. While you wait, it is mental cruelty.
I sent off my application for the Foreign Service Health Practitioner position on March 4th, 2005. (3-4-05--get it? We thought that date auspicious.) I heard back 6 or eight weeks later, with a message that my application had been looked over and that my candidacy would continue to the next step since I was considered "mentally competent". My wife got a lot of milage out of that one. In July, I was in France and I received an e-mail from the State Department informing me that my NP license had expired. I faxed my renewal in August.
In mid-September, I got a call from the State Department telling me I was a qualified candidate and they wanted to invite me for an interview. There were two days open to interview in October and one in November. I chose November 7th because that suited my work schedule best.
Naturally, I was nervous. But I did prepare as best I could for the interview:
I brushed up on the 5 paragraph essay. (Choose one side of the topic with 3 supporting points defending your view in the introductory paragraph, use each supporting view in the following three paragraphs and embellish it, then restate in a cohesive manner, your view and how you believe your supportive arguments demonstrated your point). I practiced writing several under the time restraint of 45 minutes. I chose topics such as: Should abortion be illegal? Should we drill for oil in the Alaskan national wildlife refuge? Should we continue with the death penalty?
In addition, I focused on the 13 dimensions sent to me before the interview. They are readily available on the web. I thought of good examples to demonstrate each dimension and rehearsed answers so that if I had a melt down, I could still pop off an answer. Of course, during the interview, I ad lib'd but I was confident that I at least had a quick response and I did use a lot of the examples I had in my brain from that exercise so I really recommend it.
The interview went well and the entire time I was well composed on the outside but felt like my innards were doing summersaults. And there was the stressful but humorous story of forgetting my suit and trying to find an outfit at Chicago airport between flights. It all worked out but I don't recommend it.
After the interview, I was asked to step out while they commiserated and then when I was asked back in and they welcomed me and told me I successfully passed the interview process of the FS.
Since then, I had to pass the medical and security clearances. More mental cruelty but finally, the clearances took less than three months and I was offered a spot in the March orientation. I postponed due to school, work, house, etc... but I am looking forward to my upcoming orientation.