Saturday, August 14, 2004

The Application

The Peace Corps is surprisingly tech-nofied. Their online volunteer application process is both smooth and well thought-out. Some of the questions they ask are also surprising – because the questions do not (and often can not) show up on standard business job application forms. For example:

  • How much debt do you have?
  • How do you plan to cover that debt while in the Peace Corps?[You only make $168 USD per month. This small amount of money is designed to be just enough to cover your food and lodging at the same living-level as the locals]
  • Have you ever worked for the CIA?

There are also some interesting open-ended questions like:

  • Describe cross-cultural experiences you have had.
  • Describe why you want to join the Peace Corps.

Besides the in-depth application form, there is also a comprehensive “Health Status Review”.
The whole online application process took me about four hours to complete.

A few days after I submitted my application, I received a postcard in the mail. The postcard was a notification stating my application had been routed to the regional office serving my area and was now being processed. A couple of days later I received a phone call from my recruiter to setup an interview!

I was again surprised, this time by how fast the Peace Corps responded to my application.
The recruiter described the documentation I would need to bring to the interview, and also sent me some additional documentation to fill out – two skill addenda (computer science and health extension). During the application process, I had listed the skills I possessed. No I was asked to describe those skill areas in detail via the addenda. This took some time, and eventually I ended up with an eight page document describing my computer science skills!

I found the whole process unique and exciting.

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