How To Answer “Why Do You Want To Work In The Public Sector?”

When applying for a position at a government agency, you may encounter the following interview question: Why do you want to work in the public sector?”ย ORย “Why do you want to work at a government agency?” Read through our interview tips and check out our great example answer down below.

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The reason why interviewers ask this question is to gauge if you are genuinely interested in working for the public good and not only for the paycheck, pension schemes, reputation or social status. They seek a candidate with intrinsic motivation to make an impact on individuals and communities.ย 

Example Answer (No Experience)

“I believe that the public sector, in particular your agency, allows me to serve the people in [District] and fulfill their wants and needs. It’s a different approach than private companies that operate for profit in the market. I am also well-informed in government policies and would like to be responsible for making sure that our district’s infrastructure remains in pristine condition. That way, we can ensure our community’s safety and keep [Location] easily accessible.”

Example Answer (Experienced)

โ€œI want to work in the public sector, specifically this position at [Township], to work closely with and serve the community in [District]. After 10 years of working in the private sector, I want to act more in the public interest and take on the opportunity to maintain and improve peopleโ€™s livelihood.ย 

Iโ€™ve also reached out to [John Doe] on LinkedIn, who is working in your department, and someone else who is also active in the public sector. Each one of them is very positive about the working conditions, challenges and opportunities to grow professionally.โ€

Interview Question Tips

  • Don’t talk negatively about the private sector or your previous employer. They may get doubts about your past actions and behaviours, and are afraid that you’ll do the same at their agency.
  • Do focus on your ambition to make a difference in the community instead of the perks. The employer wants to hear a foundational reason why you choose this governmental job role.