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CBP Officer Interview

Structured Interview

Due to the strenuous nature of the Customs and Border Protection Officer position, you must take and pass a structured interview (SI) in which you need to demonstrate that you possess the abilities and other characteristics important to Customs and Border Protection Officer positions. Among these are the competencies of judgment/decision-making, emotional maturity, interpersonal skills, and cooperativeness/sensitivity to the needs of others.

Candidates who applied for the CBP Officer position after April 2016 must pass a structured interview (SI) in order to be hired as a CBP Officer.

Customs and Border Protection Officer Structured Interview Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Structured Interview (SI)?

The structured interview (SI) is given to candidates who have applied for entry-level CBPO positions after April 2016. The SI will be administered face-to-face, meaning you will be interviewed in person; however, it will be videotaped for documentation purposes. You will be interviewed by two interviewers who will ask you a series of questions that are designed to measure specific competencies. The interviewers will ask questions regarding your past experience handling certain situations and will probe for additional information. After you are dismissed from the room, two trained SI interviewers will rate you on the competencies. (Note: At some of the smaller testing locations, you may be interviewed in person by one interviewer. However, an offsite second interviewer will participate in the overall SI rating process.) You must pass the SI in order to continue in the hiring process.

What type of questions will be asked during the SI?

The SI is scenario-based in nature, which means that you will be read a hypothetical situation that could occur on the job.  You will be asked to indicate what you would do and why for each situation. The interviewers will rate you on seven competencies that are critical to success as a CBP Officer (i.e., Judgment and Decision-making, Interpersonal Skills, Emotional Maturity, Cooperativeness/Sensitivity to the Needs of Others, Teamwork, Flexibility, and Oral Communication).


How is the SI scored?

After you leave the room, two trained interviewers will use your responses during the interview to rate you on the following 7 competencies: Judgment and Decision-making, Interpersonal Skills, Emotional Maturity, Cooperativeness/Sensitivity to the Needs of Others, Teamwork, Flexibility, and Oral Communication.  You must receive a passing rating on all seven competencies in order to pass the SI.  Applicants cannot appeal the SI, results are final.

Can I review the SI questions beforehand?

No, SI questions and the rating scales are considered test material and cannot be released to candidates. You will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to beginning the interview process.

Do I need to take the SI?

All CBP Officer Job announcements posted after April 2016 include the requirement implementing all candidates participate and pass SI. Previous CBP Officer Vacancy announcements required candidates to take and pass both the VBT and SI.

How will I be notified of the SI?

You will receive a notification letter emailed to the email address you indicated at the time you submitted your application informing you of the date, time and location of your SI. You will be scheduled for the SI at the location you chose when you applied for the position. If you have moved and have new contact information or otherwise need to request a new SI location, you must contact the Structured Interview Team at (952) 857- 2938.

What should I bring to the SI?

Candidates scheduled for a SI located in a CBP facility will be required to present a valid form of identification, such as US Passport, military ID, veterans ID or a REAL ID compliant state issued driver's license. Please check the Secure Driver's Licenses page on to see if your state is compliant. You will not be given a SI without valid photo ID.

How do most applicants dress for the SI?

Although there are no absolute dress attire requirements when taking the SI, we can tell you that you will be meeting with 1-3 supervisory/managerial CBP Officers during the SI. The SI will be in a professional office environment where employees are either in uniform or professional attire. Most candidates tend to dress in business attire (e.g., a suit); however, you will not be rated based on your attire. Use your best judgment.

What if I cannot attend the SI on the date scheduled for me?

You may call the Structured Interview Team at (952) 857-2938 to request a reschedule. Candidates are allowed one reschedule and will only be granted under extenuating circumstances. You will be notified of the scheduled SI at least one (1) week in advance to allow you to make arrangements to attend. Failure to attend a rescheduled SI will result in your removal from the hiring process and you will be required to reapply during the next vacancy announcement.

How will I know if I passed or failed the SI?

The SI results are sent to the Structured Interview Team at the Minneapolis Hiring Center. The Structured Interview Team will send you an email with your "Notice of Results." This "Notice of Results" will indicate either a pass or fail.

Can you tell me which part of the SI I did not successfully pass?

The Minneapolis Hiring Center cannot give more detailed information about your responses to the SI. To do so would compromise the integrity of the testing process. The success of the testing process is dependent on applicants giving honest responses to situational questions. If applicants were to modify their answers in response to specific feedback, the integrity of the testing process would be harmed.

How long are the SI results good for?

The SI results are good for 3 years if you pass. If you did not pass, you cannot be considered for a CBP Officer for six (6) months from the date of the SI. If you have additional questions in regards to the SI process, contact us at our e-mail address of You may call during normal business hours at (952) 857-2938. Because of the volume of inquiries received, you may have to leave a message and wait for a return call, so we strongly encourage you to contact us via e-mail.

What is the contact information for the Structured Interview Unit?

Phone for BPA Candidates:  (952) 857-2907

Phone for CBPO/AGS Candidates:  (952) 857-2938


Last modified: 
Monday, July 23, 2018 - 15:50