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License Examiner Interview Questions

Position Summary

License examiners work for city and county governments to evaluate individuals for licensing eligibility. Examiners ensure that licenses for driving (both private and commercial) and the operation of heavy machinery are issued in compliance with local, state, and federal law. 

Examiners issue written, oral, and practical testing to make sure the person seeking a license is eligible. License examiners also perform background research on an individual when the law requires it. If the applicant doesn’t meet the appropriate criteria, they are required to refuse to issue the license. 


A license examiner’s responsibilities include:

  • Administering written and practical driving exams
  • Taking applicant information and entering it correctly into databases
  • Issuing physical licenses
  • Warning applicants about the penalties for violating rules and regulations
  • Retrieving and examining records


A license examiner’s skills should include:

  • Good customer service and interpersonal skills
  • IT skills that pertain to information storage and retrieval (i.e., databases and spreadsheets)
  • Practical driving skills
  • Knowledge of law and public safety standards


A license examiner is required to have a high school diploma or GED as well as a valid driver’s license. Some states require license examiners to complete a civil service exam in order to qualify for the position. This ensures the applicant is knowledgeable enough in the law to issue licenses without error.


Salaries for license examiners range between $49K and $83K with the median being $67K.

Factors impacting the salary you receive as a license examiner include:

  • Degrees (high school, associate's, bachelor's)
  • Location
  • Size and Type of the Organization
  • Reporting Structure (seniority of the administrator or supervisor you report to, the size and type of the organization, and number of staff you manage)
  • Level of Performance - exceeding expectations

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License Examiner Interview Questions

Question: What is your experience explaining licensing, permit, or other regulations to the people you examine?

Explanation: This is an example of a general question an interviewer may ask you early in the interview to start a discussion, learn more about your background, and collect information they can use for subsequent questions.

Example: “As a driving license examiner, I’m often asked what the requirements and qualifications are to get a license. Even though this is outside my job description, I often will respond to this question with the information requested by the examinee. I find this helps develop a rapport with the person I am examining and helps them relax a little, which is important during a driving test.”

Question: Have you ever been able to prevent an accident because you foresaw the reaction of the driver you were examining?

Explanation: This is another general question. During an interview, you can anticipate the questions will be equally divided between general, operational, technical, and behavioral. By reviewing these questions, you should begin to recognize this type of question and learn how best to respond to it.

Example: “Unfortunately, when conducting driver examinations, situations often arise which may result in an accident. My experience has taught me to recognize these early and instruct the driver on taking evasive action to prevent a collision or other accident. Fortunately, I have been successful at this, and I’ve never been involved in a traffic accident while conducting a license examination.”

Question: Has your patience ever been tested while conducting a driving test, and were you able to keep your emotions in check?         

Explanation: During an interview, you’re likely to encounter obvious questions like this. They are rhetorical in that as a driver’s license examiner, your patience is always tested. The key to responding to this type of question is to not become frustrated and answer the question just like you would any other one, directly and briefly.

Example: “My patience is often tested while conducting driver examinations. Ironically, this is mostly due to the driver being nervous and not their lack of skills in maneuvering an automobile. I’m able to recognize this and work to maintain a calm and steady composure so as to not upset the driver and influence the results of the test. If I do show any emotions, they are usually supportive and encouraging.”

Question: When conducting an exam, do you identify the driver’s strengths and weaknesses and offer them some coaching, even if they pass the test?

Explanation: This is an example of an operational question. Operational questions seek to understand how you go about doing your job. The best way to respond to an operational question is directly and succinctly.

Example: “With my years of experience conducting driver examinations, I can easily identify a driver’s strengths and weaknesses during the test. If I feel the driver will be receptive to it, I offer a few hints and tips to help them improve their driving skills. I only do this after I have issued the results of the test.”

Question: If one of the people you tested were on the cusp of passing or failing, would you confer with your supervisor or other DMV officials before making your final decision?

Explanation: This is another example of an operational question. The ability to collaborate with your management team is important in any role. Positively answering this question will show that you are open to seeking assistance, rather than making a decision that may be wrong or inappropriate.

Example: “It is a rare occurrence, but occasionally, a driver will perform just good enough to pass a test. When this occurs, I consult with one of my supervisors and discuss the situation before issuing the pass results. This is to ensure that we do not put any unsafe or unqualified drivers on the road.”

Question: When conducting a driving test, are you sensitive to the personality or feelings of the person you are examining? How did your opinion of this affect your decision as to whether to pass or fail them?

Explanation: Being sensitive to the personalities and feelings of the people you work with is a key element in any role, but especially one where you are paid to evaluate others. It would be best if you answered this question in a manner that demonstrates your sensitivity but also shows that you don’t have a bias one way or another.

Example: “Having examined hundreds if not thousands of drivers, I’ve become keenly aware of the traits which are indicative of their personality. These range from timid and sensitive individuals who have tentative driving skills to those who are overly aggressive and whose personality shows up in the way they drive. I am sensitive to both of these extremes and try to interact with the person in a manner which will eliminate any bias based on their personality, focusing only on their driving skills.”

Question: What is your opinion of the reports you have to prepare in this role? Is there one thing you think could improve this task?

Explanation: Administrative tasks, including filling out reports, is a part of most professions. That is not a part that most people enjoy. You should be able to address this, indicating that while you may not be a fan of paperwork, you still make an effort to be diligent about the way you complete administrative tasks. 

Example: “The thing I like most about this job is conducting tests and interacting with the examinees. The thing I dislike about this job is the paperwork involved. However, I recognize the importance of filling out forms and completing the paperwork to maintain a record of the test. I take time to fill out reports and examination results completely and in great detail. This helps document the driver's performance and may be used at a later date, either during a reexamination or if they are involved in a serious traffic accident.”

Question: Describe an effective method you have used to ensure that all drivers are tested equally and to the same licensing standards.

Explanation: Being fair and unbiased and conducting driving tests the same way each time is an important aspect of this job. You should be able to describe how you go about ensuring that all the driving tests are conducted consistently with only minor differences based on the type of driver, the type of vehicle, and the road conditions at the time of the test.

Example: “One of the things I’ve learned during my career is that you have to conduct tests in the same way each time. This removes any bias based on things such as the personality of the driver, the nature of the vehicle, and the road conditions at the time of the test. I use the same procedure for each driver, starting from the way I greet them, the discussion we have before the test, the test itself, the route we take, and the conversation we have after the test. I have documented my process and keep it on my phone for reference. I review this each time I conduct a test.”

Question: Tell me about your qualifications and experience driving a wide variety of vehicles.

Explanation: While it is rare that a driving license examiner would drive the vehicle during a test, they need to be prepared to do so in the case of an emergency or if the applicant is incapable of operating a vehicle properly. You should be able to address this and possibly give an example of when you had to take over control of a vehicle.

Example: “One of the reasons I enjoy this job is that I like to drive and have a keen interest in automobiles. Both during my time conducting exams and at home while not working, I try to learn as much as I can about cars, trucks, and other vehicles. This helps me in my profession because I understand how operators are using the vehicle controls to drive. It also makes me comfortable in the knowledge that I could take control of the vehicle if necessary.”

Question: Have you ever trained or mentored another license examiner? If so, how did you effectively motivate, develop, or coach the less-experienced examiner?

Explanation: This question addresses your skills as both a supervisor and an instructor. As you progress through the senior levels of this profession, you will need to develop skills that help you train, mentor, and develop less-experienced examiners. Employers look for your ability to advance within the organization when interviewing you.

Example: “As a seasoned license examiner, I am often called upon to help train and develop new employees. I enjoy doing this because I like passing along my knowledge and skills. Since the best way to learn is to teach, I often identify shortcomings in my skills that I may not be aware of when I am teaching new employees. I can then take steps to develop these skills.”

Additional License Examiner Interview Questions

  • What steps do you take to evaluate an individual’s eligibility for a particular class of license?

  • If an applicant fails a test, how would you explain their error and advise them for the future?

  • How would you deal with an angry applicant if they were denied a license? 

  • What do effective communication skills mean to you?

  • Describe how you would handle a problem in an applicant’s background that would cause you to deny them a license.

  • How well do you deal with high-stress situations?

  • Have you ever worked in a customer service role before? Describe your experience.

  • How would you handle a co-worker who didn’t comply with licensing standards?

  • Do you have prior experience administering tests? What kind?

  • Do you have a good eye for detail?

A word of warning when using question lists.

Question lists offer a convenient way to start practicing for your interview. Unfortunately, they do little to recreate actual interview pressure. In a real interview you’ll never know what’s coming, and that’s what makes interviews so stressful.

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