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Thread: City Council interview

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    City Council interview

    I searched for this topic and found one thread with some good, albeit limited repsonses. The question isn't much different, but maybe a new crop of folks could add something to the mix.

    Interviewing with the entire city council: What are they looking for? What are your past experiences with such a situation? How long have they been?

    I'll pm anybody with the details, but this interview will make the total of interviewers well into double didgits and it's only the second one.
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    My experience with whole council interviews has been good.

    Everyone has thier pet issues and will ask "rhetorical" questions, to see how you'd handle the matter.

    My offering: Be diplomatic. Caring. Sympathetic. And uphold the rules.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    I did a phone interview for my first job that included the city council, the director of public works, the sheriff, the fire chief, planning board members... I think their were almost 15 people on speakerphone, and I was lounging around in my jammies laying on my couch. Its a different topic, but the phone interview quality made me behave in ways I wouldn't normally (they answered by saying, "Hello Vaughan, this is the city of ___", and I responded "Hellllloooooooo, City of _____!" in a little sing-songy voice that I'm still cringing over).

    It ended up being great, as it turned out the Mayor had lived in the same town I was going to grad school in and we talked about that. As Chet said, there were lots of rhetorical questions and I just blabbered away (I was finishing up grad school and if there was anything I could BS about it was planning). They ended up calling me back for round 2, which was a face-to-face interview, but I cancelled as I got another job.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    I was informed that this would be a short 20 minute interview. Does that make any difference? It's as if all they want to do is bring me in , take a look at me and size up my personality.
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ah Yes....

    Let's see....I've gone through this type of interview.....4...no 5 times.....getting two of the jobs....

    What Chet said and

    Don't get off track and stick to the specific question at hand.

    Try to relate to each questioner as much as possible.

    Don't get creative in this kind of interview. Stick to the fundamentals. Emphasise your personality traits to set yourself apart. (Assuming said traits are indeed good)
    Skilled Adoxographer

  6. #6
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I'd think interviewing with a council could be easier, you can actually look up and see what each of the interviewers actually thinks about things. Then play up to the ones you think are OK and be ready to deal with hotheads.

    On a related note, in one of my previous jobs, 3 councillors, the mayor and 2 people from senior managment interviewed people for part time, casual outside workers (general labourers). Each member of council was scared their buddies would not get a job with the City, or that one part of town would get too many jobs. How is that for small town?
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  7. #7
    Cyburbian DrumLineKid's avatar
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    Full Council?

    Done it once.

    The initial interview was with CM, the Mayor, the Council President, and the HR guy. 2nd interview was with full council & the players in the initial visit. I still find myself trying to figure out what an interview team wants to hear. When you are interviewing with a full Council, its not possible. So what all others have said before, but I will add... support the basics and the code, tell them how you would handle a situation, be yourself. If they like what they hear, you have a shot. If they don't, you are gonna be better off in the long (maybe short?) run. I always look at it like it gives them an opportunity to see what you are about.









    Take it for what its worth from a guy who banged himself up almost nineteen months ago, got disposed of by a PRIVATE SECTOR employer and hasn't found a Planning position yet.



    DLK
    "There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present and invoke the security of a comfortable past which, in fact, never existed." RFK

  8. #8
    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    The interview was and was not what I expected. The CM asked all the questions (11) and the council sat there and some paid attention and some did not. I would have been worried that some on council were not paying attention, but I as soon as I walked into the room, I knew they were "in a different place." That was fine, he/she probably didn't get their council packet until moments before the interview and they had a council meeting right after. So, I made eye contact with those who were paying attention, looked for reactions, and actually noticed a fair amount of head nodding. I maybe, just kinda, sorta saw a smile from the CM when I nailed a question. It felt good. We shall see though. These rigid public agency interviews are tough. They can't deviate from the script so it can be hard to make it feel comfortable like a conversation.

    I don't think it was my best interview, it certainly ranks up there. It wasn't my best because I stumbled, and by stumbled I mean that I had to say that I didn't know something. I seemed to manage well, I admitted I was unfamiliar with the details of a certain concept mostly and that was because I had never seen the concept applied in Michigan. Come to find out, it's been illegal. I was aware of the concept...safe to say I had a conceptual concept of area in question, but I erred on the side of caution and instead of trying to bs my way through it I just said I didn't know. I then used my questions to hammer home my skill sets and experience. I even set them up a bit by getting them to admit a weakness and then I really poured it on.

    There was no, where do you see yourself in 5 years? No, what is your greatest weakness? I was prepared for those. Of course, I probably need to change my "instance of leadership/time you faced a challenge, etc..." answer to something that doesn't involve tax increment financing, a set of interlocal agreements, and environmental contamination because I don't think council members could even explain one of those topics if pressed. As I left I joked that I was off to the library to study up on the concept I came up short on. They laughed...and I don't think they were laughing at me.

    In the end, I think it went well, yet I am not holding my breath. It was a good experience though. I feel really good about my stumble and recover. I proved something to myself on that one. I actually passed another interviewee as I walked out the building and I was half tempted to talk some smack, but that's not my style. Would have been funny though.
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

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