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Thread: The group interview

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    The group interview

    hi again, a few weeks ago i posted asking advice on studying for a Regional Planning Assistant II exam...well somehow I passed and now its time for the interview. the interview time was automatically scheduled so i assumed it was a group interview, i called to confirm and the person said, yes there would be more than one person being interviewed, but i don't know how many. there were about 15 people taking the test with me and they said they'd interview everyone who got at least 70%
    so basically i'm trying to ask what should i expect in the context of a group interview? how will it differ from a regular single person interview? is it appropriate to bring a portfolio?
    i'm a recent MLA graduate and this process is all new to me so i really appreciate any help

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Don't assume, ask them

    The "group interview" is an alien concept to me, and I've been in the working world for thirty years. (Envisioning a wild improv troupe of applicants all trying to stomp on each other, only not as funny as the Pythons or Second City.)

    How about calling them up and asking about the interview format? Please don't explain that you figured it was a group thing.

    (I had an oral exam last week; due to phone tag reasons, they set the time for me.)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I have done the group thing 2 or 3 times, always for director position. Different individual interviews with staff, other departments, planning commissioners, self annointed community big shots, and finally the boss. The only group setting was a reception or a meal. I was never offered a job from one of these settings. Once, they rejected all of us and re-advertised. My guess is that each of us failed one of the sessions.

    I have a philosophical problem with being interviewed by the people I would supervise, but you do get some insight into the operations from the questions asked.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HRose View post
    i called to confirm and the person said, yes there would be more than one person being interviewed, but i don't know how many. there were about 15 people taking the test with me and they said they'd interview everyone who got at least 70%
    Are you sure this is a group interview? Could it be that it is a one on one interview with the hr and planning manger/director and they automatically scheduled the interview time because they are going to interview everyone that is qualified like a "cattle call" which means that they block 30 to 45 mins for each canidate and interview everyone one right after another (during my 1st job search i had 2 interviews like this and asking people while they were waiting was the pits because i found out i was competing with some very experienced folks).

    Like mike said, i have only seen 1 group interview done, and that was here at our office for our architecture manager when they had all the architects in a room "interviewing" the potential manager after he cleared some initial interviews. Very rare to have a group interview for an entry level position but then again, you never know.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    hmm i might need to call again, but i did try to clarify that i meant more than one person being interviewed, rather than more than one person interviewing me.
    also the letter said it would last about an hour and actually its being called an oral examination, not an interview. would that make any difference?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HRose View post
    also the letter said it would last about an hour and actually its being called an oral examination, not an interview. would that make any difference?
    To my knowledge and oral exam and interview are the exact same thing.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  7. #7
    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    I'm a recent MLA grad myself and I had a series of two group interviews for a planner position I applied for but later turned down.

    It was with a sun belt city gov. The first interview was after I took an online test and received a passing score. It was me, chief of planning, chief of transportation (he wanted to fill a bike-planner job at the same time) and two staff planners.

    The second group interview came after I made the second cut and this time it was me, chief of planning again, and the senior planner I would have been working under.

    An HR drone sat in the corner during both interviews. In the first interview I had 30 minutes and the panel asked six questions written on note cards and could not ask anything else.

    The second interview was an hour and was more of a conversation.

    I brought my portfolio and various work samples with me. They went over really well, especially in the first interview because we finished 10 minutes early and they clearly wanted to know more but were not allowed to ask.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    Oh, and they called the first interview an "oral board" and the second interview a "group interview".

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    well the good news was that it was not a group interview, i guess the person i talked to misunderstood me...and it only took a half an hour rather than an hour.
    unfortunately there are going to use my score on this interview combined with my score on the written test to establish and eligibility list, and then they will conduct more interviews! i'm worried about that because i can't imagine i did very well on the written test
    oh and also it seems they were only interviewing 5 people (they had a sign in list with everyones time and only 5 names were on the list)
    thanks again for everyone's responses about the interview process!

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Regardless of the format, my advice is RELAX, be yourself, speak open and freely. If your core beliefs dont match thiers, you dont want to work for them anyway.

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