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Thread: First Interview

  1. #1
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    First Interview

    Iíll start off by giving a little background info about myself. Iím a recent college graduate living in Los Angeles. I majored in Urban Studies and minored in Environmental Science. Since graduating itís been nearly impossible to reach even just the interview stage for a planning position. Iíve been working a regular job, and also applied and was accepted to grad school for the upcoming school year.

    I apply to nearly every entry-level planning position I can find in California, and some other western states such as Oregon and Colorado. The other day I finally got a positive response from one. A city planning agency in NorCal wants me to come in for what they say will be a mix of an oral interview and a written test.

    So hereís my question: I have a basic idea of what I should study up on for the interview/testÖ but was wondering if anybody has any suggestions? The written test portion is worrying me a little bit and any advice would be greatly appreciated!! This is my first time making it to this stage of the hiring process and I want to be as prepared as possible.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by diemerm View post
    Iíll start off by giving a little background info about myself. Iím a recent college graduate living in Los Angeles. I majored in Urban Studies and minored in Environmental Science. Since graduating itís been nearly impossible to reach even just the interview stage for a planning position. Iíve been working a regular job, and also applied and was accepted to grad school for the upcoming school year.

    I apply to nearly every entry-level planning position I can find in California, and some other western states such as Oregon and Colorado. The other day I finally got a positive response from one. A city planning agency in NorCal wants me to come in for what they say will be a mix of an oral interview and a written test.

    So hereís my question: I have a basic idea of what I should study up on for the interview/testÖ but was wondering if anybody has any suggestions? The written test portion is worrying me a little bit and any advice would be greatly appreciated!! This is my first time making it to this stage of the hiring process and I want to be as prepared as possible.
    The written portion can be anything from interpreting an ordinance to basic planning question from planning law and CEQA. Interpretation questions should be fast, brief, and written in a manner the "mom" can understand. Good Luck.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  3. #3
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by diemerm View post
    Iíll start off by giving a little background info about myself. Iím a recent college graduate living in Los Angeles. I majored in Urban Studies and minored in Environmental Science. Since graduating itís been nearly impossible to reach even just the interview stage for a planning position. Iíve been working a regular job, and also applied and was accepted to grad school for the upcoming school year.

    I apply to nearly every entry-level planning position I can find in California, and some other western states such as Oregon and Colorado. The other day I finally got a positive response from one. A city planning agency in NorCal wants me to come in for what they say will be a mix of an oral interview and a written test.

    So hereís my question: I have a basic idea of what I should study up on for the interview/testÖ but was wondering if anybody has any suggestions? The written test portion is worrying me a little bit and any advice would be greatly appreciated!! This is my first time making it to this stage of the hiring process and I want to be as prepared as possible.
    This would be a good starting place as far as interview questions:

    Common Interview Questions: Entry Level

    You might contact them to ask about the format of the written test--they may or may not tell you, but its worth asking about. I've heard of rare instances where places will do a multiple-choice test, but have never experienced it and don't think it is a good approach. Short answer format is far more common, and in the entry-level, is often for assessment of writing skills rather than planning trivia. That said, the questions will be planning-related and probably look at ordinance interpretation in some way (or perhaps ethical situations--those are common in written questions). In California, you'll need to brush up on CEQA. Everyone I've known out there either asks about it as an interviewer or has been asked about it as an interviewee.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman GŲring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the advice guys. I figured CEQA would be a pretty big item on the test ... lucky for me I had a lot of experience working with the law during undergrad

    I have spoken with the city, and they confirmed the test would be mostly short-answer questions. Also interpreting some charts/graphs.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    I work for a suburban/rural county government on the east coast. This is my first planning job, although I have been here for several years and am no longer in an entry-level position. I remember several of the questions I was asked in my interview including the number of square feet in an acre and what iron pins in the ground represent (I got both of those wrong, for the record, although I know the answers now). They also asked general questions about undesirable impacts of sprawl, what I would do if I didn't know the answer to questions, etc. I would guess that if you are a reasonably intelligent individual, the test isn't going to be too tricky, but just something to help them insure that you really do know what you claim to know. You'll be fine.

    Good luck! And congratulations on the interview!

    Sandy

  6. #6
    Good luck, took me forever to find a full time job and I had to move from California to Colorado to get it!

    I will say that thread for entry level questions really helped me as well as just brushing up on job interviewing skills in general... I got some books from the library that helped me with that. I applied to at least 40-50 jobs before getting 2 interviews and before getting 1 job I was happy with... so don't give up

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