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Thread: Assistant planner written test (City of Beverly Hills)

  1. #1

    Assistant planner written test (City of Beverly Hills)

    Hello all,

    I've been invited to take the test for the City. I'm assuming land use & zoning regulations.

    Anyone else have any thoughts/ideas.

    Kindly,
    Caliplan

  2. #2
    No tips, but good luck. I worked with someone on the staff there and he's a good man.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    CEQA, Subdivision Map Act, CEQA, State Planning Regulations, CEQA. Did I mention CEQA?

    Here's a link.

    http://www.calapa.org/en/cms/?134
    Annoyingly insensitive

  4. #4
    Cyburbian cng's avatar
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    Sometimes, a written exam may consist of a sample staff report, with site plan or land use analysis, recommendation and findings. I would simply try to write well, meaning, use good grammar, spelling and punctuation; and be able to explain land use ideas in an organized, clear and concise manner. As always, aim for quality over quantity.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian rover's avatar
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    Was this the Assistant Planner job which was posted in January?
    I applied knowing I would never be offered it in all likelihood as they said "limited to the first 200 applicants!"

  6. #6
    Thank you all for your input.

    Yes rover, this is a position. As a matter of fact, I applied around 8:30am PST. Curious to see if the position was closed, I checked back again at 3:30pm PST. Naturally, they had captured the interest of 200 applicants within a matter of hours.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian rover's avatar
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    I knew it was a longshot, but somehow I feel more productive if I can say I applied to x number of jobs.

    I never heard back, and being entry level, I figured I would not.
    I was curious, how many years experience have you got in planning?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    I also received an invitation to complete the written exam so I'd be interested in what others have to say about previous experiences.

    Perhaps I'll see you there, Caliplan!

  9. #9
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    Congrats Caliplan and the others who got invited. I applied, but I don't think I got my invite yet. I would also be careful on the written if they mention design guidelines

  10. #10
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    wow, people may wanna check their spam, I called Beverly Hills today, and they asked did I check my spam, and I checked, and there was my invite.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    This test is quickly sounding like a cattle call. Good luck folks, but remember, the more than likely will only interview the top 3-5 people that score highest on the exam.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  12. #12
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    I agree about the cattle call, but not the number of interviews. I know Newport Beach invited 150 to their test, close to 100 showed up, and it all depends on how much staff time they want to devote to the process. If they do a 3 person panel/2nd interview process, like Newport Beach did, they will probably take between the top 10-15, if the the panel interview is a 1 day thing, cause it's hard to fit more interviews into that if each one is roughly half an hour. So I figure top 10-15, the shitty thing is, the score on the test may not mean you will get invited, because they are still reviewing your application and resume for the experience they are looking for

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    We can debate all day about who, how many the choose, etc, but only HR and the department knows at this time. Good luck to all and bone up on the basics. Personally, I am routing for our intern to get an interview. This person is also taking the test and hopefully can their "talents to westside" (aww lebron, your quote will live in infamy).
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    Regardless of the number invited, I imagine it to be a learning experience for everyone (I, for one, have never taken such an exam).

    Shall I bring a Cyburbia pennant so we can all identify each other between the swarms of hopeful planners?


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    I was wondering what the test was like for those that went. I recently was invited to one in California and trying to weigh the pros and cons of traveling there from the East Coast to take it. Please let me know your experiences!

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    From my understand the test was used to weed out the applicants. After that they were scored and did a 2nd round of interviews, than a 3rd, and then chose a candidate. all in all the process took 7 months from advertisement, to test, to interviews, to hire. They ended up hiring our fabulous intern. Their gain, our loss.

    To be quite honest, i would pass, just way too much traveling unless you a) are from here and b) know CEQA or how the process works.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  17. #17
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post

    To be quite honest, i would pass, just way too much traveling unless you a) are from here and b) know CEQA or how the process works.
    Congrats to your intern.

    A vacation to CA from the east coast is still a treat. Especially if you are working.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    From my understand the test was used to weed out the applicants. After that they were scored and did a 2nd round of interviews, than a 3rd, and then chose a candidate. all in all the process took 7 months from advertisement, to test, to interviews, to hire. They ended up hiring our fabulous intern. Their gain, our loss.

    To be quite honest, i would pass, just way too much traveling unless you a) are from here and b) know CEQA or how the process works.
    Congrats to your intern, but 7 months for start to finish seems pretty absurd.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally posted by dw914er View post
    Congrats to your intern, but 7 months for start to finish seems pretty absurd.
    Doesn't surprise me. Cities and counties in So Cal take their damn time. I know someone who applied to a position in March and they still haven't heard anything official, just several interviews and tests. It really tries your patience.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jcbrooking View post
    I was wondering what the test was like for those that went. I recently was invited to one in California and trying to weigh the pros and cons of traveling there from the East Coast to take it. Please let me know your experiences!
    The test is pretty standard across california. I've taken it in two different places and it was amost exactly the same. In fact I think it comes from some state office somewhere. It is less planning related than common sense. There is some planning related questions - primarily about general plans and how to identify the SW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of section 24 of Township 2, range 1. But the majority is kind of like a silly version of an IQ test.

    Expect things like:

    If a plane is traveling west at 200mph leaving from Wichita and a bird is flying east from LA at 5 mph, at what point will they meet.

    Here are 5 sentences from one paragraph. put them in the order that makes the most sense.

    what is the proper order for purchasing deer tags? 1) shoot the deer then buy the tags? 2) buy the tags before shooting the deer?

    etc, etc.

    also worth noting is that I left the test both times thinking it was a crap shoot, and both times I placed at or near the top while getting only about 75% of the answers correct.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dw914er View post
    Congrats to your intern, but 7 months for start to finish seems pretty absurd.
    Not really... Position went up at around Jan. with the whole state wide budget mess and budget season in general around may/june, an agency may not know or have the funding knowledge until July. So yea, some of them take their time. Typically a recruitment from start to finish is about 90 days, especially when you have a crush of applicants and vet them to make sure you get the right one.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by AHM View post
    Doesn't surprise me. Cities and counties in So Cal take their damn time. I know someone who applied to a position in March and they still haven't heard anything official, just several interviews and tests. It really tries your patience.

    This is why most of the best planners in CA work in the private sector. In the time it takes local agencies to hire, the applicants already have 6 months work experience at their private sector employer. (Plus, long term earning potential is way better in private sector).
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  23. #23
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    Not really... Position went up at around Jan. with the whole state wide budget mess and budget season in general around may/june, an agency may not know or have the funding knowledge until July. So yea, some of them take their time. Typically a recruitment from start to finish is about 90 days, especially when you have a crush of applicants and vet them to make sure you get the right one.
    I guess the appropriate concept is that for other jobs/sectors, 7 months is a pretty long time from when resume is sent to receiving the job offer. The only career I think that should justify that long of a process is something in law enforcement, but that's because you have the interviews, basic knowledge testing, physical testing, psych evaluation, and a more comprehensive background check. I guess because times are tough now, job prospects are bleak for planners meaning that they won't find another job in the meantime. However, I feel like, from the HR point of view, is that someone would have probably moved on to another opportunity. It may be common practice in public planning (we'll see since I'm starting out), but it doesn't make it right nor efficient.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dw914er View post
    I guess the appropriate concept is that for other jobs/sectors, 7 months is a pretty long time from when resume is sent to receiving the job offer. The only career I think that should justify that long of a process is something in law enforcement, but that's because you have the interviews, basic knowledge testing, physical testing, psych evaluation, and a more comprehensive background check. I guess because times are tough now, job prospects are bleak for planners meaning that they won't find another job in the meantime. However, I feel like, from the HR point of view, is that someone would have probably moved on to another opportunity. It may be common practice in public planning (we'll see since I'm starting out), but it doesn't make it right nor efficient.
    It doesn't but that's the way it works sometimes. In the two recruitment I have won jobs it took a total of 3 weeks (private sector) and 2 months... and while the private sector does have talent, i truly believe that are best planners have a mix of both private and public sector work (present company included). We just have been there and done that for both sides.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    and while the private sector does have talent, i truly believe that are best planners have a mix of both private and public sector work (present company included). We just have been there and done that for both sides.

    Sorry didn't mean to imply anything by my comment other than that public agencies shoot themselves in the foot by taking so long to hire. I have certainly met a number of very good planners in the public sector.

    I've just had many colleagues who applied for public sector positions, but landed in private sector because the public sector folks took too long to respond to applications. I've literally heard stories of folks having been employed for 6 months by the time they got an interview with the public agency - most are reluctant at that point to bother with the interview since they're already employed.
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

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