• Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no echo chambers. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! You can also register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

Anybody Know How to Get An Interview?

Messages
2
Points
0
This is a rant, but also a plea for suggestions, tips & hints. I'm stuck in the mid-Atlantic rust belt where I'm suffering from professional brain rot, and I'm trying hard to get out and back to Florida where I started my career. Over the past several months I've applied for five planning director's positions in Florida. In all five instances the positions were filled by existing staff being promoted to the position. With sixteen years of experience, mostly as a planning director at both the city and county levels, previous professional experience in Florida, and AICP, I realistically expected to at least get a telephone interview if not a personal interview. These places did not even have the courtesy to send the obligatory rejection letter, which would have been better than nothing. I'm convinced that the HR departments are only advertising the positions because they have to, and really have no intentions of considering outsiders. One place (hint - home of the St. Lucie Mets) had the nerve to fill the position the same day that the applications were due, so it was obvious that they weren't serious about looking outside. Is anybody else dealing with this same problem, and is it realistic to think about competing on what clearly isn't a level playing field? Or, is this problem just unique to Florida? What's up!
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
30
It is not unique to any state. When I know, I steered away from openings where there is an in-house applicant. If you get such a job, chances are the internal person will soon leave you with a big hole.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
Chet
Got any comments about what Gurnee said?

Me,
why I think that you may have a chance to beat the in-house candidate if your interview is golden. Good luck.
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
If a professional recruiter is used, they are looking for an outside candidate.

Don't get discouraged by sloppy HR departments. If you let the lack of get to you, it becomes baggage you take into the next application.

Good luck.
 

sisterceleste

Cyburbian
Messages
1,519
Points
22
I would suggest that you plan to go to the state APA conference in Gainesville in Sept or Oct where they have a jobmart and meet some people there. Your best bet might be to get a consulting job first and then scope out the vacant Planning Director jobs in state. As a consultant you'll travel around and see what's going on since you were last here. Just a suggestion.
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
Points
29
Zeus said:
I'm convinced that the HR departments are only advertising the positions because they have to, and really have no intentions of considering outsiders.
My sister, the Career Bureaucrat, told me recently that if the window for applying is really small -- like they post it publicly one week before it closes -- they are probably only posting it cuz they have to. If the window for applying is a few weeks, they are Really Looking and don't have anyone in particular in mind. You might want to factor that in to which positions you give the most effort to for your resume, etc.

Also, you might want to consider having someone give your resume the once over. Being brilliant at your job and being brilliant at selling yourself to get the job are different skill sets. I know someone who does awesome work. But job hunting takes them FOREVER and A Day because they so suck at "selling" themselves in the interview, etc. I am thinking this person spent 5 years at the job hunt to change jobs. Then a downsizing left them unemployed for many months. It got quite Ugly. (But they also are very very very slow to take advice from folks who are better at this job hunting thing. It didn't have to remain so intractable.)
 

tsc

Cyburbian
Messages
1,905
Points
23
It is often hard to get a directors job... due to in-house promotions. If you really want to go to an area, maybe you should look for a lateral move...to get your foot in the door. I know in NY they often want to hire planners that are from NY... because they know the NY system.. and there usually is a pretty good lot of planners to choose from. Good luck!
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
I agree with TSC. You may be better off making a move to an Assistant Director position or something similar.

I wonder if the fact that you are coming from another state has any impact. Maybe the other applicants are from Florida and they want someone with experience dealing with state statutes. It could also be that there are planners that know each other through conferences, training, seminars, school, etc. I know in Wisconsin, a lot of is recommending candidates.
 
Top