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Common interview questions: director/executive level

luckless pedestrian

Super Moderator
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It's the usual set of questions but what are the different ones you get?

Here's mine: so what's your legacy going to be?

8-!
 

DVD

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I've only been going up to the manager level so no legacy questions for me.

Lots of situation questions about how to deal with good and bad employees.
What's your management style?
The one that got me wasn't a question, but in the feedback. I didn't have enough experience managing other professionals. They were looking for supervision of planners, not inspectors and admins. I guess professionals are harder to manage. I also got hit on not enough case law experience, but they didn't provide an opportunity to talk about it so I blame them on that one.
 

flbeachgirl

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I've gotten the "What's your legacy going to be" question, too.

Here are some others I've had (I'm currently a Director and previously held Assistant Director and Director positions at other cities):

What is your impression of our current Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code and what changes would you make, if any?

If you disagree with me on an issue (coming from the City Manager), how would you handle it?

What do you see as the community's biggest challenge over the next few years and how would you contribute to addressing it?

Provide an example of a conflict you've had with another Department Director and explain how you resolved the situation.

As a leader, how do you inspire people to follow you?
 

DVD

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Trying for a department director position and I was asked to answer these questions in writing before the interview.

Why are you interested in the open position? In your opinion, what is the most important responsibility of a Community Development Director?

So basically I need to answer why do you want this job and something about how the director is a leader.

At times, it’s important to understand informal systems to reach organizational objectives. Give us an example of a time when your knowledge of “how groups work” enhanced your ability to generate a change.

Basic working with groups. Something like working with my planning commission.

There are many work situations in which it is important to be skillful in reading hidden interests and personality conflicts. Tell us about a time that demonstrates your “savvy” in understanding another person.

This is the hard one for me to answer. Obviously it's looking for interpersonal skills that we use every day, but I'm not sure what kind of story to tell. I don't want to talk about the usual person who has some secret motive. We all know that happens, especially with elected officials, but I don't get the feeling I should be saying the wrong things. My best guess would be how I read my elected officials and others to figure out what their motivators are. Like the guy who is all about helping people (his friends) or the guy who is motivated by saving the government money unless it's for his personal benefit (I can leave that last part out along with how he thinks government employees are worthless and don't need benefits). His motivation is saving his tax dollar.

I'd appreciate any thoughts while I think on what type of story to write.
 

aicp_yawn

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I recently had my first ever phone interview for a director-level position, and two of their questions were so generic and broad, they threw me off and my answers weren't very good. I was expecting questions more specific to the position. I would advise anyone interviewing for such a position to write up some answers ahead of time to several canned, generic questions. The questions were:

  • How do you respond to a challenge?
  • How do you deal with conflict?

They also asked me "tell us about yourself" and "why do you want this job," which were easy to answer.

In other interviews I've been asked the following questions, which I would also prepare for when interviewing for a director position:

  • What's your greatest strength?
  • What's your greatest weakness?
  • What's your management style?
 
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