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Careers Does anyone else see a director position listed then not apply because you assume a current staff planner is earmarked for the spot anyway?

paiste13

Cyburbian
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238
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9
I've seen a number of Director-level positions listed lately and the first thing I do is go to the website and see how many other planners work there. If it two or more I don't bother applying because I assume one of them will get the job. Am I being cynical?
 

Hink

OH....IO
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I've seen a number of Director-level positions listed lately and the first thing I do is go to the website and see how many other planners work there. If it two or more I don't bother applying because I assume one of them will get the job. Am I being cynical?
No, you are right on. I have found that if you look at the timeframe as well that is a giveaway. If they post it for 5 days, you know they have someone in mind.
 

paiste13

Cyburbian
Messages
238
Points
9
No, you are right on. I have found that if you look at the timeframe as well that is a giveaway. If they post it for 5 days, you know they have someone in mind.

What do you mean? If the posting is only open for a few days?
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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14,027
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58
I have found that if you look at the timeframe as well that is a giveaway. If they post it for 5 days, you know they have someone in mind.
This is usually the better indicator for intent on this question.

If the application deadline is 3+ weeks from the posted date, you can assume they're seriously looking for outside candidates.

Sometimes lower level staff don't want the responsibility and/or headache of being the boss. Also, sometime decisionmakers don't have confidence in the lower level staff and/or want fresh ideas/perspectives.
 
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luckless pedestrian

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I have a different take from personal experience:

I would still apply if there was an internal posting first, which you can call and ask - if there was an internal posting first, then that means those planners applied and either didn't get the job, or maybe they have a possible internal person but they want to see who else is out there. My city does internal postings first and if there is an internal candidate, they don't post elsewhere.

The real problem is whether the person who didn't get the job (and if you did) is going to be a PITA or not - you can ask to meet staff in an interview to scope it out and on a second interview ask outright if there were internal candidates - that's more important imho than wasting or not wasting time applying
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
15,021
Points
52
Not a director job, but as an internal candidate I applied for a planning manager position. With my experience I was the perfect fit for the job. Until a baby boomer director of the city next door decided he had enough with that city and applied for the job that was way beneath his level. I just couldn't compete with the amount of experience he had. Stupid boomers not retiring and stupid city next door with a toxic work environment holding up my career path. I actually like the guy though.

I also applied for another planning manager position where I was driven around town by the guy I thought should be applying for the job. He didn't want it. He didn't want the headache of management and preferred plan review. He had also been there long enough that he was closer to retiring and the change in pay wasn't enough for the headache.

I've also worked with senior staff who just aren't capable of management. Best plan reviewers or historic preservation people or whatever I've ever met, but just not a manager.
 

Hink

OH....IO
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What do you mean? If the posting is only open for a few days?
So it goes up on a Monday and the deadline is Friday. I have found if they have the posting up for a short period of time, they are doing it for requirement reasons, not because they truly want an outside candidate.
 

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
674
Points
29
I think everybody's different- short turnaround time is a giveaway, or of you know the agency has internal hire/ hire-back rules.

Not being sure, I'd still apply, if the position was compelling. There are certainly sometimes internal people who don't want to move up into management or who are qualified on paper but the powers that be want to go in a different direction.
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
3,012
Points
42
I am not a planner, but I will say that my boss's current position came about because he applied for a position where someone was already "chosen" and he beat that person out during the interview. He came from an outside organization and "won the business" so to speak. My feeling is, if it's a job you would like and one you think you would be good at, apply for it. You never know.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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69
About 15 years ago, I was one of two finalists for a management position in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. I go to Portland, do the in-person interview, ace the "redline this plan" and "write a staff report NOW" tests, and only after all of that. find out the other candidate is internal. Sad trombone.

I think with the situation of an internal candidate, you have to balance risk vs reward. If the job is close to where you live, or you know the people at the agency, there's less risk in applying. If it's all the way across the country, the ratio of risk to reward shoots up.
 

TOFB

Cyburbian
Messages
2,556
Points
32
If you are interested, go for it. A lot of planners don't want the headache of being a director. Can't say I blame them.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
Messages
1,458
Points
27
If you are interested, go for it. A lot of planners don't want the headache of being a director. Can't say I blame them.

Sometimes I do miss the plodding along of doing plan review and not worrying about the headaches that do come with being a director. But I need to look long term towards retirement (3-8 years) and remember that my retirement is based on the average of my highest three years of earnings. I say 3-8 as I can retire with a hit at 25 years of service at any age or take full at 30 years at any age. Retirement is then 2% per year of service of that calculated 3-year average.
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
3,012
Points
42
About 15 years ago, I was one of two finalists for a management position in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. I go to Portland, do the in-person interview, ace the "redline this plan" and "write a staff report NOW" tests, and only after all of that. find out the other candidate is internal. Sad trombone.

I think with the situation of an internal candidate, you have to balance risk vs reward. If the job is close to where you live, or you know the people at the agency, there's less risk in applying. If it's all the way across the country, the ratio of risk to reward shoots up.

What was the risk to you? Did you have to pay for the interview trip? If not, it's a free vacation. No risk at all.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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What was the risk to you? Did you have to pay for the interview trip? If not, it's a free vacation. No risk at all.

I had to pay for airfare, lodging, rental car, food. It's tax deductible (or at least it was), but it was still kind of pricey. I played tourist for a couple of days after the interview, but it's something I wouldn't have otherwise done.

I've only had a couple of expenses-paid interviews.
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
3,012
Points
42
I've never interviewed in another city where the prospective employer didn't pick up the tab. I guess that's the difference between public and private sector.
 

MD Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
2,565
Points
39
I've been fortunate, job interviews that involved any distance expenses were paid for me, public and private. That included airfare, lodging and car rental.

I'd also say look at the job announcement itself. If it's rather perfunctory and just talks about the nuts and bolts of the job that can be an indicator they've got somebody in mind. When they get all effusive about the job, the community etc. and more details about the kind of person they want I think an outsider has a better shot.
 
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