Have an Interview for a Municipal Job?

Valuable Tips on Preparing for a Municipal Job Interview

One of the most awaited parts of any job search tends to be what makes people the most nervous: the interview. There are many different types of interviews and interview techniques that an employer can utilize. Although an applicant may not know exactly what to expect, they can still be prepared. Review the following guidelines to assist in preparing yourself for your next interview.

Research the Municipality

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Researching the municipality goes further into depth than just knowing that it is a local city government or having some general familiarity with the demographic and related statistics of the region. The best place to find information on the municipality is on their own official website. While researching, it is important to read up on what the city is accomplishing, what projects they are involved in and what core values they adhere to. Check to see if the city is under a civil service system. If so, what rules apply to the area you are hoping to work in?

If there are any projects or changes that involve the area that you are interviewing for, create some questions to ask the interviewer. For instance, if the position is in accounting, read up on the budget. Tailor the questions to what is relevant to budgeting and accounting. While researching, it may be that you'll discover that the city is applying for a handful of grants. If your experience involves grant accounting, state this in the interview. 

The same goes for other specific areas. If you have some expertise or experience in that area, don't be a well-kept secret! Be sure to include that expertise or experience in your application. When the opportunity arises during your interview, be sure to mention these other qualifications. It isn't so much that your interviewer won't have thoroughly reviewed your application -- sometimes that happens, although more often your interviewer will have summarized all your pluses and minuses before the actual interview. It's rather that when you bring up these additional qualifications in the interview, it may lead your interviewer to ask questions about that experience. Your answers, probably not on your written application, may further support you as the most qualified candidate.

Know the Position

Not all positions are alike. Although the title of recreation leader may conjure up ideas of working with children in a recreation center, the position may revolve around setting up tournaments for adult basketball leagues. While researching the city's website, look to see if there is an online job description that states typical duties of the position. Go into the interview with as detailed an idea as possible of what the job entails. Within the job description, review the knowledge, skills, and abilities required. Typical duties and knowledge, skills and abilities are areas that an interviewer may use to create questions.

Review What Makes You a Great Candidate

Sometimes it is easier to assess qualities in someone other than ourselves. An interview is about selling yourself. The interviewer only knows what you tell them; whether it is through your résumé or during the interview. The interview should not be a reiteration of what was stated in your résumé. Rather it should be an in-depth extension of what was in your résumé. When preparing, review not only your qualifications but your accomplishments and how you handle yourself in different situations. Situation-based questions tend to be the more difficult to answer; make sure to search for samples of these kinds of questions and prepare to answer them effectively.