We have prepared this summary as a service to potential candidates and to assist you in preparing for your next job interview.
Before the interview, learn everything you possibly can about your prospective employer and the people conducting the interview. You should arrive at the interview with a good understanding of the particular requirements of the position, knowledge of the issues currently facing the organization, and insight into local politics.
- Use personal and professional contacts. They can help you develop background and insight.
- Contact the recruiter directly. Explore issues likely to be covered in the interview.
- Do extensive background research. Source materials include budgets and financial reports, city charters, annual performance reports, bond official statements, and local newspapers.
- Plan and rehearse your "verbal résumé." You will almost always be asked, "Please tell me about yourself," so be prepared with a good response, tailored to the job at hand.
- Prepare a written list of likely interview questions and job requirements. List key points you need to make to demonstrate your specific accomplishments in each area.
- Ask good questions. Prepare them in advance and phrase them to demonstrate your insight and ability to handle the position.
Often, the most successful applicants are those that simply out-work their competition.
- The single best indicator of future performance is past success. City councils, city managers and other hiring officials want leaders and achievers in their organizations. As such, your interview performance must convince the decision makers that hiring you adds value to their organization.
Develop a track record of success. It is much easier to sell yourself as successful when you are successful. Hold your current organizations to high levels of efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability.
Hone your communication skills. Having great management skills and a strong record of achievement is all but useless if you can't convey it effectively. This takes practice. Take advantage of opportunities to speak in public, make presentations, and present testimony.
Stay abreast of current issues. Read professional journals, business publications, and current news sources so that you can intelligently comment on topical concerns an interviewer might raise.
Actively participate in professional and civic groups. People who are leaders off the job are likely to lead effectively on the job.
Answer questions directly, then illustrate with examples. Choose examples that highlight past successes, but avoid excessively lengthy responses.
Remember, interviews have time limits. Use the time available to focus the interviewer's attention on your strengths and successes.
City management, at all levels, is a tough, demanding job. Successful performance requires dedication and high energy. You should recognize the interview as your best opportunity to display the energy, initiative, and commitment that you will bring to the position when hired.
Psychologically commit yourself to the job. If you can't get excited about the job, withdraw.
Ask for the job. Don't beg, but do tell the prospective employers that you want to work for them.
Dress appropriately and professionally. For men, this means a dark suit, white shirt, conservative tie, polished shoes and a neat haircut. For women, muted colors are usually best, conservative dress or suit, minimal jewelry, and subtle makeup.
Use humor appropriately. Don't go out of your way to get laughs, but a little bit of light humor can put everyone at ease.
Be aware of your volume and your animation. Speak clearly and audibly; avoid rigid postures and "stiffness."
Use names. Remember the names of the interviewers and use them. People like to hear their names.
Maintain eye contact. This shows self-confidence.
Finally, relax and have fun. Tell the interviewer, with both your words and demeanor, that you appreciate the opportunity the interview represents.