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 for a municipal job interview.
Research the Municipality
Researching the municipality involves more than just knowing that it is a local city government or having a general familiarity with the demographic and related statistics of the region. The best place to find information on the municipality is on their 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 that your interviewer has not thoroughly reviewed your application (most often, your interviewer will have summarized all of your skills and qualifications before the interview); rather, when you bring up these qualifications, it may lead the interviewer to ask more questions about relevant experience. Your answers, probably not on your application, may further support you being 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 much information 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 the qualities of other people rather than of ourselves. However, an interview provides the opportunity to boast about your own qualities; it is all about selling yourself. The interviewer only knows what you tell them (on the resume/CV and during the interview). You should not spend your time reiterating what is on your resume. When preparing, review your qualifications, as well as your accomplishments and how you handle yourself in different situations. Situation-based questions tend to be the most difficult; so, search for examples of these types of questions, and prepare to answer them clearly and concisely.