Help job seekers be ready to work for your city by preparing them for a great interview!
Interviews are opportunities to showcase skills, experiences, and personality as candidates show potential employers why they’re the best fit for the job. Below are tips to help applicants prepare before, during, and after the interview. You can also print a version of the job seeker handout by clicking the brochure cover on this page.
Preparing for the Interview
Know the city.
Learn about the city’s projects and history, review their website, and take some time to explore the city before your interview.
Plan your route in advance.
Be sure you know what building you’re going to, what door to use, and who you should check in with when you arrive. Could parking or traffic be an issue? Plan your route and allow plenty of time.
Prepare questions to ask interviewers.
You’re prepared to answer questions, but make sure you’re also prepared to ask some! Not only will you get to know the position and the city better, you’ll also show your interviewers how interested you are in the job.
Be ready to show your skills.
Bringing a portfolio or examples of your work? Practice how you will highlight the skills your work demonstrates so that you convey confidence.
Have something to leave behind.
If there’s something extraordinary you’ve done that you can create in a smaller format, or if you’ve put together a condensed version of your resume that quickly showcases your strongest skills and accomplishments, consider making a “leave-behind” to help the interviewer remember you and your work.
During the Interview
Get there early.
Arriving 10-15 minutes early is appropriate and will help you get your bearings, fill out any onsite paperwork, and get mentally prepared. Never, ever be late.
Dress for the job.
The interview is an important step to getting your job. Dress at least as professionally as you expect your interviewer to be dressed, and remember: It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
Listen and communicate.
Listen carefully and have a positive attitude. Take a second to think about your answer if you need to — taking time to understand the question will help you keep your answer focused and on-topic. Remember that not all communication is verbal and to be aware of nonverbal cues from the interview panel. These signals can help you judge whether you are answering a question completely or spending too much time on a certain point.
Show your personality.
Speak with genuine enthusiasm for what you do and show confidence by making comfortable eye contact with everyone in the room. Try to relax!
After the Interview
Send a thank-you note.
As soon as you can after your interview, send a simple thank-you message, either by email or postal service, to your interviewer(s).
Follow-up on anything left unanswered.
Did your interviewer ask for any information that you didn’t have? Follow up right after your interview with the missing information.
Not every candidate can get the job, but it’s important to leave a good impression whether or not you are hired. Accept rejection professionally, and remember: You might apply to future jobs with the same city.
Choosing the Right Job
Consider the culture and characteristics.
The culture of an organization is an important aspect of every job. Look for an employer that appeals to your personality and goals. City governments vary in size, services provided, priorities, and resources. Research the organization and ask questions in the interview to learn more.
Compare salary and benefits.
Do your research and base your expectations on industry standards for your location, your experience, and your field.