Interviewing With the City

Employment or selection interviews with the City of Phoenix can be different than interviews with other employers. Perhaps the biggest difference is the use of panels to interview candidates instead of conducting one-on-one interviews.

When interviewing with the City of Phoenix, candidates present their qualifications to a panel. A panel usually consists of three to five supervisors, subject matter experts, human resources professionals, and members of the community whose backgrounds qualify them to serve as panel members. The hiring supervisor usually serves as the panel chairperson.

For most City of Phoenix interview processes, there are at least two rounds of interviews. Typically, eight to twelve candidates are invited to the first interview for each vacancy. The first interview is structured and all candidates are asked the same questions. It is designed to narrow the field of candidates to the top candidates. The panel recommends that these candidates advance to the second interview.

The second interview is usually less structured and provides the panel the opportunity to ask follow-up questions from the first interview, clarify areas that may be unclear, and probe more deeply into the candidates’ education, training, experience, and other credentials. Oftentimes the second interview is the final interview.

If you are selected for an interview, the hiring department will contact you directly. The Human Resources Department will not contact you for an interview unless the position to be filled is in the Human Resources Department.

Because the eligible-to-hire list may be used by more than one hiring department, it is unlikely the Human Resources Department will know who contacted you. Therefore, when invited to an interview, you may want to write down the following information:

  • Name of the person who contacted you
  • Title of the job for which you are being considered
  • Time and place to appear for the interview
  • Name of the person to whom you should report
  • How long the interview is scheduled to last
  • Telephone number to call if you will be delayed or need to cancel
  • Anything you have been asked to bring

If you need a reasonable accommodation at the interview, request it at the time you are invited to the interview.

Candidates may be asked to bring references and recent performance appraisals to the first and/or second interview. Candidates also may be administered an exercise in which a job-related skill is demonstrated (e.g., written or in-basket exercise, typing, proofreading, software proficiency, tool/equipment identification, mock presentation, physical strength or ability, timed performance/assembly drill, etc.).

The more prepared you are for the interview, the more confident you will be during the interview. Therefore, to prepare for the interview:

  • Review your copies of the application materials you submitted, the Employment Opportunity (job announcement), and the job description. Job descriptions are available at http://phoenix.gov/hr/jobdescripts/index.html.
  • Research the department to gain a general understanding of its mission, functions, services, etc. Information on most departments is available at http://www.phoenix.gov/departments/index.html.
  • Think of questions you may be asked and develop responses. Research generic interview questions from web sites, books, and other sources, and develop responses to these as well.
  • Practice your responses and general interviewing skills with family, friends, and/or colleagues.

 

On the day of the interview:

  • Be well rested and be sure to have a meal close enough to your interview time to avoid being hungry at the interview. Being tired, hungry, or uncomfortable in other ways will interfere with your ability to concentrate at the interview.
  • Be well groomed and neat in appearance, and wear attire that is consistent with the work and environment of the position.
  • If you wear a uniform to work, change into attire that is appropriate for an interview. This will help you to make the best impression.
  • Allow plenty of time to get to the interview. Consider the distance from your home to the interview site, potential traffic, availability of parking, and the time needed to walk from your vehicle to the interview site.
  • Arrive at the interview site according to the instructions you may have been given or at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time. Don’t forget to take with you whatever may have been requested (e.g., references, performance evaluations, etc.).

Immediately prior to the interview, read any material you may have been given upon your arrival, and review once more your application materials and any other materials that may have been mailed to you or that you brought to the interview. Then try to relax.

When you are escorted into the interview room, go in with the knowledge that:

  • You belong at the interview and were invited because your education, training, and/or experience appears to be a good match for the job.
  • The panel wants everyone to interview well and will make a fair, objective recommendation to the hiring department.

During the interview:

  • Be prepared to discuss your education, training, and/or work experience, and how they relate to the job for which you are interviewing. Don’t forget to mention professional certifications, licenses, organizations, etc., if applicable.
  • Listen carefully to the questions, and give balanced responses, i.e., not too little, not too much. If need be, take a moment to think before responding. If a question has multiple parts, be sure to address all parts. Ask to have the question repeated if necessary. For all questions, give concise, yet complete responses in a logical and organized manner. When possible, give examples to support your responses. Avoid giving personal information (e.g., age, national origin, marital/parental status, religion, hobbies, etc.) that is irrelevant to the selection process.
  • Speak clearly and loud enough to be heard. Be sure to address all panel members and make eye contact with each of them. Be aware of your body language. Be confident and enthusiastic!
  • Don’t be modest, but don’t be arrogant either. Remember, you are trying to convince the panel that you are the best person for the job, so sell yourself accordingly.
  • Manage your time. Know what time your interview begins and what time it is scheduled to end, and know the number of questions to be asked and how much time you can afford to spend on each.

At the end of the interview, if you have questions and time permits, feel free to ask. You also are welcome to give a closing statement if time permits. Some candidates like to give closing statements because it gives them the opportunity to provide additional information, reiterate why they believe they should be selected, and convey excitement and enthusiasm for the job. Be sure to keep your closing statement brief, and don’t forget to specifically tell the panel that you want the job.

Finally, if you are unable to attend the interview, contact the hiring department as far in advance of the interview as possible. Failure to do so may be viewed as unprofessional and cause hiring supervisors to limit their consideration of you for other positions.