Can you help me prepare for a planning job interview?
November 15, 2013 8:36 AM   Subscribe

I have an interview for an urban planning job (yay me!), but I feel a little worried about the interview.

Here is the issue...I just received word that I am eligible to be interviewed next week for a job. Unfortunately for me, I have been out of planning for over 5 years now. I am quite nervous about this interview because I am economically struggling. Here is what I am interested in finding out about:
1. What should I expect in terms of potential interview questions?

2. What/where are the latest resources you'd use to respond to those questions?

3. This is for a position in Northern California (in a community with negative pop growth). I'm from the east coast in a community with high growth. What is the most outstanding/glaring planning concern confronting small town CA?
I'll be doing my own research as well, but being so far removed from school/work I am very worried about blind spots. I would greatly value anything that Mefi's planners can contribute.
posted by Hypnotic Chick to Work & Money (3 answers total)
UK planner here but I suspect the principles are not too dissimilar. I think you might get questions about how you think planning as a process / philosophy can work towards promoting sustainable growth that might start to stem the outward movement of people / decline in population.

I would talk about understanding how the decline is being generated (aging population and low birthrates? Closure of major employers?) and about how decline affects the built, natural and social environments. For instance, fewer empoyment opportunities means fewer working age families, means less demand for services and facilities, means less spending on necessary infrastructure, means more employers moving out of an area because the workforce / roads / schools / environment etc are not conducive to recruiting / retaining staff and so on. The perfect vicious circle.

How to encourage bounceback from lingering economic downturn effects - promoting business growth, leisure and recreation etc.

How to involve people in planning - a big issue over here. Planning is perceived as something imposed on people - they can't build their house, they can't make the changes they want to their property, they find themselves confronted with development they don't like and don't want - so how do you engage the public, especially traditionally hard-to-reach groups and minorities (who can often be subject both to the worst housing and employment conditions and also be excluded from the consultation or engagement processes by virtue of English being a second language.

Sustainability (both the Bruntland sort and the wider social, economic and environmental sort) is still a huge thing.

I will keep my fingers crossed for you - hope it goes well!
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 9:31 AM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Cyburbia forum has threads that might be helpful on common questions in interviews for entry- and mid-level planner positions.
posted by threeants at 10:15 AM on November 15, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you for the responses! That forum is great threeants and I very much appreciate the tips and info Martha!
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 1:03 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

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