Give an example of a time when you created your own presentation. Who did you present it to? What was the feedback?
"Just last month I was asked to present a city community plan to the surrounding residents. The plans were going to interrupt some of the surrounding wetlands which meant that some of the attendees were skeptical. I created a very clear and entertaining presentation in Keynote and rehearsed it for a few days prior. After presenting this to the 50 attendees, many of them commented on my knowledge and ability to answer their questions and address their concerns. I feel it was successful because everyone left with a full understanding of the project's pro's and con's."
This is a great time to brag about yourself a little bit! Talk about any awards or recognition you have received and be sure to include something unique about yourself. This will help the hiring manager to remember you.
"I feel that I am the best candidate for you because I bring direct experience in the types of community and residential projects that you specialize in. I am also a very strong technical artist and won the design award last year in my current company."
The research you have retained on the company prior to the interview will be important when answering this question. It is great to tell the interviewer about the areas of the city you would love to see revitalized however, be sure to know the company's past, current and future projects as well.
"I feel that the Inglewood area has the most potential as it's central, has a great vibe, and has a lot of thriving small businesses to offer amenities to the residents. Your recent project in the Renfrew area is a perfect example of that. It's another great neighbouring area that could benefit from a revitalization."
Similar to the 'What makes you the best candidate for us?' question, you will want to talk a bit about what makes you a stand out candidate for the role. This particular question also offers you the opportunity to ask for the job.
"You should hire me because I am a very talented planner with direct experience in the types of projects that you focus on. I know the industry and hold a strong reputation within it. Knowing what I have told you about myself; is there any reason why you would hesitate to hire me? Is there anything more I can clarify for you about my background?"
This answer can be simply stated. Talk briefly about what you feel the benefits are to others' by having urban planning experts.
"Urban planning is not only important because it creates a sense of order in a city but it is also required for the safety of its citizens. I can make a difference in my city by providing insight towards a great future for generations to come."
Talk about your level of education, where you went to University/College and where you completed your internship. Were you mentored by anyone along the way?
"I completed my Degree in Urban Planning from McGill University in Montreal. For my apprenticeship I worked for ABC architecture firm and was mentored greatly by one of the senior partners. This experience gave me a really full, and broad scope of the industry and it's expectations. The high level of quality work that was expected was immense but the pressure benefited me greatly."
The answer that you give will show the interviewer what types of projects seem to interest you the most. Be sure to give examples of why you found the project impressive. (If, during college, you studied one of the past projects of this company you are interviewing with, even better!)
"One stand out project that I studied while in school was the Lotus building in Seattle. I believe your firm headed this project up? The fact that it was such an environmentally friendly project was really impressive to me. I see that your company continued with a focus on staying green. That is great, and a big interest of mine."
Planning public transportation in your designs can be a tedious task so be sure to bring examples of your work with you. Sometimes it is easier to show, than to tell! You can take the interviewer through your work history as well and touch on some of the designs you have done in the past.
"I have a few examples with me that I would be happy to show you. As far as incorporating public transportation into my designs, I have done so approximately 5 times this past year. Let me show you..."
This question will be important to the interviewer, as it will determine much about your potential fit within their organization. Do your research on the planning group prior to the interview. Are they known for flashy work or are they a reputable company with a reputation for long standing design?
"I fully believe that creating a timeless design is the most important. That doesn't mean that it can't be attractive or somewhat 'flashy' either. It needs to catch the eye, but also keep it."
What inspires you to be the best? Do you stay motivated through new inspiration? This answer can be basic or you can get a little bit more personal.
"My initial inspiration came from watching my mentor, a senior urban planner, take such pride when a project was complete. It truly is a great feeling to walk or drive through a project upon completion and be able to say that these were YOUR ideas, implemented. I also subscribe to a couple of architecture and planning magazines."
It is really important to mention projects that the interviewer will be familiar with. The more they can visualize your work, the better.
"The projects that you would be most familiar with would be some of the larger scale projects that I have worked on. For example, the community of Madigan is a big one in my portfolio. Mount Pleasant is another. For commercial, I also worked on the traffic flow, parking and green space for the Crossroads Mall development."
Your answer will speak to your level of attention to detail. It will also show the interviewer that you have the ability to think outside of the box and understand how communities continue to need improvement.
"In my current community I would start by adding more green space. The area is starting to see more young families and there are not a lot of options for them as far as parks and playgrounds go. I would also make room for more single family homes. There are a lot of condo developments which has caused some population congestion and parking concerns."
Which projects are you really proud of, and are there some that you feel mediocre about? Be sure to bring your portfolio as well so that you can physically show examples. IE: "My portfolio has a wide range of both commercial and residential planning. I began my career in commercial development and have since been working on building communities and park areas. I really like my portfolio - even my early work, because it got me to where I am today. I wouldn't change anything about it but I will say that my work has become much more detailed since the beginning of my career."
"My portfolio has a wide range of both commercial and residential planning. I began my career in commercial development and have since been working on building communities and park areas. I really like my portfolio - even my early work, because it got me to where I am today. I wouldn't change anything about it but I will say that my work has become much more detailed since the beginning of my career."
Think of the things that you really appreciate about your own community. Do you feel that everyone should have those amenities?
"The few things that I always think of when I am planning a new community are flow of traffic, safety, green space and ample amenities for ease and convenience. Individuals really like to feel a sense of community within their neighbourhoods. No matter how large the city is, I believe that most people like to feel as though their neighbourhood is a small town or community within itself."
Which city impresses you the most, and why? Be sure to include some thoughtful detail in your answer.
"For myself, I am very impressed with the design of Berlin, Germany. Berlin has become one of the greatest creative centres of the world and is now becoming leader in design. It's focus is environmentally conscious and sustainable."
How you answer this question will show the interviewer more about your keen eye for detail and your ability to think critically. Answer this is a way that remains positive but is also constructive. Avoid bashing the work of another firm.
"I was tasked to study a couple of former city projects during my time in University. One being the residential community of Waterfront and the other being the residential community of Silverado. These projects are full of confusing traffic circles which has made for an increase in vehicular and pedestrian accidents over the years. Drivers are afraid of missing their turn to get to the correct shopping area and they forget to keep an eye on the road."
When you answer this question be sure to include your thoughts on where you would like to be with this particular company in 5 years.
"One of the really big things that attracts me to your company is the fast growth that you've displayed over the past few years. I would be thrilled to join a company such as yours and grow into a management position over time."
Multiple groups means multiple personalities so it's best to give an example of a time when perhaps you were working with a team that didn't always see eye to eye.
"I am continually working with multiple groups that do not necessarily see eye to eye. We almost always have the same end-goal but not necessarily the same ideas on how to get there. Strong communication is key since it is so easy to misunderstand. What I do is take my time to talk to the other party and repeat back what my understanding of it is. This way, we know for sure if we are on the same page."
Talking about previous reviews and also your references are going to be really important when answering this question.
"My previous employer and I worked very closely together for many years. He would say that I am a hard worker who is willing to go above and beyond expectations to ensure a job well done. My performance reviews were always good. He will be happy to provide a strong reference for you. We parted on very amicable terms."
This answer can be brief and should include an example of something that you do to ensure you are communicating clearly.
"I have been told by my current manager that my communication skills are very good. I try to always break my emails and phone conversations down to the simplest facts so that everyone involved is receiving the most pertinent information. I also possess great follow up skills."
Be sure to use a recent and relatable example when you answer this question. Spend less time talking about the problem and more time talking about what you did to find a solution. What was the outcome?
"Last week our client made some pretty significant changes to our plans just 2 days before the submittal deadline. Everyone was really stressed. I agreed to work many hours of overtime for those 2 days so that we could hit the deadline our client required. It's easy to freeze up in times like that so I was sure to create a milestones schedule and stick to that. I also made sure to utilize our technical staff and junior planners more than usual. We hit our deadline and our client was thrilled!"
If you are new to the city, you should let the interviewer know this, but also follow up with some of your current knowledge about the city.
"I moved to Seattle just 1 year ago but in that time I have been able to get to know the flow of the city very well. I also did a lot of research on Seattle and the urban sprawl prior to moving here."
Being a talented Urban Planner requires great attention to detail. If you are successful in this career path, you are - in fact - going to be naturally detail oriented. Talk a bit about your ability to see the small, finite details. Include an example of a time when you caught an error or oversight.
"I am very detail oriented and am a careful planner. Just last month I was reviewing a co-workers plans prior to client submittal. It was missing a small detail on the roadway which would have caused too severe of narrowing and blind spots while turning around the corner. We fixed the error right away which saved us a lot of un-billable hours."
This is a simple and straightforward answer. Be sure to have these listed on your resume if you have any involvements as well.
"I am a current member of the city's Urban Planning Association. I am also an alumni member of the local CSO."
It is imperative that you do research on the company history and its past/current projects. Have they won any awards or received recognition for a job well done?
"I have done a lot of research on your company because I want to ensure that it is the right fit for me as well. What stands out to me most is that, as such a well established company, you are still developing new and creative ways to stand out from the crowd. Your reputation is impeccable and I really enjoy the projects that you do. They are unique and very well done."
Urban and regional planners develop long- and short-term plans for the use of land and the growth and revitalization of urban, suburban, and rural communities and the region in which they are located. They help local officials alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems by recommending locations for roads, schools, and other infrastructure and suggesting zoning regulations for private property?work that requires forecasting the future needs of the population. Because local governments employ the majority of urban and regional planners, they often are referred to as community or city planners.