Interview Preparation

The Interview

If you have been contacted for an interview, congratulations! As part of your preparation, you may wish to do one or all of the following: 

  • Review or print the job posting you applied to
  • Review your skills and experience that relate to the position you applied to
  • Review your strengths,
  • Familiarize yourself with Performance Based and Behavior Descriptive interview questions
  • Familiarize yourself with the STAR Method described below.

The interview gives you and the interview team a chance to evaluate whether you have the knowledge, qualifications and skills that would make you highly successful in your new job. It also will demonstrate your interest in the position and your interpersonal skills. Interview questions will include a blend of both Performance Based and Behavior Descriptive questions. Each competition has the same set of questions and rating scale.

General Questions

Candidates may be asked a few general questions such as:

·         How does this position fit in with your career goals?
·         Why are you interested in working for the City?
·         What do you know about the department?

Performance Based Interview Questions

Performance based questions outline a job related situation, scenario or challenge and ask the candidate what they would do. The questions require candidates to demonstrate their knowledge, qualifications and skills to address typical job scenarios. Candidate responses are scored using a performance-based evaluation method that determines to what degree your response is acceptable and complete.

General Sample Questions

  • One important project for us is… Can you please describe how you would organize this project from start to finish?
  • If you were offered this position, how would you approach your first 90 days on the job?
  • One of our key objectives for the person selected for this position is…how would you ensure that this objective is met?
  • Outline the process you would recommend for…

Sample Questions by Position


Position Title

Sample Questions

Executive Assistant You arrive at work at 8am. Your Director has a meeting at 8:30am, and the meeting agenda hasn’t been completed. You also notice several emails and voice messages that need to be addressed. How would prioritize your workload for the morning?
Street Maintenance Worker Consider this situation: There was a heavy windstorm that resulted in a downed tree limb blocking one of the main streets. You get called out to help clean up the debris. Please describe what kinds of steps you would take to efficiently complete this task from start to finish.
Engineer You will be required to oversee the creation of planning documents for land developments. Please describe how you would organize this type of project from start to finish.
Manager One of your employees has been coming in to work late for the last week and just called in sick today. How do you handle this?


Performance Based Testing

Candidates may also be required to complete tasks that are directly related to the job as part of the interview.

Test Examples by Position

Position Title

Sample Questions

Executive Assistant Computer-based testing of typing, data entry, Word, and Excel abilities.
Street Maintenance Worker Remove a manhole lid cover, dig a hole using a shovel, etc.  
Engineer Respond (by letter) to a citizen request, outlining whether or not the request is permitted and why.
Manager Respond to an e-mail inquiry from the director of another department requesting additional information/details related to a specific project


Behavior Descriptive Interview Questions

Behavior descriptive interview questions are based on the principle that the best predictor of future performance is past behavior. The questions require candidates to isolate specific experiences from their past and describe them in detail. Depending on the response, probing questions may be asked for additional details and clarification.

General Sample Questions

  • One important project for us is… Can you please describe something you’ve been involved in recently that is comparable?
  • One of our key objectives for the person selected for this position is… Can you please tell me about something you have accomplished that is similar?

Behavioral Questions by Position


Position Title

Sample Questions

Executive Assistant One important objective for this position will be to summarize lengthy reports for your Director. The Director will rely on these summaries in presentations to City Council. Please tell us about comparable situations where you’ve summarized documents for others.
Street Maintenance Worker Please tell us about a time where you had to work on a major street repair.
Engineer Please tell us about a time where you’ve had to prepare reports to senior management in regards to servicing and development issues.
Manager Please tell us about a time when you had to implement a new policy, procedure or process. What steps did you take to implement the change? What was the outcome?


STAR Method

When preparing your responses to behavior descriptive interview questions, we recommend using the STAR method. This is a logical way to provide the interview team the information they are looking for.


Describe a situation you were involved in. The situation can be from a previous job, a volunteer experience, school or any other relevant event.


Describe the tasks that were involved in the situation.


What actions did you take? Focus on and highlight your individual actions or contributions even if you were working as part of a team.


What results were achieved due to your actions?


Thank you for your application. We eagerly look forward to meeting you at the interview and we sincerely hope you find your passion filled career with the City of Edmonds!

For More Information

Human Resources

Please note: Applications will only be accepted via the online NEOGOV site unless there is a need for an ADA accommodation. Please contact HR if you have a request for an accommodation.


(425) 775-2525


(425) 275-4806