Hiring and Interview Tips

Maryland Park Service LogoThis primer gives a general overview of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) employee hiring process as well as suggestions for succeeding within this process. Overall, applicants should know that each stage of the hiring process requires careful attention to detail, patience, and flexibility.

The Application Process

  • All DNR recruitment announcements are posted on the JobAps website.
  • Make sure you really want the job!
  • Confirm that you meet the minimum qualifications. Job specifications can be found on the Department of Budget and Management website.
  • Create a JobAps application template and review it carefully before you apply for any state position. Make sure that you thoroughly describe your experiences in the skill areas described on the job announcement. Have a trusted friend or co-worker review your application before you submit it. Be detailed with your job duties.
  • Be sure you provide your accurate dates of employment. This includes current and previous full-time and part-time relevant experience. Use month, day and year in all dates of employment. List current position first and describe your current duties and responsibilities. It is good to be comprehensive.
  • Complete any supplemental questionnaire that may be required. Some job applications include supplemental questionnaires that require you to respond to several targeted questions about your professional experiences and/or job interests.
  • Some positions may also have “selective qualifications.” If you see these selective qualifications specified on the job announcement, you will need to meet these criteria to be eligible for employment. Make sure you provide adequate documentation regarding these criteria on your application.
  • Be sure you actually applied and apply in a timely manner. You should receive an email confirming receipt of your application. If you do not, contact DNR’s Human Resources Service (HRS) at 410-260-8080 to confirm receipt of your application. Often the job application period is limited to only two weeks, so be mindful of deadlines.

Preparing For The Interview

  • There is no best way to prepare for an interview, but the biggest mistake is not being fully prepared. If you are selected for an interview, HRS will contact you approximately one week prior to the interview date to schedule an interview. Try to accommodate the limited scheduling timeframe.
  • After you receive an interview date, your preparation should begin.

    Conduct research:
    Re-read the recruitment announcement
    Read the job specifications for the classification
    Review the park’s website
    Consider visiting the park and talking to employees at the park
    Research potential personal issues, such as driving distance from home to worksite

    Practice interviewing:
    Take time to practice interviewing
    Have a co-worker ask you questions about how you would handle potential situations at the park and evaluate your responses
    Be prepared for tough questions
    Research new Maryland Park Service programs, brands, themes and initiatives through the DNR website


The Interview

  • Select proper attire. It's important to arrive at the interview looking like a seasoned professional.
  • Bring a pen/pencil and writing pad with you to the interview. You may elect to take notes during the interview process.
  • Know your interview location and directions and anticipate how long it takes to drive to the site. Consider conducting a test drive in advance. Alert HRS immediately if you are running late or have an accident. Plan to arrive early.
  • The interview panel does not have the opportunity to review your application in advance. Be prepared to brief the panel on your experience related to the position.
  • Be positive, relax and be yourself! Do not hesitate to take time to gather your thoughts prior to responding to a question. Make notes on possible responses you may include when answering the question. Return to previous questions, time allowing, and augment your previous responses.
  • Prepare questions for the interview panel. It may be useful to inquire about typical work hours, the availability of park housing, the park’s organizational chart, and staffing needs or shortages. It is not recommended that you ask about things such as vacation leave.
  • When given an opportunity to share some information about yourself, come prepared with pertinent information about why you are the best candidate for the job. This is critical. Prepare a thirty second promo on yourself and use your final time in the interview to share this information with the panel.

Post Interview

  • Consider sending a thank you email to the interview panel members.
  • Be patient! Once the interview panel has completed its analysis and recommendations, the MPS Superintendent reviews the information and consults panel members.
  • The Superintendent’s approval of an appointment must be reviewed and approved by the DNR Office of Fair Practices and HRS Director, before HRS representatives make conditional offers of employment.