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Recruiting

Hiring a new administrator can be a lengthy process, and it is important that you take the right steps to attract the best candidate possible.
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1. Recruitment Process

Recruitment Process

 

1. Determining the Responsibilities and Job Description of the Administrator

All municipalities in Saskatchewan, except for cities, must operate under the authority of The Municipalities Act or The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010. The requirements of these Acts outline the role and responsibility of a municipal administrator (section 111 of The Municipalities Act and Section 127 of The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010).  In addition to the responsibilities outlined in these Acts, a council may assign additional responsibilities to the administrator, or the administrator may delegate duties to other staff (if applicable). Each municipality should have a job description for the position of administrator and it should be updated accordingly to reflect the responsibilities of the administrator.

 

2. Recruiting for the Position

Methods of Advertisement - a good start for advertising municipal jobs in Saskatchewan is municipal and administrator association websites such as SUMA, SARM, UMAAS, RMAA, and New North.

 

Websites such as SaskJobs have a wide reaching audience, and posting on municipal and administrator association websites from other provinces will also help increase the number of potential candidates. Ads can be placed in local and provincial newspapers such as the StarPhoenix and the Leader-Post.  Social media has also become a popular way to attract young candidates.

 

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2. Hiring Challenges

Depending on the requirements for your community, joint administration might be an option. Joint administration refers to the process where two or more municipalities share the services of a single administrator. The Municipal Capacity Development Program (MCDP) has developed a template to guide municipalities through this process and can be found on their website.

 

An advertising campaign might be an effective way to increase exposure to careers in municipal government.  The Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties developed a toolkit to help.

 

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) administers the Municipal Administrator Internship Program (MAIP). The program provides funding for half the cost of a host municipality to train (host) an administrator for one year. At this time, the program is for rural municipalities only. For more information, please visit the SARM website.

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3. Sample Interview Questions

This list of interview questions is intended to provide you with examples of questions that could be used when interviewing candidates for a municipal administrator position.  Interviewers are encouraged to determine the questions that are most appropriate for their municipality.

Administration:

  1. Please highlight those aspects of your background (education and experience) that you feel have prepared you for the position of Administrator, and that make you the right candidate for the position.
  2. Think of a time when you had many challenging projects with different priorities to manage. Please briefly explain how you overcame the challenges.
  3. Please explain how you view the role of council versus the role of the administrator.
  4. How would you deal with a situation where one or two council members were making specific demands, but council has not authorized you to take action concerning these demands?
  5. There is increasingly greater public expectation that municipalities should be held publicly accountable. How would you respond to public demands for greater accountability? How would deal with an angry member of the public who is upset with the municipality?

Financial Management:

  1. Financial issues or problems often arise in a municipality because appropriate internal controls and monitoring mechanisms are not in place. Tell us about experiences you have had with the implementation of internal controls and financial monitoring, especially where these controls may not have been adequate.
  2. Council is ultimately responsible to its ratepayers for the financial position of the municipality. Understanding financial information and making sound financial decisions can be difficult without financial training or background. However, it is the Administrator's responsibility to ensure appropriate reporting is in place to facilitate sound decision making. Tell us, as an Administrator, what financial information you would report on to council, how frequently you would report and how you would present the information in an understandable way so that council has the relevant facts to make sound financial decisions.

Human Resource Management:

  1. Administrators are often called upon to mediate disputes, which may arise within a municipality involving staff, councillors, or ratepayer and sometimes between two municipalities. Tell us about experiences that you have had mediating a dispute, your role, how you approached it and the outcome.
  2. Have you ever been involved with introducing any new ideas or programs into your organization? Tell us about the program, and describe the steps you used to improve the acceptance for the program.
  3. What is the most difficult management situation that you have had to handle in the past few years?
  4. How would you describe yourself and your management style? How would you produce a working environment that supports maximum productivity? Please relate your response to your working experience.

Communication Skills:

  1. Tell us about a time when you had to be assertive to get across a point that was important to you.
  2. Describe a complex process, product, situation or rule that you had to explain to someone. How did you know you were successful in getting your point across?
  3. Could you comment on your experience operating in a high public profile environment, dealing with the media, presenting a defending controversial issues?
  4. Describe a report or proposal that you wrote that was very effective. How did you know? What was the outcome?
  5. How do you keep staff aware of information and municipal activities that might affect them?

Analytical and Problem Solving Skills:

  1. What kinds of problems do you deal with in your current job? How do you address them? Share some examples.
  2. Tell us about a time that you came up with a solution to a problem that others had not been able to solve in quite a while.
  3. What has been the most difficult management situation that you have had to handle in the past few years?
  4. Tell us about a complex problem that you solved recently. How did you decide what to do? What were the key elements that you considered? What was the outcome?

Leadership Skills:

  1. Describe a recent initiative that you led. What obstacles did you face in reaching your goals? How did you overcome them?
  2. How do you describe yourself and you management style? How would you produce an environment that supports maximum productivity? Please relate your response to your working experience.
  3. Have you ever been in a leadership role where major change is taking place in the organization? How did you approach your part in it, and what are some of the key considerations in a successfully introducing change?
  4. Share an experience in which you had to lead a technical team whose members had more experience than you. How did you deal with that?

Managing Change Skills:

  1. Describe a situation in which you anticipated the future and made changes to current services to meet future needs.
  2. Give us an example of when you identified and assessed a new business opportunity.
  3. Tell us about a time when you were surprised by a change at work. How did you deal with it?
  4. Tell us about a time when you did not deal well with a change. What prevented you? What could you have done differently? What was the outcome?
  5. Give us an example when you had to change a plan or approach that you were committed to. How did you feel, and how did you explain the change to your staff or the public?

Goal-Oriented Skills

  1. Tell us about a recent goal that you set and achieved. Walk us through your thinking and planning process.
  2. Give us an example of a goal that you did not reach. How did you feel about that? What could you have done differently?
  3. Think of a job that you held where your goals were not clearly defined. What did you do about it?
  4. How do you motivate your staff?

General Questions:

Are you willing to work in a rural or remote area?

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4. Sample Reference Questions and Letter of Offer

Below you fill find a list of sample questions you may want to consider asking of a potential candidates references.  You will want to ensure the questions you are asking of the individual giving the reference align to the questions and knowledge areas you conducted with the candidate during the interview.

  • What is your opinion of (candidate's) skills in terms of their ability to deliver _______ within their current position? (Repeat this question to cover all the relevant core skills required for the job)
  • What is your opinion of what motivated (candidate) within their current position?
  • What is your opinion of (candidate) as a team player within the organization?
  • What would you say was (candidate's) greatest strength?
  • What would you say was (candidate's) biggest weakness?
  • How would you say (candidate) took direction?
  • What management problems, if any, did (candidate) cause you? (If necessary, follow up with - how did you resolve these issues)
  • What parts of the job did (candidate) have the most problems with?
  • What was (candidate's) attitude toward developing needed new skills?
  • How adept was (candidate) at developing new skills?
  • How effectively did (candidate) achieve your organization's goals?
  • How effective was (candidate) at communicating with the public? With co-workers? With other employees?
  • How well did (candidate) deal with the public or handle sensitive issues with the public/media?
  • What advice would you give me, as a potential employer of (candidate)?

Remember, when conducting a reference check, you are seeking evidence to confirm your assessment of potential candidates' abilities.

Sample Letter of Offer

In addition to the sample letter of offer below, you will want to consider any additions that may be part of employment requirements in your municipality, such as enrolment in a specific health/dental plan, life insurance enrolment, pension plan, union dues, etc.  These conditions of employment may differ significantly from municipality to municipality and it is important to notify the candidate during the interview process so there are no unexpected conditions as part of the employment offer.

DATE
NAME
ADDRESS

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

Dear (Candidate):

Re:  Administrator Position

I am pleased to confirm that you have been selected for the position of Administrator for the Municipality of _________. The position is offered on the following terms and conditions:

Your effective start date will be ___________, 20____. Your starting salary as the Administrator will be $xx,xxx per annum.

You will be on probation for your first twelve months (12) of employment with the Municipality of _______. The Council will meet with you and conduct a performance review after you have completed six (6) months of employment, once again after twelve (12) months, after which time, the probationary period will expire or be extended. The Council will meet with you annually thereafter.

Enclosed is a copy of the personnel policy and information about the municipal benefits plan. Please review each and call <name and contact information> if you have any questions in this regard.

To confirm acceptance of this offer, please sign and return a copy of this letter to the municipality within x working days.

I look forward to meeting with you on _____, 20XX at (time) at the municipal office in <name of village/town> to introduce you to the other staff members and to help familiarize you with your new workplace.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please call me.

Congratulations on your appointment. We are very pleased to have you join our team. Welcome aboard!

Yours truly,

Mayor/Reeve

Enclosures

I accept the above offer of employment in accordance with the conditions specified above.

Signature     _________________________    Date ________________________

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5. Resources for New Administrators

The Government of Saskatchewan has a section on its website, Government | Municipal Administration | Management Resources, dedicated to assisting municipal administrators on a variety of specific topics ranging from Budget Preparation to Subdivision Applications.

If you are a new administrator, you may feel overwhelmed on where to start. There are two documents which are intended to serve as a useful resource to assist you through the process of important dates and timelines of when certain responsibilities must be met: 

  •  Administrator Orientation Guide 
  •  Administrators Calendar

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