Four candidates have been shortlisted for the top job at Tauranga City Council, Mayor Greg Brownless says.

He confirmed the list included the council's current chief executive Garry Poole, but said he could not publicly identify the other candidates to protect their privacy as they all had current jobs.

Brownless said the calibre of the shortlisted candidates - chosen from 34 applications - was high.

Three had been interviewed and the fourth was due to be interviewed in early May. The council would be able to make a decision shortly after that interview, he said.

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In October the council agreed to advertise the role instead of automatically reappointing chief executive Garry Poole, who earns $356,000 a year, when his five-year contract ends this month.

Advertisements appeared in early February and applications closed on February 26.