It’s interview season and I couldn’t be more excited to be on the other side of the table interviewing people to be my new colleagues. It’s a new experience and a wonderful opportunity to help build a strong staff to work with our students. It reminded me of another experience I had during my last #SAsearch , on-campus interview presentations!
On-campus interviews can be intimidating on their own. Now, you have to give a presentation to a room of strangers who are trying to determine if they would like to add you to their team. If you are like me, you might be terrified of presenting in front of your peers, let alone people who may supervise you. I received a topic I knew little about. But that topic would dictate a lot of my position if I was hired. I was horrified when they asked me to do this because I did not know this could be part of the hiring process. Here is the great part though, you learn a lot. Let me explain.
Presentations are not my strong suit. Typically I am well prepared, but when I stand up in front of a group of people to actually give the presentation, my brain panics and all that information flies away. So, with my potential employment hinging on a presentation, I practiced a presentation for the first time ever. And I practiced. And I practiced some more. With all this new information, I embedded it into my brain. I made note cards for my slides and then I practiced. I subjected many people to my presentation (students, my supervisor, some guy that hung out in the lounge). This interview presentation taught me to practice.
I am blatantly honest during my interviews. I see this as an opportunity to start off with my potential employer knowing exactly who I am. That said, that also means that when I know nothing about a topic or am simply interested in the opportunity to learn what that specific position offers, I will tell potential employers this. During the particular interview I’m referencing, I was moderately informed on the topic, but was extremely interested in learning more. I gathered articles and read a book on the topic as if I were preparing for a class presentation. Having to do a presentation on this topic showcased my ability to do research and my ability to learn quickly.
Lastly, the institution that asked me to present to them was not a school I knew a lot about. They had offered me a TPE interview while we were onsite. Since I was searching nationally, I took it. I did a little research to get me through TPE, but I still wasn’t gathering the spirit of the institution. Then they offered me an on-campus interview with a presentation. I saw this as an opportunity to get to know the institution in a unique way. I connected my presentation to programs the campus already had in place while adding a little something extra. The presentation allowed me to connect and build.
To all of those who are searching this year I wish you luck. I hope you can learn from my experience to better your on-campus interview presentations. Remember to practice. Showcase your abilities, you’ve worked hard for them. Connect to the institution and build on what they already have. You can do amazing things and on-campus interview presentations are just one of those things.