Continued from the piece “How to absolutely crush your student affairs interview: part I”
Day Of Your Interview
Get Your Body (Language) Right
If you haven’t seen Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk: “Your Body Shapes Who You Are“, check it out. As silly as it sounds, just 15-20 seconds of “Power Posing” will go a long way towards making you feeling more confident. Prime your mind and body to kick butt… you’ll thank yourself (and Amy!) later.
I’ve also found quick, but intense, exercise sessions do a lot for activating your brain and elevating energy levels. Even five minutes can help make you feel significantly sharper.
Ask Targeted, Insightful, and Inclusive Questions
Your fourth grade teacher lied to you… there are stupid questions. I’ve personally seen candidates ask about vacation time, benefits, and aspects of the job that either indicated they weren’t all that interested or could have been answered with a bit more research. During the phone interview stage of my last search, a former Ph.D faculty member starting asking me about how we specifically helped students get jobs, and was shocked to hear he’d be reviewing resumes, coaching interviewing, and helping vet potential employment opportunities for hundreds of students… despite the fact those responsibilities were spelled out in the job description!
Another common mistake I see is the candidate not asking questions targeted towards, or inclusive of, the specific people in the room. Again – a tiny bit of research into the individuals interviewing you can go a long way. For each specific question you craft, I’d suggest following one of two strategies or a combination therein:
1. Ask something that shows your level insight into the Campus Community and is open to anyone to answer.
For example: “In my time here, I’ve noticed ________. What makes (college or university name) students unique?” Another question I like: “What are you looking for in an ideal candidate”, will oftentimes give you a read on how well you’re doing, as the interviewers will likely either repeat talking points from your conversation or point out some of your areas of weakness. Either way, I’ve found this question is an easy way to take the pulse of the room.
2. Ask targeted and specific questions to each individual about their areas of expertise.
This approach requires a bit more research, quick-thinking, and the ability to tactfully elicit quick responses. When pulled off well, though, it’s an absolute home run. During a Director of Career Services search, I saw a candidate address eight of his potential team members by name, asking them a specific and relevant question about their role (.e.g, “what kinds of trends do you notice at the front desk”, “how do you incentivize programmatic participation”, etc.). This sealed the deal for our team, who made an offer to the candidate that very night.
Following The Interview
Nail the Follow-up
Send a quick, but thoughtful, email or hand-written thank you note expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to interview with their organization. Be sure to reference one specific thing you discussed, and leave the door open for potential future correspondence.
Dear Mr. Shattuck,
Thank you for the opportunity to interview for the Admissions Counselor position. I enjoyed discussing your three-year vision for the organization and am excited about the possibility of working at Institution X.
I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me and look forward to hearing from you regarding the position.
Interviewing can be intimidating, but, like anything, gets easier with practice. 6-10 hours of targeted research, preparation, and practice will go along way towards making you feel more confident walking-in, and prime you for success.
Above are just a few of my tips. I’d love to hear from you, though… what do YOU do to prepare for interviews?
> BONUS <
Podcast With Quint Geis on #SAGrad, Life, and Job Searching