Thank you to everyone who contributed to the September series, #SACAndidEx. It took courage and time to share your stories and I appreciate your efforts. We started the series with the goal of learning and creating dialogue about our collective on-campus interview experiences. The series included both employee and employer perspectives; new professionals; seasoned job-searchers; military spouses; and colleagues in transition. Oh my!
Here are some of the highlights:
How to answer different types of interview questions
- Be prepared for any and everything!
- Questions can range from behavioral-based ones to theory.
- Sometimes, you might get a curveball, or an unprofessional question. Smile and answer as best you can. Share what happened with the appropriate on-campus partners and/or your supervisor.
Importance of non-verbals
- Your non-verbals and the committee’s can speak volumes. Pay attention!
- Also, don’t ignore any potential red flags that might emerge from the interview. What members of the campus community don’t say is equally as important as what they do say.
- Students are an important part of the interview experience and should be included and acknowledged as much as possible.
- Students are watching how we as candidates answer questions and treat them. Will we advocate for them?
- Conversely, our potential employer is also watching how we treat students when we are on-campus.
- There is a difference between a search committee and screening committee.
- Know that members of a search committee will do an internet search on you and, you should do the same. Do your research on them and the institution!
- Search committees can and should call your references.
- It’s not always all it’s cracked up to be, especially when you hear information from the committee that you’re not supposed to.
- It can also get tricky when you and a colleague are both internal candidates for the same position. But, it is possible to support each other.
- The good, bad and the ugly.
- In short- it matters!
One colleague shared that she used the series content as professional development materials for graduate assistant training. Yes! This is exactly what I was hoping would result from this series- more dialogue and more education. Hopefully, we can keep it going!
As the coordinator of this new series, I was…surprised by the number of people who would only post anonymously and the number of authors who committed to writing and then backed out. The fact that it happened multiple times, from different people and different institutions, tells me that something is a-miss in our profession. The employer still holds the cards and sometimes, it is best for candidates to remain silent than potentially out ourselves as less-than-satisfied with our experience.
I think we can do better. The goal should be that every candidate, whether offered the job or not, has an excellent interview experience. From the initial application submission to the on-campus interview, to the first day of work, it can and should be a mutually beneficial process. From my colleagues who posted here, I learned that there are institutions and other professionals who do the on-campus interview well. And, unfortunately, there are those who do not. Hopefully we can learn from each of them and make it better for those entering the field and those searching.