Thursday, February 2, 2012

Small Town, Big (City Dreams) #6

SUCCESS...Phone Interview #1

Yesterday I received an email inviting me to my first phone interview of the interview season!

Last week I had a phone conversation with former employee of this school to learn more about what I was getting myself into. My informant was an open book, he claimed, so I felt comfortable asking many different types of questions, but decided to stick to the ones that I had already written down. I viewed our chat as practice interview, making sure I crafted my questions carefully and listened to his response as though he was on the hot seat. We chatted a bit about what it was like to work as a professional at an institution that was not like your typical small private or mid-size public. I asked about the professional network there, the student culture, and any advice that he’d consider relevant for someone about to interview. He told me a few helpful things that I believe I will carry with me to my first phone interview:

1.     The institution’s website is important – so look at it. (check)
2.     Conversely, what is not on the institution’s website is even more important, so take some time to Google what is happening on that campus or in the surrounding community. (dig up the dirt…if you will)
3.     Consider your brand – how will you market yourself to this employer? How have your already branded yourself through application materials (resume, cover letter)?

It wasn’t the first time I was hearing this points, but it was important to remember  all the little pieces of advice over the years as I move forward.

I think another important angle I gained from this experience is learning how to articulate my experiences, and most importantly, the negative ones. While my informant was an open book (from my perspective, more a “burn book” of this particular institution), I felt that even a negative experience at the campus could have been more eloquently articulated. I think about this as I begin to think about how my residence life experience will be incorporated into non-res life interviews. By habit, I think it is easy to remember all of the negative experiences (unnecessary drama between colleagues, long hours, unsympathetic supervisors, etc.). These experiences, however, have made me a stronger, more apt professional. I think approaching somewhat negative experiences through a positive lens would be sound professional advice that I’d give to anyone.

On this note, I’ve been preparing more for specific interview questions. Does anyone have any good resources? A colleague of mine shared this resource with my a few weeks ago…so this is what I’ve been using!

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