After the Interview – Standing Out

You were among three finalists chosen to interview, face-to-face with the search committee, Dean, faculty, and students.  What separates you from the other candidates?  Why should the Dean offer you this academic position?  How do you prevent “blurring” (when in the minds of the search committee, all three candidates ‘blend’ together)?

Keep in mind, during the interview process, that once the interview concludes, your “job” as far as convincing the decision-maker(s) that you’re the right fit for this university position does not end when the face-to-face interview ends.  An important component of being the best candidate is finding out, during the process, who the key decision-maker(s) is (are).  This key piece of information becomes an important component of the protocol after the interview. 

Candidates that desire to separate themselves from the other interviewees will undertake these important follow up steps:

  • Send an email, or personal hand-written, thank-you to the members of the search committee, the Dean, and other staff that interviewed you.
  • With these follow up correspondences, ask what, if anything further you can provide them, in order to facilitate their decision-making process.
  • Ask the type of follow up questions which require an answer from one or more, members of the interview ‘team’, in order to continue the conversation and keep you, as the candidate, in the forefront of their mind.
  • Address correspondence to the key decision-maker(s) and offer a 3- or 6-month plan of objectives and goals that you determined of priority importance, once you begin the position.

Following these key steps can clearly enable you to stand out in front of the other candidates, through being seen as forward thinking, progressive, eager, and a good listener.  As competition for academic careers is ever increasing, having an ‘edge’ separates the ordinary from the extraordinary.

John McCarthy is Associate Dean for the College of Education at Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA.

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