You made it to the ‘finalist’ interview—one of only a very few to reach this point. What separates you from the other candidates? How do you prevent “blurring” (when in the minds of the search committee, all three candidates ‘blend’ together)? How do you sustain that positive energy you felt at the conclusion of the interview?
One important, key component during this process is to keep in mind that your job doesn’t end when the face to face interviews conclude. Continuing the dialogue beyond the interview is of paramount importance. That said, cultivating relationships becomes of equal importance. Developing a relationship can lead to open and comfortable dialogue—before and after the interview—to learn about specifics of the interview and the process for the decision-making following the interview, including who the key decision-maker(s) is (are). Maintaining on-going communication/correspondence with the committee or chair will help to eliminate the potential for ‘blurring’.
The key is not only what you may have ‘left behind’, but what you are able to continue to provide your interviewers/decision-makers with that will separate you from the rest. On-going correspondence via email or U.S. mail is highly recommended. Use this resource to provide your prospective employer with more details about yourself and additional, tangible details about what you can bring to this (new) organization. Tangible details such as a 3- or 6-month work plan (or goals), if well written and targeted at the needs of the organization can be a very positive and proactive approach.
Interviewers will remember you based on your interactions with them, on a personal level. Providing them with something like a work plan offers them a larger view of your professional acumen and can potentially place you in the position of being seen as progressive, proactive, and eager.
John McCarthy is Associate Dean for the College of Education, at Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA.
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