You were among three finalists chosen to interview. 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)? What should you expect during the interview process:
1) Structure of the itinerary?
2) Individual’s selected to meet with?
3) Format—panel; one-on-one; student-body interviews?
These are all questions to consider when you’re preparing for the interview.
If you have the opportunity to dialogue with the search committee chair and/or other members of the search committee, it’s important to begin to develop a rapport with him/her (them)—even prior to coming on-site for the interview. 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. Maintaining on-going communication/correspondence with the committee or chair will help to eliminate the potential for ‘blurring’.
Typically, for upper level higher education positions, committees will include representation from students to be included in the interview process. This may take the form of meeting with select students’ to meeting with an entire class. An interview itinerary may include some type of presentation about yourself, your interests, and what you can bring as an enhancement to the institution (in other words—why should the institution choose you over the other candidates).
It’s important to consider what you can ‘leave’ behind that will enable you to stand out in the minds of those with whom you’ve interviewed. This is something less tangible than a curriculum vita. This is where the importance of your earlier relationship development becomes of paramount importance—you will be remembered because of how you interacted, on a personal level—even in large group settings.
John McCarthy is Associate Dean for the College of Education at Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA.
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