An interviewer's interactions with those that are seeking university employment can have long-term effects. As a person with an established university career, I have opportunities to influence the lives of students and those in university positions, such as staff and faculty members. Every personal and group interaction offers that opportunity for me and for you.
I recently received an email from a job applicant that I interviewed more than 20 years ago but did not hire. She wrote to thank me for not hiring her, for encouraging her to pursue other opportunities that were more compatible with her scholarly potential, and for correcting her inappropriate nonverbal behavior during the interview. She thanked me for my honesty and said that she uses what she learned in that interview in her current position. She asked to connect with me on LinkedIn, an online professional networking site, but commented that we have been connected for a long while based on that one meeting -- but without my knowledge. Receiving that email message was a joyous moment for me. So much that I shared it with a few of my close colleagues. I cherish that message because I have a reputation for being tough, but good, and this one individual helped to validate my long-held philosophy and practice to not compromise standards and high expectations.
I know some of you share my feelings about the importance of every interaction and its inherent potential to positively affect human development. I also know that some of you sometimes feel that you are working against the grain as you try to uphold and carry the banner for acceptable professional behavior and work performance from those who desire long-term university careers. Ask yourself if you want to compromise your professional principles and beliefs or if you prefer to hold firm for long-term effect and appreciation. I prefer to do the latter.
D. A. Buchanan is a 30+-year higher education administrator and a member of the educational leadership graduate faculty of a historically black university in the southeast United States.
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