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Interviews, follow-ups, and more interviews… Oh my!: Mitch Joseph (TPE Guest Blogger)

March 3, 2010

So I’m only a couple days out from The Placement Exchange… and I am full of all sorts of feelings from nervousness, anxiousness, and even excitement. My job search has taken all sorts of turns, and now I’ve ended up at TPE. How did I end up at this point? What am I doing to prep for my interviews? Want some tips? Well, just keep reading and find out.

To begin, I want to give you a little background about who I am and where I come from. I am currently finishing up my Masters in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University and am completing my assistantship as a Residence Coordinator and Career Development intern at Heidelberg University (a small, private, liberal arts institution of about 1,200 students in Northwestern Ohio). I also am involved in NASPA’s GLBT Issues Knowledge Community as the Graduate Student/New Professional Core Member. I began my search through TPE in about November/December. The only criteria that I had set for my search was that the institution had to be in a city that, as one friend puts it, “has a Starbucks, a Target, and a Barnes & Noble”.  I started receiving interest in my candidacy in late January, and was accepting interview offers at least once a week. Currently, I am up to about 12 interviews with schools as far away as Seattle, Texas, and Florida and some places that are right in my back yard.

To prepare for all these interviews, I began putting together information sheets on each institution. These info sheets included departmental and institutional missions, key points of the job description, some other facts about the school (mascot, enrollment, etc.), and a few questions to ask in the interview. I approach each interview with my own sense of who I am and my own sense of humor – which I try to let show during the interview. I think that pre-preparation for each interview should last at least as long as the interview itself, and then allow for a 15 minute ‘brush-up’ right before the interview. I could do as one of my supervisors jokingly suggested – take the Chuck Norris approach of kick some butt and take some names… then maybe send a “thank you” note.

The biggest advise about interviewing is that you have to prepare! Do your research on the school, the department, and the backgrounds of who you’ll be interviewing with. Also, make sure you ask questions during and after the interview; if you ask questions during the interview it will allow for a conversational tone and not just a question/answer interrogation. Remember, you are interviewing the position and school just as much as they are interviewing you!

Best of luck during TPE! If you see me, don’t hesitate to check in, say “hi”, and keep me updated on how your search is going. See you all around Chicago!

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