Friday was my interview over at “XYZ University”. It went well. I flubbed a little bit because I didn’t say much on what I knew about the department I would potentially be working for. I studied up on the university itself and thought that was more important to know. I knew they’d ask about their department, and I prepped myself for it, but I couldn’t even find all the words to give an adequate answer. I rehearsed too much maybe? I don’t know, but I managed to get something out. My nerves always get to me when I begin to take “thinking pauses” during interviews. It’s so nerve-wracking to hear that silence while I try to find what I want to say. It feels like hours, when in reality, it’s only a few seconds. I still hate it. I hate interviews period, but I think overall I gave a solid 8/10 performance. Hopefully it’s enough? We’ll see.
They said they were in their last day of interviews (there were only two days), so they hope to make a decision quickly. They expect the person to start mid- to late September. That’s fantastic because that gives us time to prepare our move. I want this job. I want to work for a good school and this is it. It’s not top-tier, but I don’t need top-tier right now. I do need a decent school that people actually recognize on my resume, not some crap school like my last job. And I need to work for a school that’s about something and this one is making great strides from what I’ve read.
I was complaining on Twitter though, about how I hate interviews and the questions. Schools/higher ed can be so damn egotistical. The one question I flubbed, is the one question (of a few) that I absolutely cannot stand: “What do you know about us?” Yes, I SHOULD know something about the school, as well as the dept/office I’m applying to. I get it. But don’t ASK me about it. Let me talk about it (if possible) in the interview, as I explain what I can bring to the position. Allow that knowledge to come up naturally. Don’t outright ask, “So what do you know about our dept?” It’s SO awkward for me to answer that question. I don’t know why, it just seems like a test to me. And I feel so rehearsed when I attempt to answer it. It’s clear that the answers to these questions just mean someone either researched or didn’t. I did research a lot, but there’s just so much info to memorize in a short amount of time. Not only am I researching the school itself, I’m researching the dept (this dept is quite layered) I’d be in AND I’m trying to recall various instances from my previous employment to bring up when asked scenario questions. In higher ed, they are ALL about behavioral questioning, for example, “Tell us about a time you implemented a new strategy/program and how did it impact the office”. Or “Tell us about a time you took an initiative and the outcome wasn’t the way you intended. What was the result? How did you resolve it to make it work the for the office?”
I HATE THOSE QUESTIONS!!!!!!!!!
But that’s how it goes these days. They’ll also give scenarios like, “Imagine you have a student and s/he needs help because they’re confused by the course offerings for their major. How do you handle/resolve the issue?” I’ve dealt with more problems than I care to count, so I have stories for days regarding crisis scenarios. But as you can imagine, there’s just only so much information I can recall for an hour interview. And just like a test, there’s only going to be so much they will even ask you. Every interview I have had over the past year has been vastly different. I’m at the point where I don’t even want to prep for them because 9 times out of 10, they will ask me sh*t I haven’t even attempted to think about. For this interview, given that it’s a more traditional school. I went with my gut and prepped more than I would have. I should’ve prepped more, but I was exhausted of thinking about every possible thing they could ask. And as I said, I STILL screwed up one question, but I think I sorta got out of it. Maybe. I don’t know.
On to other things… I have ANOTHER interview with a different school tomorrow (Monday)!! Yes, I’m on a roll! As I said, both of these schools called me the SAME day to schedule. I was SO happy!!! I haven’t had this type of luck in a while. Anyway, this interview will be on Skype. My first video interview. I’m a little nervous, but excited nonetheless. Now here’s the story with this position: I didn’t even apply for it!! Nope. I applied for a job at this school that was geared towards advising, my forte. When HR called, she began by saying that she was calling in reference to that application and proceeded to say that they were looking for someone with a background in IT (it was a computer systems advisor). I don’t possess that background, but I applied anyway thinking well, maybe they’ll see all of my advising skills and call anyway. Well, despite my lack of an IT background, she called because she felt I qualified for another position that was posted. The position will deal with helping the school through the accreditation processes. This school, unbeknownst to me, was founded in 1997!!! I KNOW. I had no idea. I had heard of the school and just assumed it had been around for a very long time. Nope, not the case. Well, given this “newness”, they are still expanding their school and continuing to establish new schools/majors/programs within their university. For you none higher ed folks, when schools want to expand like this, they have to go through an approval process (accreditation) with several regional/national acreditation agencies. It can be a long process, depending on what they’re seeking accreditation for, but it tends to take up to at least a year’s time for it all to be granted. Again, it depends on what the school is seeking to get accredited.
The position would work directly for the VP of Academic Affairs and it would be very administrative. I can handle that, no problem. I was a bit bummed that there’s no student contact, but whatever, I can deal. Maybe I need a break from student contact anyway. The position would do a few secretarial things like schedule meetings and travel for the VP, but other than that, it would work with the VP in terms of the accreditation process, as well as work with their other schools within the university with the creation of curriculum and other programs. The more I think about it, the more awesome it sounds. This would totally give me something completely new to put under my belt (and on my resume!). And to be honest, I’ve thought about accreditation/assessment in regards to how it works and what it would be like to help establish new majors, curriculums and/or programs. I wasn’t thrilled at first, but now I am. This could be right up my alley. And from what HR said, it doesn’t sound like they have anyone else in mind for this position. She said, and I almost quote, “It’s unlikely we’ll find anyone with the exact skills detailed in this position”. Essentially, they haven’t had much luck with finding someone interested to even apply…I’m guessing… I could be wrong. But considering the fact that I applied for a completely different position and she’s calling me about this accred. gig, it could mean they are a bit desperate? *shrugs* Well, the pay is great for the job (it starts at the same salary I was making at my last job), so I’m all for it! lol
Finally my job search is paying off and I’m getting calls AND interviews!! I’m blessed!!! Let’s hope something comes through! Mama needs some money for her birthday in Sept! How wonderful would it be to get this job right on time for my b-day! 🙂 What a great present that would be!!
I’ll keep you all posted…