I tend to look for the lessons in my life experiences. However, sometimes in my leadership role, I forget the importance of reflection and introspection because I get caught up in the day-to-day grind. Over the last week, I was forced to evaluate myself as a leader, as a community builder, and as visionary. Basically, my village building mantra was dissected and tested. I spent the week sitting on both sides of interview tables. Through those experiences, I learned that if you open your mind to the potential learning opportunities available through the interview process you should grow personally and professionally.
This is what I learned from the interview processes this week:
- Admitting that I didn’t know everything built trust with other stakeholders.
- Telling others who were invested in the process and the community that I had trust in them as specialists in their particular fields encouraged meaningful dialogue and created a sense of team.
- Self-disclosure should be reserved for those questions that specifically mandate personal information (and then remember that you don’t have to tell everything).
- Be mindful of the clock so that those participating in the process have time to ask questions. You also want to leave yourself time for questions.
- Always have a questions or two ready when they ask, “Do you have any questions for us?”
- Take a notepad and pen for jotting down names, departments represented, comments, questions, or interesting facts.
- Take every opportunity to spend time with people who work or in my case study at the place.
- Be consistent in the responses you give throughout the process. If you learn something during the process that changes your opinion or position, explain your new perspective for purposes of clarity and transparency.
- Think about how you will respond personally and professionally if you don’t get the job (or hire the person you are interviewing).
- Be prepared professionally. Learn about the institution, as many of the people who work or study there, and how the people connect to the mission of the institution and the communities that engage with the institution.
- Be prepared personally. A tote or messenger bag can be helpful. Take water, a piece of fruit or a protein bar, a jacket or sweater, and by all means have some comfortable shoes in the event that the day gets long or you take a walking tour.
- Stay positive and engaged determined to enjoy the experience. Don’t forget that every part of the process is a part of the interview. If you say you want the job and proclaim the blessing of having the opportunity to be there to promote your interest and your qualifications for the job, you should act like you want to be there by staying positive and present. Engage with the community with an air of confidence, gratitude, and enjoyment.