The right resume can get your foot in the door, quite literally. But the interview is where the rubber meets the road. It’s time to see if the University is a good fit for you and if you are a good fit for the University. Here are some tips to help you get your interview skills up to snuff:
Do Your Homework
Go online and learn more about the university and the industry of higher education. For a Post interview, spend some time on our website learning about our students, faculty, associates, programs and campus. If you know someone who is already part of the Post team, ask questions about the culture - what it is like to work here - and think about how you will fit within our culture.
Prepare Through Practice
Whether this is your first job interview or your 51st, take the time to prepare. Go online and check out typical questions interviewers ask. Practice your answers using SOAR (situation, obstacle, actions, results). Think about the experiences and skills you’ve accumulated and think about how they would add value to the organization or solve a challenge.
Focus on the Positive
Once you are offered an interview, remember to focus heavily on what you do well, providing concrete examples of your past successes. Explain how your previous experience applies to and will benefit the university. If there are gaps in your employment be prepared to explain why and what you did in the interim.
If you have never been to the campus before, map out the route. Take a test drive to ensure there will be no problems – lane closures, heavy traffic areas, construction – when you go to the interview. On interview day, be early and allow time to pick up your visitors pass. Come five to ten minutes early to calm your nerves, use the restroom, make sure your outfit is just right. Look professional by being on time for the interview.
Be Virtually Ready, Too
Likewise, you should take that same mentality to a virtual interview. Login early. Make sure the camera frames you well. Make sure the camera works! Do a sound check. Seclude yourself from outside distractions. (Turn off the TV and put your phone on silent.) Give yourself the ability to focus and let the true you come through in the interview.
Do whatever you can to stay relaxed and engaged during the interview. Use a deep breathing technique to calm your nerves. Minimize opportunities for distraction by turning your phone off and putting it away. Show you’re prepared by having printed copies of your resume at hand just in case the hiring manager forgot to print one out. Keep one for note-taking. Maintain eye contact. Use active listening. Listen to each question carefully so you answer what was asked and not what you anticipate.
Interview the Interviewer!
The hiring manager will give you time to ask questions. In addition to asking questions about the position, their management style and the University as a whole, use this opportunity to learn how the interview went and if there are opportunities to better explain your qualifications. Do not be afraid to say something like, “I am really excited about this position. How do you feel my skills and qualifications meet your criteria? Is there anything that I can add or clarify to help you make a decision?” Remember: You’re also interviewing Post!
It’s common knowledge that sending a thank you note is a smart job-search technique, yet many people fail to take this important step. In the note, reference something the two of you discussed, and briefly mention the most valuable skills you will bring to the position. Send the note within 24 hours, and make sure it is error-free. It’s also a good idea to send a thank you note to the Associate Experience Team.
One Last Thing …
At Post University, “fit” is just as critical as skills. Come to the interview prepared to discuss how your “soft” skills compliment your “hard” skills. How well do you communicate, collaborate, and handle conflict? How can you demonstrate that you are customer-service focused, innovative and/or a strong leader? Are you more a ‘big picture’ or a ‘detail’ person and how will those qualities help you make an immediate impact within the university? Set yourself apart from other candidates with similar skill sets by showing how you will have a positive influence on our culture.