by Lisa Huntsha, Head Editor, INALJ Sweden
My On-Campus Interview: Lessons Learned
After reading R.C. Miessler’s post regarding on-campus interviewing, I thought it might be worthwhile to share my experience. A little over a year ago I interviewed for, and landed, a position on a college campus. My interview lasted 2 full days, I met with 9 individuals, and gave a group presentation. It was exhausting, but here are some tips that helped me through it.
1) This point has been made countless times, but come with questions for everyone you meet. Do your research on the organization and the individuals you will be meeting (especially if you have an itinerary beforehand. If not: ask for one!). Asking questions helps create a dialogue and takes some of the pressure off of you for a minute. Use this to your advantage.
2) If you are offered a break, take it. Even if it is just a two minute restroom break it will give you ample time to collect your thoughts, straighten your shirt, and check your teeth for food. If you do this, even if you don’t need to, you won’t be worrying about those things when you should be focusing on being engaged and answering questions.
3) If you are asked to give a presentation, prepare for it like you would the final of an important class. Practice in front of you peers. Make sure your information is well researched and relevant. Know your audience. Ask ahead of time who the audience will be for your presentation. This way, you’ll know if you will be talking to other information professionals or not. Knowing your audience will ensure that you don’t use too much jargon or, conversely, talk down to the group.
4) Send follow-up letters to the individuals you speak with during your interview. Even if it is just a few lines thanking them for meeting with you and reiterating a point you made during your conversation. This ensures that you are still on their radar and shows you know how to be polite. Personally, I sent emails so that individuals would get them quicker and it could lead to a dialogue, but feel free to send handwritten notes instead (who doesn’t like “real” mail?).
And, in response to R.C. Miessler’s post:
If you get there and you can tell that the organization/position will not be a good fit, I would suggest that you see the interview through. Some things may surprise you about an organization that weren’t evident in your first impression. And, at the very least, consider the opportunity useful interview experience.