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Interviewing - What I Have Learned

Interviewing - What I Have Learned

by Lee Bennett
June 17, 2016

I would like to begin by sending my heartfelt sympathies and condolences to all of those impacted by the three tragic events in Orlando, Florida – the shooting of the singer while signing autographs, The Pulse night club, and the two-year old that was taken away by an alligator. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends.

Recently, I participated in my second interview. The first interview was a phone interview. I thought I did rather well and was disappointed to learn I was not offered a position. I give credit to the panel for making the process rather easy and comfortable. For my first interview with an higher education facility, I was most impressed and ended the process on a favorable note.

I went into the second interview with a good attitude. In her book, Dr. Babb discusses the importance of researching the school in which you are interviewing with. I found that advice rather important and did, in fact, research the school. I was impressed with their information, mission, and core values. I must admit I was a bit anxious as this was my first face-to-face interview. To their credit, they were welcoming and friendly. However, I became just as disappointed in the panel.

I was asked a question where I responded with a factual, yet unfavorable, answer. A member of the panel asked my thoughts of a particular organization. I responded with a factual, yet unfavorable, answer. One of the members of the panels asked a follow-up question for further explanation, which I thought was acceptable. Here is what I felt was unacceptable is the fact that three of the five panel members were either on their Iphone or their Ipads (tablets) throughout the majority of the interview.

It was clear shortly after the interview began, they were not extremely interested in my answers/thoughts. I felt it was extremely inappropriate and unprofessional for the interview panel to be so involved in the electronics rather than the interview. On the three-hour drive returning from the interview, this weighed heavy on my mind. Is this something that is now the normal? Should I expect future interview panel members answering emails, texting, etc., during the interview? What could I have or should I have done to overcome this distraction? What value should I place on this on the school as a whole? These issues have now become learning curves and an experience for future opportunities.

Something else occurred that caught me off guard. I applied for an associate professor position. At the beginning of the interview, I was essentially informed that I would be the department head. I was not prepared for this turn on responsibilities. I feel that this is one area I failed. I was not able to quickly react and alter to the change presented. That is another lesson learned for future opportunities. It also has forced me to increase my preparedness for the interview as things can change between application submission and the actual interview.

I am not humbled and honored that I have been able to interview with two different higher education organizations. I do wish, and pray, the number of interviews to increase. This higher education profession, as I am sure with many others, is highly competitive, especially for one with little or no experience. Every one is a learning opportunity and I certainly take something away from them. Keeping the nose to the grind stone and patience is something that is challenging each and every day. And yes, there are times when I have stopped and thought about ending my desire to become a professor. Yet, I keep moving and applying because this is and has been a deep seeded passion of mine. On that note, I will end with wishing all of the male counterparts a very happy and safe Fathers Day!!