By Dr. Howard Gauthier
Interviewing for a job is much more than just showing up and selling yourself. There is a considerable amount of strategy you should use in preparing for your job interview. Below are seven strategies you will want to consider as you prepare for your interview.
Gather Information – Prior to an interview you will want to research and gather information about the organization. You will want to research the people, the position, the organization, and the industry. Having the correct information is powerful and you will want to continue to gather information during your interview. Like a consultant, you will want to try to uncover the strengths, weaknesses, and any potential issues the organization is facing. Once you have identified the issues, develop a plan that shows the committee how you can help solve their problems. Your plan should be shared during the interview as one possible solution. Then continue to ask questions and gather more information. This information will then be used during the follow-up phase in an attempt to influence the hiring decision of the search committee.
Organize Your Findings – Once you have begun to gather information, you will want to organize your findings. It would be helpful if you created a form that lists who the hiring manager is and a little bit about their background. You will also want to list the names of the members on the search committee, what their backgrounds are, and if you can make any connections with any of them (i.e. similar friends, from the same area, etc.). Finally, list pertinent information you have uncovered about the position and the institution. This could include a list of the strengths of the organization, the weaknesses of the organization, and any major issues facing the department/organization.
When To Interview – If at all possible, try to be the last candidate to interview. This gives you an advantage over the other candidates because you will have the opportunity to leave the final impression on the committee. In addition, the longer a search is drawn out, the more anxious the candidates tend to get. Quite often, this leads the other candidates to withdrawing from the search.
Visit The Interview Site – Once the interview is scheduled, if you are not completely familiar with the exact location of the interview, you should plan to drive by the location the day before your meeting. Finding the exact location would also pertain to interviewing in a hotel. Make sure to walk by the room where you will be interviewing ahead of time. The last thing you want to do is be late to the interview because you couldn’t find the interview room. Be prepared and know where you are going – this will help to reduce your anxiety.
Practice Your Answers – A large part of interviewing is being able to effectively communicate the answers to the questions that are asked by the search committee. This takes practice. You would not expect an actor in a play to be smooth with their lines if they did not practice, this holds true for an interview. You need to know which questions will most likely be asked, and you need to practice your answers to these questions. Knowing your personal sales pitch should also assist you with many of the questions you are asked.
Know The Job Description – A part of knowing which questions will be asked in an interview has to do with what the people within the institution want from the position. Review the job description and know how you meet the qualifications and the duties of the position.
Arriving At The Interview – First impressions are everything. If you are meeting a search committee member prior to the interview, such as being picked up at an airport, view this first meeting as the first stage of the interview. Dress appropriately for the situation and be prepared to make a good first impression.
Interviewing is more than just showing up and selling yourself. Be prepared and be organized. For more information on the basic fundamental skills needed for the job search process, check out my book Getting Hired in College Sports at www.SportsCareersInsitute.com.
Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University. He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach. He is also an author of 9 books. Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.sportscareersinstitute.com or his new book Execute for Success at www.execute4success.com.
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- Techniques and strategies to prepare for your interview
- How to properly prepare yourself for the five types of interview questions
- How to properly follow-up after the interview in order to influence the decision of the hiring manager
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Director of Athletics
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