Saturday, November 17, 2007
The Jedi has returned from his adventure on Endor. HA! Well.. that's what Colorado reminded me of in comparison to Las Vegas and I was ready to tackle new territory with my light saber in hand!
Given the fact that I had only gotten 4 hours of sleep and did 6 hours of talking, eating, shaking hands and trying to remember names, I think I did pretty well. The way the interviews were handled are VERY much in-line with my own style. It was just basically having a conversation with some direction. No stress about theories or mission statements, etc. You know, the things that might be asked during an on-campus interview but never really revisit once the person is hired. This was the most relaxed interview I have ever had and that was refreshing. I have to add that everyone was cool as ice!
In my experience as a seasoned student afffairs professional, I've learned that an interview isn't a contest you're trying to win to feel valued because you've been selected as the person they'd like to hire. It's about finding that fit. It's not about prepping your responses so much as it is to just being yourself. Don't get me wrong.. you can prepare for the "What do you know about our school?" type of questions - but after that.. all the answers are already in your head. No one knows you and what you do better than yourself. To link it back to being a "Jedi" - I really used The Force on Thursday. The Force being the faith in yourself; a strong level of confidence to get me through the day of sleep deprivation.
With regard to the notorious student panel interview - I had roughly 10 students around me, sitting at a table, asking great questions. I think those were probably some of the toughest questions to answer. They hit me with scenarios of issues that obviously happened in some sense or another and from what I saw, some took extensive notes. Yikes!
I left the day feeling as though I gave them a good snapshot of what I have to offer and also learned how I might be effective as a colleague at their institution. When asked about the challenges I see entering this position - I'd have to say the challenge is just "getting over yourself", taking risks and adapting to grow as a human being.
Now I sit and eagerly await the final word. Do they think I'm a good fit? I've contemplated whether I am a good fit for them since I got on the plane to return home. I can't say that there was anything that was a glaring "OOoh don't come here" moment. I also thought about my quality of life - personal and professional. How will I adapt? Would the change be good? Would I make loads of friends? Then I started thinking about life in general and something I said in the interview. In two instances I talked about encouraging students to take risks. I also mentioned how many of them took a risk at our recent retreat. We all attempted skills on the high ropes course. This experience is similar to taking the risk of moving to a new state and starting over. If offered an opportunity to work there I will need to accept the risk of the unknown and challenge myself. If I'm not offered the position I can rest on the philosophy that "everything ain't for everybody and everyone ain't for every place".
I have another on-campus interview coming up even further across the country.
I'm ready to grow.