Interviewing for Academic & Non-Academic Careers
The Question behind the Question or What is the Interviewer Really Looking For?
The interviewer wants to know four things:
- What does the candidate want?
- Can the person do the job?
- Will the person do the job?
- Will the person be compatible with the existing team/staff?
Preparation for the Interview
- Research the institution/organization
- Investigate the trends in the field as well as the job market cycle
- Understand the position requirements and salary range
- Conduct a self-assessment to be able to talk about yourself (strengths/weaknesses/skills, fit with the organization), why you want the job, and your long-term career goals
- Practice a 'mock interview' either online, with a career counselor, friend or colleague.
Types of Academic Interviews
The conference interview is a short half-hour to hour-long screening which serves as a central job clearinghouse for a field.
The phone interview is not an impromptu call, but a conversation scheduled in advance much like a face-to-face interview. Departments do a first round of telephone interviews before choosing the candidates they want to invite for campus visits.
An all day campus interview allows the department to invite three to five candidates for a campus visit. The search committee tries to assess such intangibles as 'potential,' 'fit,' and 'tenurability.'
Types of Non-Academic Interviews
The phone interview is an initial employment screening technique. Because they are generally brief, phone interviews save companies time. They also serve as a more realistic screening alternative when the organization is considering out-of-state or foreign candidates.
The behavioral interview is based on looking at specific competencies needed for the position then asking questions to determine if candidates have similar skills. In order to prepare for a behavioral interview, research the field and be prepared to discuss scenarios in which you have used these skills.
The case interview is typically done in the consulting field. The interviewer(s) will give you a 'case' and ask you to problem solve on the spot. They are looking for the method in which you go about solving the problem.