Applying for a new job is a very isolating experience. You turn in your resumé then wait for a yes or no answer. If you are lucky enough to get an interview, you again put forth your best effort, but then really only ever get a yes or a no in regards to your performance.
If you get the job, you most likely don’t dwell too long on your performance on the resumé and interview. However, if you don’t get the job you are often left with an unsatisfied curiosity about what you need to do better next time.
This week in MAET Overseas we had an opportunity to draw back the curtain on the interview process. Three of our brave classmates volunteered to be interviewed in front of us all. Talk about pressure!
Some great thoughts and discussions came out of this. One of the things that struck me was how you would handle it if the person you are replacing is on the interview panel? When I heard that comment made during the interview I found myself wondering why the person would be leaving. Getting to process these thoughts while watching the mock interview was very valuable, because had it happened to me in an actual interview, it would have distracted me and completely tripped me up. Now I know that if this happens in the future I should look to that person as someone who has insight into the job. I will ask him/her to tell me about a project they are very proud of, letting them know I would like to continue the positive work they have started.
Dr. Cary Roseth, visiting from MSU, brought up a very intriguing point. He mentioned that the interview process itself is very inauthentic. Most people consider that the person going in to interview is going to be nervous and somewhat ill at ease. However, Dr. Roseth pointed out that it’s not just the interviewee, but the interviewers who need to be set at ease as well. He suggested that the interviewee could do themselves a big favor if they work to make the interview panel more comfortable as well, (C. Roseth, personal communication, July 17, 2015). I had never thought of it from this angle before. I know it is something I will take with me into any future interviews.
As I watched and thought about this process a question arose for me. If the interview process is so inauthentic, why do we still give it so much power in the hiring process? As I prepared for my last interview I found myself feeling that the 20 minute exchange I was going to have would hardly be enough time to really showcase the things I believed I could bring to the position. I know many schools are now asking candidates to come back for a second interview, which includes them teaching a demo lesson, sometimes even with students from the school. That would seem to garner a lot more genuine idea of how someone will perform once they get into the classroom. However, it would also take a lot more time.
While it may not be the best system, it is what we are stuck with for now. I am very glad to have had the opportunity to watch and discuss these mock interviews. It will be very helpful the next time I am in on the interview process, no matter which side of the table I happen to be on.
Unknown. (2014) Clinical Interview [clipart]. Retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clinical_interview.PNG