Something to Think about
Over the past few months, we have been interviewing candidates for the staff position of Membership Coordinator. We’re in the final stages of the selection process and I’m happy to report that our new membership coordinator, Emily Ragland, will join the ICHRIE staff this month.
We had a number of candidates apply for the position and as with any selection process, there were both positive and negative impressions left by the candidates. With graduation around the corner and students preparing to enter the workforce, I thought I’d share some of the things that were impressive—and some that were not—during our selection process.
Almost every candidate who applied for the position met the qualifications outlined in the job advertisement. Of the two who didn’t qualify, one tried to “slant” the resume to “fit” the skills/background we were seeking, and the other I can only assume either didn’t read or ignored the job responsibilities because he was a rocket scientist (I promised myself I wouldn’t make a joke here).
Each qualified candidate was contacted via email to schedule an initial telephone interview. These telephone interviews led to a face-to-face interview if the candidate wasn’t “eliminated” from the selection process. Candidates who couldn’t effectively answer even the most basic of interview questions or those who answered inappropriately were eliminated. Candidates who gave appropriate responses to questions and who left a positive impression were invited to Richmond for a face-to-face interview. After narrowing the field of candidates down to the top three, the process then became a time of reflection to determine who would work well with current staff, how well would they interact with ICHRIE members and volunteer leadership, and what level of enthusiasm and energy the candidate would bring to the job.
It may seem obvious, but when applying for a job, it’s a real turnoff when a candidate: (1) doesn’t include a cover letter; (2) doesn’t provide appropriate references; (3) has an email address that was obviously considered “hip/cute/rockin’” in college; (4) tries to ignore or skip over questions related to skills they might not possess or have a competency in; (5) is overly confident that they are the PERFECT person for the job without anything (in words or writing) to back that up; (6) has few or no ideas to offer; (7) has body odor issues; (8) dresses inappropriately; (9) doesn’t communicate well verbally or in writing; and (10) is a poor listener.
It’s absolutely exciting when you are interacting with a candidate who: (1) has obviously spent some time researching the company; (2) communicates well and appropriately both verbally and in writing; (3) has done an honest self-assessment of how well their skills, talents, and abilities match those being advertised; (4) can provide solid examples of their accomplishments; (5) shows enthusiasm and energy; (6) honestly answers all questions being asked; (7) understands both the possibilities and the limitations of the job being discussed; (8) has a realistic expectation for salary and benefits; (9) doesn’t try to “bluff” their way through; and (10) makes you want to know more about them.
Candidates who were prepared, who had done their research, and who understood the importance of both verbal and nonverbal communication had a clear advantage over those who may have met all of the qualifications on paper, but who didn’t demonstrate that extra effort that takes so little time, but means a great deal during the interview process. Just something for you and/or your students to think about the next time you put your hat in the ring for a professional opportunity.