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Ten Pieces of Advice for a Job Interview

By Kim Marshall

The article: “How Not to Blow an Interview” by Robert Sternberg in The Chronicle of Higher Education, 25 October 2013 (LX 8, pp. A27-28);
In this helpful Chronicle of Higher Education article, Robert Sternberg (University of Wyoming) offers suggestions for those about go before a hiring committee:
• Ask in advance if there are concerns about your record. Most interviewers have one or more questions about your credentials or suitability for the job, and it is wise to find out about them before the interview.
• Scope out the hot-button issues on the campus before your interview. “Why? Because someone on the campus is likely to ask you a question about such an issue,” says Mr. Sternberg, “and a wrong answer will get your name crossed off the shortlist for the job.”
• Do not say that an idea will work just because it did for you back home. Most interviewers will be skeptical, and the more creative the idea, the more skeptical they will be.
• Do not try to solve the institution’s problems in the interview. You may be asked a question that invites you to try, but it’s unwise to be drawn into macro solutions when you don’t know the full context. You might suggest possible pathways to a solution and talk about the need for effective teamwork, but avoid a comprehensive answer.
• Assume that anything you say in the interview could end up in the local news or somewhere on the Web. You are under pressure during the interview and may be tempted to share a confidence. “Do not,” advises Mr. Sternberg, even if someone promises to keep it secret. “For one thing, that person’s first loyalty is likely to be to the institution, not to you. For another thing, you have little way of knowing whether he or she can keep a confidence.”
• Never lie about anything, no matter how small. “A lie may help you get the job, but when you are found out, it will very likely lead to your dismissal,” says Mr. Sternberg. “If you have something unpleasant in your record, bring it up yourself during the interview and be prepared to discuss it. Go ahead and put it in the best possible light, but do not lie.”
• Try to understand how you might fit into the institution’s vision of its future. Where is the school trying to go? “Do not waste time offering alternative visions,” says Mr. Sternberg.
• Know what the institution is proud of and ashamed of. Do not talk about strengths of yours that don’t align with the school’s self-concept.
• Don’t assume you know who holds the real power. “The power structure of a hiring institution is, at best, opaque and, at worst, invisible to a job candidate,” says Mr. Sternberg. “Just assume that everyone you speak with is important.”
• Be enthusiastic. “Playing hard to get may or may not work in romantic relationships,” he concludes. “But it’s a bad strategy in job interviews… Hiring institutions want to hire someone who wants the job, likes the place, and is going to stick around – and willingly so.”
Summary reprinted from Marshall Memo 508, 28 October 2013.
Mr. Marshall is the author of The Marshall Memo, a weekly online newsletter summarizing the best ideas and research from 44 education publications.

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01/14/2014 - Akram
Thanks for sharing .. Really valuable points to consider.