The Other Side of the Table

This weekend marked my third year participating in the experience that is called the Oshkosh Placement Exchange (OPE). The first two years I experienced OPE as a candidate, but this last weekend I was able to serve as an interviewer for my institution. The experience of being an interviewer was definitely different, but equally mentally exhausting (I am still in recovery). While I felt confident and comfortable about being there as an interviewer, at one point I realized that to a certain capacity, I am still being watched and judged as a candidate. Due to the fact that some newer professionals leave their institution between 2-4 years after starting, I realized that this is also a place for other Directors to observe newer professionals behaviors as an interviewer. I am always aware of my attitude and behavior while in those situations, but I never realized or thought about the opportunity to network while at this conference. The great thing about OPE is that most institutions attend the Minority and Friends Social. Not only is this beneficial for candidates, but newer professionals should also jump on the opportunity to network with other institutions. This is just another reminder to be consistent with whom you are personally and professionally. You never know where your next job or opportunity might come from.

Besides having this epiphany, I also wanted to leave you with some interviewing tips.

  1. Always make sure that you answer and understand the interviewer’s questions. This does not mean that you should ask them to repeat the question as much as I am recommending that you take notes and write while the question is being asked.
  2. Make sure to ask questions that are meaningful and relate back to information that you have collected about the institution. Some of the most impressive interviews are ones where the candidate has questions that allow them to talk more about their philosophy and ideas about Student Affairs, supervision, and other important topics.
  3. When you get the employees alone… Make sure to ask them questions about the staff dynamic and how they are supervised. This is a great opportunity to ask a question without the director being present.  
  4. What other tips do you have to give to those who are candidates this year? 

Katie LaSota

Student Affairs - the First Years

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