Today I had an interview for a Graduate Student Worker position at University of Maryland, Baltimore County at the Universities at Shady Grove. This position is to aid UMBC’s Shriver Center and extend its services to this satellite campus which include resume and cover letter reviews, tracking student internships and practicums, and conducting mock interviews for interested students.
I have to chuckle to myself about this experience because I interviewed to have a job interviewing people–ironic. But all in all, I think the interview went well. They say that you should “dress to impress” and to show up about 10-15 minutes early to make a good first impression. I wore a black polo tucked into grey slacks secured with a black belt and black shoes to complete the ensemble. I arrived 15 minutes early at the office door of where I was meeting the Assistant Director with coffee and notes in hand. He told me to wait outside of his office and that we would begin at our set appointment time, 1:30pm.
He first asked me if I had any questions for him before we began the interview. I had written out a list of questions beforehand, but I wasn’t ready to ask them right off the bat. I let him know that I had prepared some questions and would ask him after his questions for me. I felt like since he was conducting the interview I would let him lead the meeting. He had a list of questions in front of him that he went through and I answered them as best as I could. Looking back now I don’t remember exactly what I said, however, I did so with tamed energy, non-monotoned inflections, and moderate use of hand motions (talking with my hands). Walking into this interview I realize that everything you do, verbal or non-verbal, is picked up by the interviewer and will be noted and taken into consideration in his evaluation.
The hardest question I was asked went along the lines of this: “If I were to select a panel of 5 people you know, friends or family, or someone that knows you, what would they say is toughest challenge for you to overcome?” To be honest, I hate these kinds of questions because I never know what to say! This question is like asking what are you biggest weaknesses? I know my strengths and weaknesses, but when it comes to actually saying it I get a little nervous. In response, I said that I can ask a lot of questions to the point of annoyance, and something else that I don’t remember.
So if I were to go back to and start this interview all over again I would change just two things. I would have prepared for that very question about the challenges of myself, and I would have asked him more questions about him and his role at the Professional Studies department. I feel like I should have asked him questions like “How long have you been with this department?; What did you do to acquire your position as Assistant Director?; and What other roles do you play here at the Universities @ Shady Grove?” But I didn’t. I know it’s not too late and I could email him with these questions, except I won’t. I will leave it how it was and will just reply with a follow-up thank you email for taking the time to meet with me.
In conclusion, I think that I was well prepared for this interview and I am happy about how it went. I encourage all you out there reading this to learn from my experience today and to strive for the perfect interview to land your next job. We take these skills everywhere we go–it’s all about how we apply them. Good luck to you all!