from the desk of... candidate 1

First On-Campus Interview…Expect the Unexpected

Last week I had my first on-campus interview for a Residence Director position. It was mind blowing. I was sent my schedule a few days before and found that there were 4 interview time blocks set aside for different groups to meet with me. My day was jammed pack, each hour chock full of conversation, new names, and tough questions.

My first meeting of the day was with the director of Residence Education. At first, I was nervous I wasn’t sure what to expect. On my schedule it said “meeting” instead of “interview” and it was only slotted for 30 minutes. To myself, I thought: “what could this meeting really be about. Was it code for interview?” Turns out that the meeting was great. The director shared with me the 30,000 foot view of the department and talked about the initiatives and the accomplishments of the department during his leadership.

After meeting with the director, I had an interview with the Assistant Directors of the department. There were five of them. This interview was FUN. They asked great questions and they seemed really engaged. On several occasions they asked questions that were not on their question sheet, but rather questions that were related to the pieces of information I was sharing with them. We even managed to laugh together during our hour.

Next up was one my one-hour interview with some of the current Residence Directors. This interview was AWKWARD. They didn’t seem like they were on the same page, and they didn’t seem like they wanted to be there. The group asked questions in a round robin style, one person to the next. Most questions seemed relevant and I was able to answer them confidently. At the end I was given time to ask questions. One of my first questions was: “What’s the community like among the Residence Directors?” In response, one person smirked, and a second replied with a question, asking me what I meant. For me, this was not a good sign. I really didn’t think the question required much explanation.

My day included two more interviews. One with campus partners and another with current Resident Advisors. Both of which went well. By time the day ended, I was pooped and very ready to return home. Going in, I thought this on-campus interview was going to SUPERCOOL. I anticipated that the school would rise to the top of my choices for a job. Not so much. Being on-campus, meeting with people, and walking around really gave me a different perspective. Needless to say, I now think of the on-campus interview as a fresh start for any institution. I think you should think of it that way too.

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