Preparation, Confidence, and Persistence: A Formula for Interview Success

Are you struggling with the interview process?  Feeling nervous and unprepared?  Katherine is a PhD in Psychology – Educational Psychology student who was targeting higher ed positions that could provide career advancement opportunities.  Despite prior experiences as a K-12 teacher and adjunct instructor, she did not receive any offers.  As her frustration increased, she decided to schedule an appointment with Career Services.  We met for several appointments.  Katherine learned new job search and interviewing strategies, which she then applied to land a 2-year, full-time position at a community college where she will be teaching pre-service courses to future teachers. 

Here are the proactive steps Katherine took to land her position:

Before the Interview
Katherine prepared for her interview by researching the college’s mission, culture, departments, and programs.  Based on her research, she developed tentative questions she could ask her interviewers.  She created a strong introduction and stories to demonstrate how her experience and qualifications met the college’s needs.  Due to her diligent research and preparation, Katherine was able to engage in an honest, meaningful conversation with her panelists and articulate her commitment to the future of their organization. 

During the Interview
Katherine used positive self-talk and envisioned herself in her future role, helping to increase her confidence level.  She told herself, “I do have the credentials; I deserve to be here.”  She educated her panel on what she had to offer and shared her commitment to students.  She explained why she chose to pursue her doctorate at Walden and connected Walden’s social change mission to her potential employer’s mission, emphasizing that they are both working toward a common purpose.

After the Interview
Katherine was told that a decision would be made by the end of the week and followed up with thank you cards to her panel members after the interview.  The week passed and she did not receive a call back.  Katherine could have given up at this point; instead, she decided to take a proactive approach.  The following Monday, she left a message for the President and Provost.  After not receiving a response, she called back and left a second message expressing her interest and reminding them of her qualifications.  This time she received a phone call back.  She was told that an internal candidate was selected for the position she originally interviewed for based on his years of service and track record; however, his old position was now open and they wanted to hire her!   Katherine’s persistence led to an opportunity she never expected!

As Katherine begins her new role and advances in her doctoral program, she continues to build her brand as an educator, academic, and advocate for social change.  She encourages other students to utilize Walden Career Services for support in meeting their career goals.  We wish Katherine much success on her new career path!

Written by Career Services Advisor Dina Bergren