How to Close a Student Affairs Interview
How to Close a Student Affairs Interview
Many student affairs professionals prepare for setting up and succeeding at the interview. But not many spend time actually preparing to close out an interview.
So, I am often asked “What do I do at the end?”
The answer to how you “close out a student affairs interview” is not a simple one. Because what you do specifically in your situation depends on how the interview went, the institution you are interviewing with, and the individuals you spoke to.
But one thing to keep in mind is this: all job interviews are sales pitches. Instead of selling a car, or a bike, or a house: you are selling yourself.
However, I want to calm your fears about having to get out there and sounding all “salesy.” There is absolutely a way for you to communicate your desire to land this job in a way that makes you and the interviewer feel great.
Here are some ways that I’ve closed out interviews that have helped me land the position.
Comment on the culture
On-campus you’ll have many opportunities to learn about the campus culture and the backgrounds of the student affairs professionals working there. Now it’s time to make it known at the end of your interview your enthusiasm for becoming part of that culture.
Be honest at this stage. You want to communicate to them why you’re a good fit for this role.
Here’s an example of a response that connects the institution’s culture with your own:
“I’m excited to see so many administrators at the homecoming football game. Supporting the home team was such a big part of my student experience. I’m excited for the opportunity to support the same experience here.”
Providing more information
Closing out your interview is also a good time to ask if the hiring manager or search committee needs to know anything else about you. Take this as an opportunity to re-align your skills and your experiences with what they need from a professional in this role.
Here’s a sample of something that you could say that connects your knowledge, background, skills, and abilities with what they need in the position:
“I see that this resident director role carries a large part of the programming responsibilities. Let me provide you a link to my online portfolio which includes some of my programs that would be a good fit here.”
Where do we go from here?
All institutions are going to have different timelines. No two searches are the same. One college might take two weeks to get back to you. While a major state school could take a few months.
If you don’t ask what the search committee’s timeline is, you won’t know whether or not to expect to hear back from them by the end of week or month.
This can affect you in multiple ways. Not knowing always leaves you in a sense of limbo. You are also hampered from planning your future interview schedule if an offer is coming. You may invest time, money, and effort into other interviews not knowing that your search is coming to a close.
Here’s something I’ve said at the end of many interviews that have helped me plan my schedule going forward:
“I’ve greatly enjoyed getting to know all of you today. I only have one last thing to ask: what are your next steps in your search process? Where do we go from here?”
Interviews are two-way streets. They are conversations. They just happen to be persuasive conversations where you are trying to convince people why you are the best person for this job.
With that in mind you want to avoid being entitled. You are entitled to speaking with the hiring manager if invited for an interview. But you are never entitled to a job you are applying for.
You want to follow up on a regularly basis according to the timeline that the search committee has outlined. But you don’t need to send a follow up email every day after the interview. That is both unprofessional and obnoxious.
If you need some additional tips with your search then check out the free eBook Getting Started in your Student Affairs Job Search available here.
Luckwaldt, J. H. (2019, February 02). Learn the Best Way to Ask for the Job. Retrieved April 15, 2019, from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/best-ways-to-ask-for-a-job-at-an-interview-4153024