You are seeking a job in higher education, but what type of institutions are you going to target? Community colleges? Public universities? Ivy League? Perhaps you cast a broad net and begin to land some interviews. Great! However, it’s essential that you differentiate your interview prep to reflect the type of college you’re speaking with. You will discuss different aspects of your experience with a trade school versus a performing arts school. We have three questions you should ask yourself to tailor your approach to each institution.
1. How does your passion fit with their vision? It is essential that you connect your goals and values with theirs. What are the distinctives of their organizational culture? How do your specialities augment their strengths? You should demonstrate that their mission and your ambition align.
2. Do you understand their strategic goals? What initiatives are they launching? What are the approaches that will help them effectively get there? How does your experience enhance their existing methodology?
3. Who is their competition? What other institutions vie for the same students? What is their competitive advantage? How do they differentiate themselves from other colleges in their region? Understand what sets them apart and how they have adapted over time.
Just as sending a carbon-copied cover letter to all open positions is a critical mistake, so too will preparing for all interviews with a uniform approach yield the lowest common denominator of outcomes. With some intentionality and insight, each potential employer will be able to picture you in their company.