By Laura Stein, DC/SLA Career Development Committee
I had the pleasure of meeting Susan Antos at Speed Networking Happy Hour hosted by the DC/SLA Career Development Committee in April of 2014 at the Mad Hatter. It was then that she approached me about her experience in human resources and conducting interview workshops and her interest in being a part of the Career Development Committee.
On February 27, Lila Faulkner and the Career Development Committee hosted “Strengthening Your Interview Skills”, presented by Susan Antos. Roughly 20 information professionals gathered on a Saturday morning at Drexel University’s Washington office to get tips and practice for mastering the interview process, which often presents daunting and nuanced challenges, even for experienced job seekers (Skype interviews, anyone?).
After practicing introductions and handshakes, participants broke out into smaller groups to practice tackling the staple interview question: “Tell me about yourself.” Susan prepared a presentation chock full of tips for each phase of the process, from doing your homework on the company beforehand, presenting yourself for the interview, and following up afterwards.
A main takeaway was making the interview about the job’s needs, not about you. It may sound harsh, but the interviewer is more concerned about filling that position with the right person, rather than your accomplishments (as awesome as they are).
Susan also emphasized taking advantage of the period where the interviewer asks if you have any questions. Often candidates don’t take advantage of this, but it’s a crucial time for determining if that job is right for you (hint: don’t ask about salary and benefits until the offer is made).
If you get stuck, some great questions that came about were:
- If it was down to two candidates for the job, what would be the deciding factor on choosing one over the other?
- How will the duties and expectations of this grow over time?
- What are the next steps and when can I expect to hear back?
At the workshop, participants certainly had the courage to ask Susan many questions. Perhaps it was the coffee and pastries, or that the job searching process was at the forefront of our minds, but people were not shy about sharing their experiences and insights.
We are very thankful Susan took the time early on a Saturday to offer this valuable program. She has been an asset to the Career Development Committee and to SLA. We would also like to thank Drexel for allowing us use of their space and showing us the spectacular view from their roof. Finally, I would like to thank Lila and the Programming Committee for arranging this event.
We hope that we can host this event again sometime in the future. Those who attended definitely felt renewed and stronger in their job search.