The Successor Search Part 3- The Deliberation

I came in to the interview sessions thinking that I will be more than happy with any of these four finalists taking my position because I know they fill the qualifications. But, the more I thought about it, the more concerned I became. In my mind I have this image that it’s probably like passing a torch: I don’t want them to just keep it alight, but to set it ablaze to serve its purpose of being a guiding light and support to the students it serves. That might be quite dramatic imagery just for a job but I think this position has grown dear to me especially since my time is close to over.

The interviews were really interesting. I was really excited since I am very happy about the fact that we have such great candidates for our short list. I anticipated that this would greatly determine whether they make it or not. They all did well in their own right. And there comes the problem.

Here are some observations from the three members of the selection committee about interviews in general:

  • Attire: Personally, when I go to interviews, I go all the way, completely suit up. Even if this is in the university, it is still a job interview.
  • Self- promotion: The ability to work your skills and achievements into interview answers is something I haven’t really thought about before, but was definitely mentioned by both of my co-members in this selection committee. How much you focus on self-promotion, can be a way for us to see how well will you do the job.
  • The Impromptu Question Response: For the question that terrified me, none of them were fazed, but it didn’t give me much insight about them as I’d hoped.
  • Questions at the end of the interview: According to my co-member in the interview panel, asking at least one question at the end of an interview is really preferred. It shows that you are paying attention and are interested because not everything is in the job description.
  • Clear understanding about the position and our purpose- it is easy to spot who has done their research, regardless of whether they had past experience relating to the position or not. Those who do understand reflect if in their responses, particularly by connecting this job with their skills and experiences,
  • Bringing their resume as a reference: No one brought their resume in a folder to place it in the interview table for easy reference. I was told that I is actually a helpful tool both for you to see all the things that you have done that you can talk about and as a buffer while trying to answer a question.  Not all interviewers feel the same way about this though, so be careful when deciding what to bring with you.

This is my very first time being in an interview panel and I did all the things that I knew I’m supposed to do. However, when I was writing notes, jeez… Amanda seems to be writing so much more that it made me feel that I’m not paying enough attention.

The deliberation was even more difficult, particularly since the three of us in the panel agreed on our finalists, but were really conflicted about who to actually offer the position to given that all of our interviewees were excellent in unique ways. We didn’t know which person to take for the longest time. This cycle happened at least three times:

  • Everybody (mostly me) internally grumbling about how tough this decision has become
  • Silence
  •  Amanda asks a new question to consider about the applicants
  •  I  (or someone else) addresses it
  •  Silence for reflection

After that cycle repeated a couple of times this question was thrown at me.

Who do you see as the person who will carry your responsibilities?

I cringed inside. I can’t help it. That was the million-dollar question wasn’t it? But it didn’t help us pick between our excellent field! I had to do a bit of past reflection and ask myself will they be able to perform the tasks that I have done over the year? Since my position’s purpose and tasks shifted significantly my successor is not doing exactly every single thing that I did in my way and I have to consider that too. After the minutes stretched we finally came to a final choice.

I was really thrilled when I met her again during the retreat I organized during the weekend (which will be posted in another blog).

– Giselle

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