The second wave of Philly EMP’s Hire Learning initiative capped off with a round table discussion at Chemical Heritage Foundation yesterday evening. After briefly recapping the informational interview process from this past fall, the discussion moved into the nuts and bolts of interview preparation.
Longtime HR manager Brian Jacobs stressed the importance of preparation. Jacobs suggested finding a colleague who has experience with interviews go through a mock interview with you in the days leading up to your actual interview. Beth Van Why, Director of Exhibit Operations at the National Constitution Center, recommended asking what the format of the interview will be so you know what type of situation you will be walking in to. It was also advised that an interviewee visit the institution they are applying to prior to an interview to compliment any research you do on the organization.
As far as the interview itself, the obvious points of how to dress (suit), when to arrive (about 10 minutes early), and such were covered. Beyond that, it was agreed upon that a candidate should appear comfortable and confident in the interview. How you carry yourself in that setting will help the interviewer determine if you’re the type of person they want to interact with on a daily basis.
At the end of most interviews, an interviewer will ask the candidate if they have any questions. Many interviewees freeze up or ask the wrong question (such as “how much will I get paid?”). Several suggestions were given for thoughtful questions to pose in your interview, such as:
- What will my first day be like?
- What can I expect my day to day to be?
- What is the office culture like?
Both Jacobs and Van Why agreed that it is important to bring a list of references to the interview. Prior to the interview, you should speak with each of your references about the position and why you are interested. This will allow them to speak to your strengths in the areas needed for the job. It was also suggested that you list your relationship to each reference to give your interviewer perspective.
The evening proved to be full of valuable advice for job-seekers in the museum field. If you have any questions about Hire Learning, or if you would like to learn more about Philly EMP’s networking opportunities, feel free to contact us at phillyemp[at]gmail.com.