Post Academic

Transfer Your Skills: Interviews in the Hamster World

Posted in Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on April 13, 2010
Tags: , , , , ,

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionAfter turning your CV into a resume, you need to prepare for potential interviews. Most interview advice is universal. Preparing for an academic job interview is brutal because you have to sum up your whole grad-school career in a matter of minutes. The hamster world interview will probably seem like a breeze in comparison, but you still need to accomplish a few tasks if you want to get hired:

Write Answers for the Standard Interview Questions: All interviewers will ask some variation of the following questions:
1. What are your strengths?
2. What are your weaknesses?
3. How have you overcome a challenge at work?

Write out honest, succinct answers, and practice delivering them before you go into the interview. Be warned: The second question is tricky, as you want to choose a weakness that might actually be a strength depending on the job. Being “too much of a perfectionist” might work well if you’d like to be an editor.

More after the jump! Image of office in 1710 public domain, Wikimedia Commons.

Emphasize Teamwork: When making the move from academia to the hamster world, you’ll need to show that you can play well with others. This is not easy for academics in particular, not because academics are grouchy, but because academia is often a solitary pursuit. The hamster world requires far more collaboration, and you must prove that you are willing to put projects before individuals. If you were a member of a committee or did any team teaching, now is the time to bring it up.

Study the Company: There’s still homework in the hamster world. If you can get the names of the people who will interview you, look them up on LinkedIn or in the news. The point is not to be a stalker, but you want to know how high up they are in the company, and if you find out a bit about their background, then you’ll have a better idea of how they approach projects. Interviewers like it when you care enough to study the company, but make sure you have all your facts right, lest you embarrass yourself.

Memorize Your Strengths: Make a list of your strengths, and don’t let your interview end until you’ve referenced all of them in some way. These strengths should reflect the company’s needs. For example, if the open position involves social media marketing, then you want to mention how you’ve used Twitter or Facebook to promote your work.

Check Not only does tell you what to expect in terms of salaries, but some members will describe what their interview experience was like with a specific company.

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