Sitting On The Other Side Of The Table

You may have noticed that at some point during the spring semester, I stopped updating so frequently. Heck, even for the bit of summer we’ve had so far, my updates have been rather…sporadic. Author, I thought your job barely required a pulse in the summer! You’ve let me down! Well, for starters, my job requires more than just a pulse for the summer months…PDFM U is NOT one of those ten month gigs. Also, since I’m not brand new here, I’ve taken on some pretty large projects and the time to get serious on them is NOW while the students aren’t here. But most importantly, we’ve had some vacancies in the department the past few months, so I’ve been picking up additional responsibilities.

Due to these vacancies, I’ve gotten to see the other side of the process that I went through just last year. While I was excited for new co-workers, the process was not as fun as I had thought it would be. It was also rather lengthy, so now I realize why it took schools so long to get back to me!

The first thing that happens is that a job description has to be created. We were lucky in that these positions have existed here for quite awhile, so the approval process wasn’t that long. If it had been a new position or if we had made major changes, the description (and position itself) would have needed to go through a longer approval process. Part of that is making sure that we have the money for the position. Your position actually costs the institution more than just your salary – you’ve got benefits too – health insurance, retirement, and at PDFM U, we get a meal plan. (I wish everything I just said made me feel better about how little we get paid in Student Affairs…but…it doesn’t.)

The job description then gets posted. It has to be open for X amount of days. On many sites, you will be told to apply by a certain date. When I was job searching, I missed this deadline by HOURS and they would not accept it. Ouch. I believe our postings were up for two months. And here’s the thing, during the time we really don’t look through the materials. So, if you’ve submitted your stuff the day after a posting went up, you might not hear anything other than the standard “we’ve received your materials” email for WEEKS.

After the position had been up for awhile, we had to figure out who was going to help with interviews. We knew we were going to have phone interviews and on campus interviews and wanted to make sure that the departments we worked closely with also had a say in who we were going to hire. After coming up with this extensive list AND figuring out who was going to be a apart of which interviews, we had to find a time that we were all free. As I mentioned before, the past month or so has been very busy, so you could imagine we had a difficult time getting everybody together. Finally, we nailed down some dates and times to pick who we were going to do phone interviews with, when we were going to do phone interviews, and when we were going to do on campus interviews.

In my office, we each reviewed resumes on our own. There were a LOT of them. Some people were overqualified (one person had been a director of his department for FIFTEEN YEARS). Others were under-qualified (including one person who had just finished his first year of college). The hard part is, with the amount of resumes we had, it was impossible to read every single word on every single one. This is why everybody stresses that your resume needs to be good! It’s so important to go through the job description and see what points you should speak to. If we say that a major part of the job description is Z and you don’t mention Z at all, your resume is going to get shoved in the “Do Not Call” pile. Another note on resumes – at first glance it should be visually appealing. I’m not saying you need to be a design major, but simple layout choices can make a resume MUCH easier to read.

Next came the phone interviews…this was my least favorite thing about interviewing for jobs and I definitely did not like being on the other side of it. Seriously, NOBODY likes phone interviews, but with people from all over the country applying for jobs, it’s necessary. Some tips if you are the interviewee? Write down everybody’s name! We were really impressed with the people who remembered our names. Also, if you are using a cell phone, make sure you are in an area that has good service!!

It took us awhile to get to the on campus phase. A lot of the people that were supposed to take part in on campus interviews had vacations planned. I was super excited for on campus interviews!! It is much easier to get a feel for someone in person than over the phone. What are some things that you should expect? You will have multiple interviews that day, some with small groups, others one-on-one. For example, your future co-workers might interview you has a group, but your future supervisor might interview you one-on-one. You will most likely be given a tour of campus. If you are applying for a live-on position, you SHOULD be shown an apartment, however, it might not be the apartment you wind up being assigned to! Some parts of the day will be much more casual than other parts. Everybody tends to freak out about on campus interviews, but I don’t think they’re that bad. Be warned – it is a LONG day.

After we finished all the on campus interviews, we had to meet again as a group to decide who we wanted to hire. By this time, it was nearly three weeks since our first candidate had come to campus! When we made our decisions, I was definitely excited – only to find out that we still had to do background checks and reference checks and notify the person and give them X days to respond. And then they still wouldn’t be here! If someone is currently in another position, they have to give notice first!

While the process was not as fun as I was hoping it would be, I am super excited for the new people to get here in August…if only they could come sooner! Also, seeing the process from the other side gave me a good understanding of WHY things took so long. So, lovely readers, if you are job searching and wondering why you still haven’t heard back, there’s a good chance that somebody who is supposed to be interviewing you decided to go to Cabo instead. But seriously. You’re not the only person being considered and it does take time to sort through all of the information we receive. Hang in there!

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One thought on “Sitting On The Other Side Of The Table

  1. twyf says:

    I think I’m stuck right now in that figuring out who is on the committee/finding common days for interviews phase. The job was posted at the beginning of May, taking apps up until May 22nd, and a couple of weeks ago, a friend I know who works there told me that they had *just* emailed a bunch of people to see if they could be on the search committee. The waiting game is so hard!

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