I had an interview this week for a medical social work position and it has me thinking about the whole concept of interviewing. Funny to think that a few years ago I was the interviewer and reviewer and here I sit on the other side. It is very different!
For one, I was totally unprepared for the 5 “interrogators” (4 social workers and a nurse manager). Now I’ve been in interviews with just as many people, however, I had been forewarned. They introduced themselves and their job positions. To be honest I only remember the name of one of them and as far as that I could only tell you if they were a social worker or a nurse….I think.
The very 1st question was, so tells us about yourself. Holy cow! I’m smiling and telling them where I was born and grew up, where I went to high school and then I’m thinking to myself…where do I go next? I could talk for hours, and this is only question one and they have before me two pages worth of questions. I scurried through my time at college, a couple jobs, and then having just completed my masters. As we got through more questions I thought, I wish I might have said a little more about me…me personally because the rest of these questions address employment and my professional development. Luckily they asked about how I cope with stress so I got to throw in some of the (hopefully) more interesting things about me (I play soccer, love photography, & enjoy time with my friends).
To go back a little, I prepared for this interview by reading a great Powerpoint that the University of Southern California that was used at a webinar preparing social workers for interviews. I got myself in the zone, came well rested and as relaxed as I could be, read the mission statement one last time before I went in, and had my prepared questions for them as well as my resume and a written letter of reference.
In the end I guess the take away here is be prepared for your interview, and also be prepared to be unprepared. Part of the beauty of this, is figuring out how to do your best and hopefully still leave the interview feeling like you put your best foot forward.