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8 Tips to Nail a Job Interview

When I was working as a Leisure Services Supervisor, we interviewed over 200 candidates to fill 150 counselor positions each summer.  It was a difficult job because we only had a 20-30 minute meeting with each candidate to decide whether or not they would be right for the position.  Because most candidates’ education, experience and activities were so similar, performance in the interview was often the deciding factor for whether or not they were selected.  Because interviewing skills can be critical in getting the job, I want to share with you 8 Tips to Nail the Job Interview from my perspective as a supervisor.

  1. Apply Early!  For example, for summer jobs, most park districts begin recruiting staff in December and start interviews in January. Many times we had outstanding candidates apply in June, but could not offer them a position because we already had filled all of the positions by May.
  2. Come Prepared. Before your interview, spend some time thinking about why you’re      qualified and why you’re interested in the position.  Have a friend or parent practice possible interview questions with you.
  3. Research the position ahead of time.  So many candidates had no idea what the position they were interviewing for actually entailed.  Talk with others who used to work there or research the program online ahead of time.  This will help you know if you really want to work there and show the search committee that you’re excited about the position.
  4. Dress Appropriately.  Wear formal clothes to the interview and leave your jeans and cut off shorts at home.  By dressing well, you will feel more confident during the interview and will leave a better impression on the search committee.
  5. Take a deep breath.  Being interviewed can be a nerve wracking experience. Taking a moment to breath can calm you and ease anxiety and gives you a moment to remember – “You can do it”.
  6. Don’t Chew Gum during the Interview.  It seems like common sense, and yet so many people chomped away on their gum throughout their entire interview.
  7. Smile!  Show enthusiasm for the position you’re applying for.  A smile and positive body language can go a long way.  Candidates who sat slouched over in the chair with their arms crossed looking sullen were rarely chosen.  If someone looked that angry in their interview, it is hard to imagine how they would look after the first week of work.
  8. Write a thank you note.  Immediately after the interview (as soon as you get home), send the search committee a “thank you” email.  Express how you’re grateful for their time and the opportunity for the interview.  You may also consider sending a handwritten thank you note.  This shows your interest in the position and sets you apart from other candidates.

 


About Dina Izenstark

Dina Izenstark is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) and a Doctoral student in the Department of Human and Community Development at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at UIUC.  Prior to returning to graduate school, she worked as a Leisure Services Supervisor at a park district in the Chicago suburbs.  In this position, she gained valuable experience hiring, supervising and leading a team of adolescents and young adult staff.  Today, Dina’s primary research interests are exploring how adolescents develop in leisure activity contexts as well as examining how families’ utilization of natural environments impacts their health and well-being.


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