WELA Interviewing Guidelines

Developed November 2001 by Barbara Kerr & Kae Hutchison

  1. Keep your audience in mind (the initial screener, and then the hiring committee, which may consist of individuals from all constituencies at the college—all of whom want to know how you would interact with them). A corollary to this is "do your homework," so that you can use the language (department names, titles, programs, major values, etc.) of the college to which you are applying.
  2. Demonstrate your answer with specifics whenever possible. (Have you participated on a committee to increase retention or enhance cultural diversity among staff? What plans did you create? How did you implement those plans? What was the outcome?)
  3. Do not refer the reader to your resume or curriculum vita (and don’t worry about repeating information that is already spelled out in your resume or vita).
  4. Employ your best writing skills (topic sentences and specific supports for major concepts; good grammar and correct spelling; varied sentence length; good transitions, and ultimate clarity.)
  5. Avoid the "red flags" — especially criticizing other institutions or personnel, complaining about a particular constituency and their troublesome ways.
  6. Accentuate your strengths. Demonstrate how your experiences and learning make you the "best fit" candidate for the position (which you have read and analyzed carefully).
  7. Be complete. Answer each question as completely as you can—as if some rater is giving you points for each one.
  8. Presentation counts. Use paragraphs of readable length, for example.
  9. Make it easy for your readers. Answer the questions in the order listed in the announcement. You may want to use titles or to bold the words if you prefer a more narrative look. Be sure you have covered all the topics.
  10. It helps the overall flow and tone of your application to create a separate, succinct, one-page cover letter that talks about your enthusiasm for this college and in a general way about your qualifications. Then address the position qualifications and other issues that are enumerated in the position announcement in the pages that immediately follow the cover letter.
  11. Many processes indicate a page limit—stick to it. Edit to get your responses within the limit. While doing so, remember to use a font that is readable by older adults and to include adequate white space. It will help your packet look crisp.