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Associations Now

Nailing the Interview

ASSOCIATIONS NOW, August 2012 Community now

By: Christie Mims

Summary: Questions to ask yourself before heading into your next job interview.

You've networked successfully, you've got the new suit together, and you've had your (totally necessary) cup of coffee and (unnecessary, but definitely helpful) chocolate chip muffin. Now, it's time to walk through the organization's doors, smile broadly at the receptionist, and nail the interview like the pro that you are.

But are you really ready? To be sure, ask yourself these four questions:

Have you done your research? Obviously you looked at the organization's website to get a basic overview. But have you also looked at specific words on the site and read the mission statement? Using an organization's own language during an interview tells those interviewing you that you understand them, so they will feel like you already belong without realizing why.

Have you tapped into social media? Checking out the website is great, but have you also used LinkedIn and Facebook to track down people who currently and previously worked at the organization and talked to them about their experience? Our ability to reach people these days through social media is unparalleled, and connecting with someone who knows the association and can prep you is a great way to walk through the doors ready to impress. Plus, knowing what exactly you are walking into will give you more confidence. Who doesn't love that?

Do you know what questions to ask? Everyone who cares about their organization is going to want to work with people who also seem to care. And the best way to show that you care is to actually care. Research and come up with questions about the association that don't involve benefits or personal perks.

It's fine to ask the occasional question about professional development, but also have some more robust queries in mind. "I see that your vision is X. What do you think might change in the next five years?" or "Tell me more about the strategy behind your growth." When in doubt, ask the interviewer about his or her experience: "What do you think is the best part of this organization? What do you love most about working here?"

Are you remembering the cardinal rule? Interviewing is tiring and stressful, and when you really need a job, it can feel like life or death. However, never forget that you are interviewing the association just as much as the association is interviewing you. Yes, it's the organization's decision whether to offer you a job, but it's your decision whether to take it. (This thinking gives you healthy confidence when interviewing.) You have a lot to offer, and you will spend a lot of time at work—make sure that this association is the right fit for you.

Christie Mims, who calls herself "The Radical Fairy Godmother to the Woman Trapped in Her Suit," is a career coach who focuses on helping people find their passion in work. Website: www.therevolutionaryclub.com; email: christie@therevolutionaryclub.com

ASAE Career Headquarters www.careerhq.org

If you're looking for the next step in your association management career or looking for high-quality candidates to fill open positions at your organization, check out CareerHQ.org—the best source of association jobs and resumes. In addition to helping you find your next job—whether it's as CEO, director of technology, or membership coordinator—ASAE's career services department offers such services as executive coaching, resume writing, and more. For more information, contact Marta Hayes-Trice at mhayestrice@asaecenter.org.

Are there certain career-related topics you would like addressed in Associations Now? If so, please email your questions or topic ideas to careerhq@asaecenter.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

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