Candidate Tips for Visiting Campus

Category: Career Resources

Know What Awaits You

Be sure you know your campus interview agenda in advance of going to campus. It helps to not only know the groups with whom you will be interviewing, but also the names and job titles of individuals on the various interviewing teams. Do not be shy about asking for that information. Determine if you need to prepare a presentation and the parameters surrounding it: title, length of the presentation, if there will be a Q&A period, if a PowerPoint is expected, if the presentation is for a specific group or in an open-forum
setting, etc.

There will be a variety of logistical details that you should have detailed prior to your visit: rental car or airport pick-up, who arranges the hotel (you should always plan on putting the hotel on your credit card, even though some institutions may pre-pay for you), how you get to your interviews, will you be eating with any interview groups, where do you send receipts, etc. If you have any accommodations that need to be addressed (food allergies, building access, etc.), share them, as the school may not think to ask.

You Are ALWAYS Under the Microscope

From the moment you step off the plane until the moment you get back on it, you are being watched and assessed. How you dress, how you interact, how you present yourself formally and informally all play into how you are perceived as a professional. Unsuitable attire, an inappropriate joke, treating students differently than how you treat professional staff, making unflattering comments about your current institution, etc., are all grounds for the hiring authority or committee to call your professionalism into question.

Unplug for the Day

Leave your computer, tablet, and other major electronics in your hotel room. Turn your cell phone off and bury it deep in your briefcase. The institution is paying for you to be there, and they want your undivided attention (and you should want to give them your undivided attention). If there are critical issues going on at your home campus, delegate.

Ask Good Questions

Remember that you are interviewing the staff of the institution as much as they are interviewing you. While by now you should have done extensive research on the institution and position, it is important that you ask questions and assess carefully whether the institutional “fit” is right for you. Campus stakeholders will also be assessing you based on the quality (and insightfulness) of your questions.

Some points to consider about the position/institution:

  • What are the institutional expectations of immediate change?
  • How will success be evaluated/measured?
  • How would you define the culture of the institution?
  • Is this position and institution a match for your personal experiences and professional beliefs?

Some personal points to consider:

  • Benefit packages—including retirement plans
  • Real estate/cost of living issues—is this community/region more or less expensive than your present area?
  • Community school system
  • Professional development support
  • Opportunities for spouse/partner
  • Relocation package/temporary housing
  • Tuition remission policies

Download these tips, Spelman Johnson is delighted to provide this information for you to use as a resource. If you wish to use this document in part or in its entirety we ask that you credit Spelman Johnson. Thank you.

Ellen Heffernan

President - Spelman Johnson

Ellen Heffernan graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in economics and government. She joined Spelman Johnson in 1996, after a ten-year career in higher education that included positions at Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a national speaker and writer on topics related to recruiting and professional development in higher education and serves as faculty for several national higher education association professional development programs. Ellen also currently serves on the executive board of the National Association of Executive Recruiters.