Placement. Such an interesting topic. It divides people. TPE or C3? To interview or not to interview? I guess what I am asking is “Is placement really worth it?”
I have been on both sides of the placement table on three separate occasions and I am not sure the time and energy are worth it at the end of the day. Call me a blasphemer all you want. I just don’t buy into the fact that placement is the best way to recruit and hire staff members anymore. I don’t know of a single person who has been hired on the spot at placement. I have never hired someone on the spot at placement nor would I ever do something like that. I am quite sure no one would nor legally could because of HR processes.
So that begs to ask the question, “Is there a benefit to placement?” I think there is. It allows a school to narrow down choices for a position. “Is it worth the grind that candidates tend to put themselves through?” Now, that is where I question placement. I believe candidates should be limited in how many interviews they can participate in at placement. The “buckshot” approach that I see some candidates take is not the best way to use their time or energy. Putting a limit on the number of interviews will force candidates to be more selective about where they interview. This will allow for campuses to be interviewing candidates who are serious about the positions they are applying for.
At TPE two years ago, I knew people who were interviewing for over 15 positions in ONE DAY. That is excessive and ridiculous. One cannot be serious about that many positions or properly prepared for that many interviews. It is waste of time for those hosting the process. If you are not serious about a job or willing to accept an offer on the spot, then you shouldn’t apply.
I learned this lesson the hard way. I applied to a job at a religiously-based institution and was offered an interview with the office at TPE. I knew that it would be a stretch for me to accept the position, but I was panicking. Everyone else around me was interviewing for 20+ positions in residence life. I had interviews with 10 schools. Instead of really thinking about the position and institution, I went ahead with the interview. It was a disaster.
Midway through the interview, all I kept thinking was how I could graciously apologize for wasting their time. It was never going to work and I knew it from the very beginning. Before I sat down in that chair. I had no intention of ever moving to that part of the country. I wasn’t even that keen on the job. I did it because I felt a pressure to do it.
Hindsight is 20-20. Well I am trying to share my hindsight with you and advocate for a change in placement policy to help everyone involved. If you are a candidate please take into consideration the amount of time and energy put into the process. As you labor over every cover letter and online application you are forced to submit, the institution is spending as much time reviewing resumes, checking references, convening committees, and spending money to interview candidates.
This means as a candidate you should really invest time figuring out what you want. Where do you want to be in the country? Do you have a significant other to consider? Do you need to be close to family/friends? Do you want to be in a big city or smaller town? Do you have financial constraints to consider? These are all important personal factors that should be considered before starting a search. Take the time to do some narrowing before you cast a wide net. Your personal happiness will have an impact on your job performance. Make sure you identify what will make you happy in advance.
After you have answered these personal questions, then start looking at and learning about the position, office, and institution before submitting your resume and cover letter. Make informed decisions about where you are applying. Talk with other professionals, graduate students, and/or colleagues about offices/campuses. Really make sure you would be willing to say yes before you shake hands and interview. Don’t let the pressure of what others are doing impact your process. You are the one who will need to work there, not the person interviewing for over 20 positions at TPE or C3.
What are your recommendations for people participating in Placement?