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After OPE

Following Up After an Interview

There are various schools of thought in regards to following up after an interview. It is
important to touch base and thank the interviewers for their time and consideration of
your candidacy. How you decide to go about thanking them is up to you.
Typical ways for reaching out include emailed or handwritten thank you notes. Some
institutions will indicate if they have a preference toward one form or another- if not, stick
with what aligns with your personal style.
After OPE there are many other processes that take over in the Residence Life/Student
Affairs world, and it may take institutions awhile to reach out following OPE depending on
their hiring timeline. It is common practice to inquire with institutions about what their
timeline looks like during your interview so you are informed moving forward in your job
search.  When you are in doubt about following up with a certain school, it is important to
consult with you mentor to work through the best way to reach out.

Continuing to Apply After Attending OPE

After OPE it may seem like all the hard work is done, but you will be concerned about what
happens next and you will be waiting to hear from your interviews.  At this time, it is tough
to say whether to continue searching or whether to solely wait on your leads from OPE.
This is another opportunity to get connected with your mentor and discuss your feelings
and thoughts after OPE. You can absolutely continue to apply elsewhere depending on how
you are feeling post-OPE. You may even consider other placement exchanges. Remember
that you are never alone as you continue through your job search, and utilizing your
mentor to help you navigate some of the difficult decisions you have will be one of your
greatest resources.

Accepting a Job

Being offered a position after weeks or months of searching, applying, and interviewing is an exhilarating moment. However, it is important to take a moment to pause, reflect, and consider if the offer is the best choice for you. Below are important questions to consider and process before saying "yes" to a new position.

Questions to Ask Before You Accept a Job Offer

  • What are the department’s strengths and weaknesses? (You may think you know, but inside the company there might be another view altogether, are there weaknesses in the department that they are working on improving? Do people fight? Is there a lack of funding or resources?)

  • How important does upper management/administration consider the functions of this department?

  • What is the organization’s plan for the next five (5) years, and how does the department fit in?

  • Could you explain the organizational structure? (What is the reporting structure in the department? What are acceptable channels of communication?)

  • How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? By whom?

  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities in this job? (Will there be unpleasant duties? How much autonomy will you have?)

Questions to Answer Internally Regarding Position and School

  • Have you identified you own personal/professional philosophy well enough to be able to tell whether your philosophy will be congruent with your potential position?

  • What is the amount of institutional support (philosophically and financially) give to the potential role and the other services with which you will work (supervisors, colleagues, physical environment)?

  • What is the overall financial condition of the institution?

  • What re the economic conditions of the region as compared to the proposed salary level? (Food, housing, transportation, etc)

  • Are salary and benefits equitable in comparison to others in the same institution or other comparable positions in the field?

  • Is a balanced life possible in the work setting or is “workaholicism” expected and reinforced?

  • Are stimulating colleagues available who will be willing to create and try new approaches and innovation?

  • Will this job open doors in the future? How does this job relate to current educational trends and trends in the profession?

  • What does the current level or organizational morale or climate indicate? What patterns of leadership, motivation, goal orientation, communications, decision-making and control are evident?

  • What are the students like? What is the balance of socio-economic background, educational skills, developmental issues, typical behavioral patterns or problems?

  • Will the physical environment help or block your progress in your job?

  • What are the employees like who will report to you?

  • Are mentoring opportunities available?

  • What are the match or mismatch or regional values and perspectives with your own? (cultural programs, religion, etc.)

Details to Consider When Deciding on a Program or School

  • Campus Concerns: Enrollment? Crime? Harassment? Alcohol? Drugs?

  • Discipline System: Student code of conduct. Rights vs. Responsibility. Decisions on sanctions made at what levels? Confidentiality? Parent notification. Access to records.

  • Evaluation/Feedback: Formal/Informal? Frequency? By whom?

  • Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm? 5:00pm-9:00pm? Comp time for evening and weekend hours? Vacation length/restricted dates? Office Hours? Flex time? Status during holidays, academic breaks and summers? 10month contract?

  • Housing Accommodations: Size? Costs? Distance from office? Laundry? Kitchen? Bath? Storage? Modern/working appliances? Pets? Private access to building/apartment? Overnight guest policy? Partners/Spouses? Benefits/considerations for significant other/spouse/children? Apartment furnishings?

  • Mission Statement: Does one exist? If so, does it match your personal or professional values?

  • Office Dress: What is the dress code for the office (official and unofficial).

  • Duty Structure: Is duty done by areas, halls, or campus? How often are you on duty? Are you tied to a building, phone or apartment while on duty? What are typical types of duty calls?

  • Office Workspace: Size? Location? Shared? Reception Area? Meeting Areas? Supplies- what is provided? How long to get supplies? Type and condition of furniture.

  • Parking/Transportation: Parking- Cost? Who pays? Location in relation to office/housing? Lighting, access, protection from weather?

  • Professional Development: Professional memberships? Subscriptions? Conference Support-time travel, meals, fees, etc.? Different if recruiting or presenting?

  • Relationships with Other Offices: Especially those with which you will be working.

  • Social Outlets: Opportunities for? Cost? Weekend/Night life for professional staff? Does staff currently socialize outside of office?

  • Supervisor: Style? Support? Expectations? Personality? Commitment to your professional growth? Degree of involvement in day-to-day operations?

 

(OPE Preparation Manual, Compiled by the University of Wisconsin- LaCrosse, 2005.)