University of Utah
Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
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Marketing and Communications Coordinator Interview
I interviewed online. The process took 5+ weeks - interviewed at University of Utah in September 2013.
I’ll first start off by talking about the initial application submission. I wasn’t sure if the University of Utah used an automated filtering system/automatic data extraction function with their electronic applicants, and seeing as how I was using a PDF for my resume, I had to call the employment department just to make sure. They informed me that actual humans do review each application, so anyone who submits a PDF or other in-extractable document type need not worry about this.
After submitting my application, it took about 1.5 weeks to first hear back from the hiring manager. She was very enthusiastic and requested that I submit a marketing proposal as part of the first round of interviews. I won’t get into the details of it, but she did provide some guidelines for what was to be included in the proposal. I was given about a week to complete the proposal and submit it back to her.
It took about another week or week and a half to hear back from her again. I was very excited to have been selected to meet with her and a few others in person as part of the second round of interviews. I assumed at this point that there were only less than a handful of candidates they were seriously considering, so I felt confident. However, the second round interview was frankly, grueling. I’m not sure if this is an institution-wide procedure, but I was required to do a 15-minute presentation to the team I would be working with, followed by half an hour of panel interviews (by the same team of people), followed by another 45-minute interview with just the hiring manager and the director, and finally, to wrap up the TWO HOUR ordeal, a 20-minute writing test, which was to write a short marketing piece on the spot.
This was the first time in my career that I’d experienced an interview process such as this one. I understand that a top institution would want to hire the best of the best (well, what company wouldn’t), but is it really necessary to make the candidate do a presentation AND a panel interview? Definitely seemed a little too bureaucratic for my taste. Not to mention, I definitely felt that dialogue was not encouraged. It was simply answer-the-question-answer-the-question-answer-the-question. No time to really have a real, human discussion.
To satisfy the bonus points, I’ll give my two cents on the people and company culture. From what I picked up during the in-person interviews, the atmosphere definitely seemed a little more serious than what I’d imagined. One thing I emphasized several times throughout the interview, was that in my previous experience of being a student at the University of Utah, everyone I’d met who’d worked there seemed so happy and proud of what they did there. Ironically, the people interviewing me hardly seemed happy or proud at all. But maybe this was just a departmental issue. I can attest to this observation because during my presentation, I took a “joke break” and cracked a few jokes to lighten the mood a little, and I got a poor, disheartening response from the team. But the way I see it is, I probably wouldn’t have been a good fit there anyway if I wasn’t allowed to be myself.
Oh, one last thing: I spent around a good 24 hours in total preparing for a job that I wouldn't even get in the end (from brainstorming for the marketing proposal and putting it together, to preparing for the interview, to spending two hours at the in-person interview). I won't say it was a monumental waste of time, but... well, you get it.
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