The Post Graduate Benefits of Greek Life Part VI: Interview Secrets Learned From Sorority Recruitment
When I started interviewing for jobs, I realized that sorority recruitment had actually taught me a lot of tricks about how to have a successful job interview. Here are the top four interview secrets I learned from sorority recruitment.
1. Prepare in advance: Sorority sisters practice recruitment for weeks before recruitment actually begins. My chapter would practice answering the most common questions asked at sorority recruitment as well as any tough questions we might be asked. We would each infuse the answer with our own personality, but it was helpful to have already thought about the questions and answers.
When I was interviewing for jobs, I wrote bullet point answers for The Prepary’s list of the ten most common interview questions. I also conducted mock interviews with friends and family. It is important not to come off as rehearsed and inauthentic, but knowing I had prepared in advance made me much more confident during each round of interviews. Preparing in advance can also mean making sure that you have everything you need to feel comfortable before and during the interview. You obviously need to wear professional clothing and bring a few extra copies of your resume (ask how many people you’ll be meeting) but I also packed something similar to what my chapter called our Recruitment Readiness kit. We had Altoids, Tic Tacs, hairspray, deodorant remover, Band-Aids, granola bars, Tide-to-Go sticks, Advil, hair ties, and more. I pretty much pack the same thing when I go to an interview*. In addition, I pack my favorite makeup in case I want to do a quick touch up.
2. Show don’t just tell: A job interview is essentially a test of your storytelling skills – you have to explain your career and your skills in a way that shows that you are a valuable asset for the employer. You don’t want to just say you are a team player or that you are diligent – you want to show it by telling a story about a time that you exhibited those traits (try the C-A-R-s or S-T-A-R-s method next time you have an interview!). You are telling a story every single time you explain your career. Your elevator pitch is a story. Networking is telling a story. Even CEO’s of companies use storytelling to pitch their company and motivate employees. Sorority recruitment taught me the storytelling skills I need to interview and network with confidence. During recruitment you are telling a story – you are telling the story of your sorority experience in a way that conveys how special and unique your sisterhood is and what it has to offer the potential new member. You don’t want to just say that you love having a house on campus – you want to explain your experience. I read an article that explained that, “one way to do this is to use lots of ‘language of the senses,’ or LOTS. When telling a story, share with us what you see, smell, feel, taste, and hear. When you trigger a sense in someone, you bring them into the story with you.” Stories convey emotions, make the listener more engaged, and cause the listener feel more connected to the storyteller.
3. Do your research (but don’t be a creeper): When I interview people, I always ask what they know about the company. I ask this to discern whether or not the candidate prepared for the interview. Always go into an interview knowing what the company does, why you want to work there, and the value you can bring them.
During recruitment my sorority sisters and I knew the basic backgrounds of the Potential New Members going though recruitment – we didn’t know every single detail but we knew basic facts. Although we knew this information we didn’t ask them how their older sister was, what it was like living in France, or about their pet unless they volunteered the information first.
If it makes you more comfortable to know basic details about your interviewer like where he or she went to school by all means Google them or check their LinkedIn profile but DO NOT tell them their life story. They know their dog’s name, former places of employment, favorite food, and birthday – don’t tell them because they will most likely be very creeped out by the fact that you could write their biography. This hypothetical scenario always reminds me of the Modern Family episode Flip Flop. In the episode, the family is trying to sell a house and Haley does research on the potential buyer. She researches his social media platforms and learns his dog’s name, his favorite sports team, his birthday, his alma matter, his favorite band, and more. When he gets to the house his favorite band is playing, there is a poster for his favorite sports team, Haley mentions his dog’s name, and someone mentions his birthday. He freaks out and doesn’t end up buying the house. Let this be a lesson to us all.
4. Keep calm and carry on: During recruitment things did not always go as planned. Someone would ask a question that caught a sister off guard, the recruitment rotation would get out of order, or the video wouldn’t play but sisters had to take a deep breath and continue like nothing had gone wrong. During interviews you might be asked something that you didn’t expect, or you might say something that didn’t quite come off the way you wanted it to – you need to keep calm and carry on.
5. Be yourself: During recruitment, sisters have to show what makes their chapter unique and why it is a chapter that someone should join. During interviews you want to show why you are unique and the value that you will bring to the organization. In both scenarios it is important to be authentic. I believe that you can only be happy when you are accepted for being you. You should strive to be the best possible version of yourself, but don’t try to be someone your not.
*P.S. You can also get one of the Pinch Provisions (this one is so perfect!) and throw your granola bar of choice into your purse in case you get hungry on the way. I also recommend bringing a pair of headphones so that you can listen to your favorite motivational songs during your commute (my go-to songs are Louder and This Girl is on Fire).