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You should also consider scheduling a meeting with the professionals on your campus! (Your supervisor, the Associate or Assistant Director of Housing/Res Life, the director of housing, or even the VP of student affairs if you are interested in student affairs possibilities other than housing.
Residence Life Professional Answers:
The best preparation for a Hall Director interview is probably graduate school in Higher Education/College Student Personnel. If you are lucky enough to locate a position that does not require a degree, the following things can definitely help you prepare:
Hope this helps!
Residence Life Coordinator Georgia Tech
Assistant Director for Selection and Training
Residential Programs and Services
Hello from the University of Houston! I am very excited to hear that you would like to take the step from RA to Hall Director! Are you interested in getting a Master's degree in the field of Student Affairs? If so, I think the first thing that you need to do is look into graduate programs for Higher Education Administration, Student Personnel Services, or Educational Leadership (there are different names for individual college programs, but these will give you an idea of what to look for). These programs offer what are called graduate assistantships. The compensation varies for these positions. Assistantships are offered in the housing field. You could run your own hall or be an assistant to someone who does while getting your Master's degree. Check into it. Also ask your supervisor. Most likely they've been in your position, too! Hope this helps!
Quadrangle Area Coordinator
University of Houston
Preparing for Hall Director interviews
can mean a lot of things. In general and will
very greatly depending on the specific responsibilities
of the position (different schools have such a range),
but there may be some general questions you should
be prepared to answer, like:
1. What is your supervision style?
2. How do you like to be supervised?
3. How can you help build community?
4. What kind of education programming have you done? What ideas will you bring?
5. How do you like to interact with your co-workers?
6. What Student Development theories/theorists do you subscribe to? How do you see them in action when working with students?
7. What kinds of crisis situations have you had to handle?
8. What experience do you have as a judicial officer/policy enforcer?
9. How do you like to spend your free time...or what will you do to keep yourself refreshed?
10. How do you relate to students from backgrounds different from yourself? What is your view on diversity/multiculturalism?
11. Have you had past advising experience (student groups, hall goverment)?
12. What are your strengths and areas you would like to improve on. (remember turning weaknesses into stregths is always good! ;)
Make sure you've done some further investigation into the school when you're preparing for phone and/or personal interviews. The web is a great source of information...or even calling an admissions office for extra information is a good thing! This will give you some background, as well as may help you generate some questions to ask.
If you are currently an RA or graduate student, ask your supervisor to interview you. That's a great way to become prepared. If you're going to a national or regional conference for interviews, make sure you ask people that have been to those kinds of placement conferences so you know what to expect...they can be quite intimidating or overwhelming if you aren't prepared.
Also, remember that when you're interviewing for a job, you should also be interviewing them. Here are some suggestions of things you might want to consider as you're looking:
* Go prepared for interviews with questions of your own. You'll want to know how you'll like working there...ask questions about the staff, students, general atmosphere of the office. Ask about policies, your responsibilities if they're not clear. The more information you have will make it easier for you to make a good judgement if you get an offer. Also find out about the area where the school is located. What is there to do in the area? Will you like living there? This is also good because it shows you've put some thought into the interview!
* Think about your personal finances when you're looking. Some schools will offer great benefits packages with a lower base salary...so make sure you can afford a situation like that. Also, some schools pay on a monthly basis, versus bi-weekly. Find out about those benefits (is there a meal plan? Any cost for housing? Dental/Medical/Life insurance?).
* Don't jump on your first offer without doing some other investigation. If the first job you're offered isn't exactly what you want...call other schools and find out how their processes are doing. People shouldn't be offended if you don't accept a job, it's all part of the search process. You want to find a place you're going to be happy at.
* Know that search processes can take a while! (Trust me on this one) Don't get scared if you don't hear right away after you sent in a resume or if time passes between a phone, personal and on-campus. It can take months within Higher Education, particularly state institutions because of budgeting and internal procedures that have to be met. Again, don't be afraid to call and ask for updates.
* Above all...don't be nervous! If you've done your homework and are applying for jobs you think you'll be good at...don't sweat it! If there are some things involved in the job that you might not have experience in...be honest and let them know how interested you are in gaining the experience. Interviews can be nerve-racking, but think of the process as a learning experience! What has always helped me is knowing that I love getting to know colleges and universities better and meeting new people...and there's no better way than through interviewing! Find that thing that keeps you motivated and stick with it! It will help with the nerves ;)
These are all things that come off the top of my head, so it's not completely inclusive of all the issues you might want to think of. I'm sure you'll get some other great ideas from other people! If you need more suggestions, don't hesitate to ask...I'll be glad to help if I can!
Best of luck!!
Resident Director, O'Connor Hall
Boy, have I just been in your position recently! There are different answers that I would give for this question based on if you are interviewing for a graduate level hall director position or a professional level hall director position. Since I'm not sure which one you are applying for, I'll go ahead and give you my take on both.
In a graduate level hall director position, I would capitalize on your RA experience to answer their questions. Most likely, for any question they ask you, you could remember an experience (yours or a co-worker's) that can fit the subject. Try to think of how your supervisor handled the situation and answer it from that point of view. What would you do if you were supervising the hall and this situation happened? Talk with your supervisor. In order to get where they are today, they probably had to go through the same experiences that you are just beginning! Have them quiz you on possible questions that they would ask of a potential hall director. And if you are applying at a different school than where you are, research their housing program and an answer to the question, "Why are you interested in the position at University X?" You may only get one interview on which their decision is based, so make it count! :)
In a professional level hall director position, the
first thing you should do is research the housing
program of the place that you applied to. In
most cases, you may have more than one interview before
you get an offer for a campus interview. In
the first interview, most schools will feel out your
philosophies on various issues to see if you "fit"
what their philosophy is (discipline, customer service
and the residents, creative sanctioning, live-in position,
etc). In the second interview, they may ask
things about their campus and how you see yourself
fitting in their team. The questions will be
a little harder. I recommend looking in the
"Chronicle of Higher Education" for job
openings and on websites such as www.studentaffairs.com.
I also recommend attending placement at a national
conference such as ACPA (American College Personnel
Association). When you receive an offer for
a campus interview, be prepared to ask how the travel
will be funded. Some schools will pay for everything
and not ask any payment should you not take the job,
others may want you to pay half depending on the outcome,
and some will want you to pay upfront and be reimbursed
later. At the on-campus interview, you need
to remember that you are interviewing ALL of the time
that you are there. If you are invited to a
casual dinner with the staff, try to relax and let
yourself have fun, but remember that it is an interview
(how do you fit in with the staff on a personal level?).
You will most likely meet with upper management, support
staff (office managers, secretarial staff), student
representatives, and the other professional staff
(hall directors, coordinators, etc). Some schools
may have you meet with members of housekeeping and
maintenance if they feel that it is necessary.
Don't fret if you don't hear about the job right away.
It takes a lot of time for schools to process the
job search (especially public schools!).
What is the main aspect you look for in a potential hall director?
Someone who complements the team that is already in place and is a student advocate. Someone who is a people person and can work well with others. Demonstrated ability in the field. Someone who understands the mission and vision of a housing program.
I hope this helps you! If you have any more questions, I have a couple
of good job search packets that I can send to you. Just let me know!
Quadrangle Area Coordinator
University of Houston
There are three main questions forwarded to me regarding
a hall director
1.) What are some of the things I can prepare for in a hall
2.) things I can do to prepare for a hall director job
3.) What do employers look for in a hall director?
With the introduction out of the way we can begin to answer your questions. To prepare for any interview you need to become somewhat familiar with the position you will be interviewing for. I suggest if this is a direction you would like to pursue you register at the Oshkosh Placement Exchange. Several hundred schools converge on the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and hire hall directors, directors of departments and so on. Oshkosh is a very good place to continue on in this field. Basically, if you interview with different schools you might research that school over the internet and become familiar with it. Call ahead and ask questions about the position so you can formulate better answers ahead of time. But things you can do locally are ask to be on a hall director selection committee or ask to sit in on other professional interviews. Practice in a mock interview session, also be familiar with your resume.
Part Two: How to prepare for the hall director position. I would recommend spending time with one or more hall directors not only from your school but other schools. Ask important questions: what is a typicall day, what is the workload like, what type of supervisory skills will I need to be familiar with, these are all important questions you need to have answered. Maybe volunteer to help hall directors with work, for example helping with occupancy, discipline, programming and carefully watch how they supervise people.
Because I have the ability to hire/fire I can tell you what we typically
look for in a hall director candidate. We look for someone with several years of residential experience, proven leadership, diversity awareness, programming knowledge, administrative skills, confrontation skills, desk clerk skills, knowledge of occupancy issues, people who want to make an impact, people looking for a challenge,ect. It is a step up from the RA role, challenging yet rewarding. I hope I have answered your questions.
Residence Life Coordinator
University of Central Oklahoma
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