Receiving an Orr Fellowship interview is a big deal. If you’re among the lucky ones, congratulations!
As is the case through much of the Orr Fellowship recruitment process, Orr Fellowship interviews are not “run of the mill.” The Fellowship Board of Directors spreads out across Indiana and Ohio during the first few weeks of October to serve as interviewers. Most of them have been involved with the Fellowship since its inception. They know what they’re doing, and they really know what makes a good Orr Fellow.
If you’re like I was in the fall of 2012, the Orr Fellowship interview will be your first “real job” interview. In order to figure out how to navigate that daunting milestone, I did a lot of Google searching. I’m hoping to save you that trouble and also let you in on a few nuances of the Fellowship recruitment process.
Get to your interview early. Collect yourself and your thoughts. Make sure you give yourself an opportunity to take a moment before you walk into your interview.
2. Rock the first 30 seconds.
I’m all about first impressions. Make a good one. Enter the room confidently, speak clearly and smile. Be friendly, but don’t overdo it, especially not to the point that your friendliness appears fake. On that note:
3. Be real.
I think our generation has a remarkably easy time being real. We’re generally okay being ourselves. Except in interviews. While interviews (including those for the Orr Fellowship) are certainly formal settings, there’s no reason to hide who you are. You’re smart. You’re interesting. You’re probably pretty impressive. Show it.
4. Dress well.
Most Fellows work in startups. Lots of us (including me) wear jeans to work more than one day out of the week. I think casual attire does a lot for culture, but it doesn’t belong in your interview.
5. Get knowledgeable.
Sure, you’re not working yet. But there’s tons of news online about the Indianapolis tech and startup communities. And there’s a lot happening in the Indy tech community. Try to understand what’s going on here. It’ll help you ask the right questions and figure out whether or not you want to be a part of it. Read up!
6. Be prepared.
Arm yourself with copies of your resume and be very familiar with its contents. Choose nuggets of really applicable experience and familiarize yourself even further. Reflect on what you need to communicate in your interview and what you need to gain from it. Remember: while the interviewer is deciding whether you’re a good fit for the Fellowship, you should be deciding whether the Fellowship is a good fit for you. Do not memorize answers to standard interview questions you think your interviewer might ask. Even if he or she does ask those questions, it’ll be tough to convince your interviewer that you came up with that perfectly packaged answer on the spot.
7. Follow up.
The interview doesn’t end when you walk out the door. Follow up with the Fellowship recruitment lead at your school and your interviewer if you’d like. Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer for a business card so you can reach out to him or her directly. If you had a meaningful connection, refer to it. Check out my email to my interviewer for an example below (that apparently worked).
“I just wanted to send you a quick note thanking you for our interview last week. I very much appreciate the opportunity to be considered by the Orr Fellowship! Certainly, the fact that a program alumna is willing to serve on the Board of Directors and spend an entire day conducting interviews speaks volumes to the quality of the Fellowship. I hope you have a wonderful week!”
Good luck in your interview! I hope to see you at Reception on the Circle.