By Charlotte Weeks
While interviewing people for my book, I Want a Job in an Association, Now What??, I’ve asked many what advice they’d give to someone interviewing with an association after having worked in philanthropic non-profits or corporations. The same few answers came up over and over again.
Show your flexibility: Often, association employees need to wear several hats, and you may need to take on duties that have nothing to do with your job. One person even told me, “even though I’m the executive director of a small professional state association, I need to be able to do a presentation in front of my members one day and take out the office trash the next.” Be prepared to give examples that speak to your willingness to pitch in where needed.
Research EVERYTHING: Of course, the job is a must, but also look into the association you’re interviewing with and the overall industry/profession it focuses on (i.e. healthcare). Learn about their mission and history as well as their current challenges.
Know that members are of the utmost importance: Members are the bread and butter of professional associations and keeping them happy is the number one priority. Anything you can say in the interview that shows how you can add value to the members will give you an edge. This can include experience in the same industry, examples of your strong customer service skills, or even a passion for the profession the members work in.
Remember, some experts recommend that you spend 10-15 hours preparing for each interview. Keeping the above tips in mind will help you maximize this time!