Category Archives: Interviewing


Mastering Skype

You’ve passed the first hurdle in the hiring process and have been invited to interview via Skype to determine if you will be one of the finalists. Congratulations! This is an opportunity to continue the conversation and stay in the search process. Here are some guidelines to consider:

  • Establish a Skype ID, but as with e-mail addresses, be careful about the name you select. Better to use a proper name than a nickname. Remember that, before the call, you will need to accept an invitation to join…

The ‘Secret’ Members of Search and Tenure Committees

Anyone with common sense knows that on-campus candidates need to be on their best behavior while interviewing. Doing a great teaching demonstration and being able to talk about your research are important, but good manners are expected. The same applies to the tenure process; collegiality is often considered alongside scholarship and teaching.

All too often, however, people forget about the “secret” members of some search and tenure committees—the administrative support staff—or underestimat…


Dealing With the Unexpected

My all-time favorite phone-interview story is not from the job market but from a professor’s radio interview, by phone, to promote a new book. The interview occurred at the same time as a bout of stomach virus. He was terrified that he would lose the long-scheduled interview if he asked for a postponement. He tried to juggle the phone in between the waves of discomfort, speaking as expertly as he could and trying not to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation.

At least in a phone interview,…


Reimbursement Reminders

While there are occasional exceptions, most colleges that extend invitations to job candidates for on-campus interviews provide reimbursement for their travel expenses. Most professional organizations affirm the practice, as does basic good manners.

Since travel involves the expenditure of actual money, I am constantly surprised by how long it takes for reimbursements to be processed in some situations. Oddly, this cuts in both directions: Sometimes visitors take weeks or even months to send in …


From Scholarly Scaffolding to the 3-Second Rule

This afternoon a friend of mine will be giving a job talk as part of an on-campus interview. She has done this several times before, but since she’s tackling a new topic, she gathered a group of colleagues last week for a trial run. My friend is an exceptionally talented scholar—that was abundantly clear in her talk—but, as specialists in criticism, our little focus group came up with a number of notes to improve her already compelling presentation. Several of those “advanced” job-talk ideas wer…


Asking the Right Questions

The interview questions have been easy to handle and you’ve established a solid rapport with the search committee. They think you are clever and charming, and you feel clever and charming. The interview hour is coming to an end and you are tossed the final and predictable question: “Do you have any questions for us?”

Anyone smart enough to be reading The Chronicle knows better than to respond with a query about the salary range or retirement vesting period, but even those who avoid obviously bad…


I’m Better in Person

I went to the doctor the other day for a mild ear infection. Despite the pain in my ear, I was still in a pretty good mood. I would even venture to say that I was charming. After the nurse took my blood pressure, she told me it was a little high.

“Uh-oh,” I said.

“It could be because of the cuff,” she said. “It’s a smaller one.”

We then walked about five steps to the room and she took my blood pressure with a bigger cuff. “Much better,” she said. “It must’ve been the cuff.”

“Or maybe it was all …


Scouts, Boomerangs, and Protocol

In the past, I have written about “scouts,” applicants for jobs who show up on campus unannounced and start speaking with people about the position without the knowledge or invitation of the search committee. The scouts think they will have an advantage by generating a “face” for their application, and perhaps an incipient relationship with folks in the unit or department. This approach typically ends up creating ill will and spoils their candidacy.

Another version of this strategy occurs late i…


Were You Appointed or Anointed?

You’ve prepared for a role like this for years and it is finally available. Because you are clearly the obvious choice, it would save everyone a lot of time and trouble to simply hand you your new title. The person to whom this position reports agrees also that you are perfect. Rather than create false expectations that lead to dashed hopes, all while wasting time and money, it would be far wiser to just give you the position. Right? Perhaps not.
Issues about fairness and equal opportunity asi…


Formerly of the University of the Titanic

So, let’s say you are a tenured faculty member at a troubled institution. It may be a crisis of leadership, a cliff’s edge of a budget from the state, or even the kind of torpor that sometimes overtakes a place. Or, let’s say you are three or four years into the tenure track but it has become clear that the department/university is not going in the direction you had hoped and you now must commence a search in order to maintain your sanity and preserve your career long term.

Your résumé is spot…