Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Notes for candidates coming to campus

Okay, we are well underway in the hiring season, and as a veteran of the hiring process and an occasionally irritated and disappointed search committee member, I have a few suggestions.

If you want the job, DO:
  1. listen to what the committee asks you to do. Present on your research if we ask for that; if we ask to hear about teaching, describe courses you have taught and your teaching philosophy. Be specific and use examples. The search committee knows the audience, and we know what they want to hear. The committee is interested in you, and we want you to do well.
  2. pay attention to time limits. We gave you an agenda with times on it. Part of the purpose of the agenda was to cue you to our time limitations. So, if we give you an hour to present, keep your talk to 40-45 minutes so there is time for questions.
  3. listen as much as you speak. When you are at dinner or informal gatherings, be polite and ask your hosts about themselves. While they certainly want to learn about you, everyone likes to think they are interesting and wants to contribute.
  4. come prepared with questions about your prospective institution. If you don't research us and bring some questions, how will we know you care?


  1. try to wing it. Even the best candidates have to prepare. A well-organized colloquium can make all of the difference, and a bad one can sink you. If you don't put the time in, we will assume that (a) you aren't very good, or (b) you aren't very interested. Either option bodes poorly for your chances.
  2. bad-mouth your home school or current department. Every discipline is smaller than you could ever know. One bad word about an advisor or colleague can haunt you for a very long time. Everyone has a nemesis who makes them crazy; just don't give voice to yours while on your job interview.
  3. be over-familiar with the faculty. Just because you met some of the faculty at a few conferences doesn't mean you are friends. No hugs or crude jokes; keep it to handshakes and pleasant conversation.

That is all for now. I am sure I will come back and add some more as we go.

Happy end-of-the-semester!


Anonymous said...

Ooh, ooh, I have one!

Do not, under any circumstances, explain how you drank your way through the writing of your dissertation or turn down invitations to meet at the major discipline conference with "oh, I usually just stay in my room and drink."

I was never so happy as to see the candidate off to the airport.

Until we hire you, WE ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS!!! YOU ARE ALWAYS BEING EVALUATED, even during the down times of the visit.

Bardiac said...

Great advice, especially about the time thing!

And if someone doesn't seem well-prepared for their talk, I'd assume they'd be equally unprepared to teach well. And that wouldn't fly here.