I just got an email from a professor at one of the schools to which I applied (a SLAC) stating that he would like to speak with me on the phone to "clarify a few details." He explicitly said that it was NOT a formal phone interview and rather just a brief conversation. I know I should treat all interactions with SCs like an interview, but I am still a bit confused about the purpose of this phone call and what to expect. The phone call is in just a day, so I don't really have tons of time to prepare to the extent that I would a normal phone interview. Has anyone experienced a similar situation who could provide some insight? Why wouldn't they just clarify any details in a phone interview as normal? (Or maybe this is their version of the phone interview stage?)
Date: 13 Oct 2015 05:11
Number of posts: 11
RSS: New posts
Back when I was on the market a few years ago, when schools wanted to call to "clarify a few details", it meant that they wanted to invite you to an on-campus interview. I treated them all as official phone interviews, but on each one of those phone calls, they ended by saying that they would like to invite me for a campus interview. Hopefully that's what this means for you!
I'd agree that this is the most likely interpretation. Rather than having a long phone interview list that they whittle down to campus interviews, they've basically already chosen their campus interview people. But perhaps they want to call you first before wasting the money to make sure you're interested in the job, you know what kind of place it is, etc.
That said, if they don't offer you an interview, that doesn't mean you failed this phone call. It could really be that they need some more information for something, or that a couple of people are fighting over who gets that last interview spot, etc.
Either way, you are in the running and they are very interested in you!
I hope the previous posters are correct, but I also had a non-interview phone call when I was on the market that really was just a clarification. They were interested in me overall, but the call was a specific query about something related to license eligibility in their state, not an actual interview or invite to interview. It seemed like a pre-screen because if I had the "wrong" answer they wouldn't have wanted to waste a phone interview slot.
Wow I had no idea that a campus interview invite was even a possibility with this phone call… that would be exciting! I'm not going to get my hopes up, though (especially since the deadline for this position was 10/1, which I would think is pretty fast to be making campus invites), so I will just assume it's like a phone interview. Besides, I was under the assumption that most smaller teaching-focused schools did phone interviews first (whereas R1s might go straight to campus interviews), but I suppose things can vary a lot across schools.
It could be anything from assessing your interest, to clarifying a detail, to something more formal
i do believe most teaching oriented schools do phone interviews… in all honestly, im surprised R1s dont do it more. Phone interviews are VERY revealing — we've had candidates look stellar on paper but would not able to adequately discuss their strengths/needs for improvement in a phone call. in contrast, we've had "solid" CV candidates blaze to the top after a strong phone interview.
in terms of an initial inquiry, it could be anything from trying to schedule a phone interview with you to clarifying something on your cv. when i was on the market the second time, i had committees flat out ask if i was serious about leaving my job (despite including an explicit statement in my cover letter)…
either way, it's a good sign b/c they're interested — they wouldn't be calling if not.
so, excitedconfused, what happened on the non-interview phone call? very curious.
OP here. Thanks for everyone's input! The call turned out to be a few questions to literally clarify my research, specifically what I plan to do at their institution, what resources I would need, how I will involve their students, and how much it will cost to get up and running quick. Basically, since it is a SLAC with somewhat of an open-area ad, I think they wanted to make sure that the planned research could actually be done there (and that it was student-focused). The conversation itself was pretty informal and went very well— I feel quite good about it. The SC member said that this was somewhat of a pre-screening for the phone interview stage, and that formal phone/skype interviews would be conducted within a few weeks (once they whittle down the list to people whose research is SLAC-feasible and student-focused, I assume).
In the end, I just prepared for it like a phone interview, and I think that helped a lot (and now I'm even more prepared for the actual formal phone interview, should I reach that point). No campus invite yet, but fingers crossed as their search progresses!