I've been invited to a campus interview that will last less than a full day (i.e., they want me to fly back home the evening of the interview). So, there will be no dinner with the search committee, etc. While I don't mind not having dinner (I've never been on a campus interview before, but I'm sure the dinner is not fun), I'm a bit surprised at how short the whole process is. They have also been quite reluctant to advise me on making travel arrangements (my e-mails went unanswered, and finally I got some information when I got them on the phone). I'm wondering if this all sounds a bit sketchy, and if they maybe have an internal candidate lined up and don't really care about the other candidates who are coming in from out of state. Am I being paranoid?
Date: 24 Feb 2012 23:21
Number of posts: 9
RSS: New posts
This seems a bit atypical to me. Although I've only been on two campus interviews, if I combine my experiences with everyone I've seen go on the job market over the years, at least one full day of interviewing, including a dinner, is more common. Do you happen to be interviewing at a community college? Unless you are interviewing at a community college a full day of interviewing, including dinner, is what I would expect.
The other thing I'll mention is that you shouldn't assume the dinner won't be fun! It really depends on your rapport with the faculty during your interview. On my first interview the dinner was awkward and not very enjoyable, but on my second interview I had two dinners (one the night I arrived, and a second after the interview), plus a lunch, and all of these experiences were really great. It provided a chance to chat with people in a less formal setting (while still being on your best behavior, of course!).
The fact that they want to turn you around quickly could be the result of lots of things, though (restricted budget, multiple candidates coming out in the same week, etc.), so I would encourage you not to worry about it *too* much, if that's possible! Just go in with a positive attitude and do your best. Good luck!
Thank, jobseeker, for your reassuring response!
I did not really mean that I thought the dinner would be horrendous, just that the point of my post was not to complain about the lack of dinner as if all I wanted was a free meal!!
I have two interviews coming up close together, the second is the one I talked about in the post above, and the first is much more "standard" - a full day including dinner, with a night in the university conference center on either side of the visit. Plus I already know my schedule, that they expect me to give a talk that's an hour long, etc. On the other hand, I know NOTHING about the other interview (which is happening a week from Monday). But I will just try to enjoy both experiences, as you suggest!
I had one interview this year where the interview was 9am-8pm all in one day, and another last year that was 10am-7pm all in one day. So, don't think it is 100 percent unusual. Both were good R2 type schools.
I actually had an interview last month that was 8:30-3pm. I flew in the night before, and they drove me to the airport directly after. It was quite the turn-around. One of the faculty members expressed that their interviews were set up this way because Human Resources did all the logistics (i.e. booked my flight/hotel) as opposed to the department. She said this created less of a "wine and dine" interview and more of a "quick and dirty" interview format. This was at a liberal arts school if that helps.
I have been lucky (!) to have had several interviews so far. The variability has been considerable, from a 2-hour interview (including meeting with HR) to a 1.5-day interview. The shortest interviews happen at community colleges. On one, I drove in the day prior, then had the interview from 2:30pm until about 4:30. There was a 45-minute group interview (with canned questions), a 15-minute (strictly timed!) teaching demo, then a breezy tour of the building on the way from the interview to the HR office where we talked benefits for 20 minutes. I drove out that evening. On another I got smart and did not waste a whole day flying in the day before and scheduled the interview in the afternoon so I could fly in the morning of the interview, which was at 1:30, then headed straight to the airport at 5:00 to catch a flight home in the evening.
The most common has been a full-day interview, where you fly in the day before, may (or may not) have dinner that evening, then interview from 8-4 and then fly out that evening or the next morning, depending on flight schedules. The longest one included a full day interview 7:30-5 then dinner with search chair and others, then being driven around the next morning to see the town.
As a point of reference, my interviews have all been for teaching-centric institutions from CCs to Masters-granting universities. No SLACs yet (I had one arranged but the search got canceled suddenly). The interviews at RU-VH (R1 in the old parlance) schools seem to be 2-3 affairs, or so I have observed.
Thanks everyone for your input. The place I'm interviewing at is not a community college, but neither is it an R1 institution or a SLAC. It's a public university with a Masters program but no PhD students in the department. I guess that makes it R2 (? I'm not from the US so I find this terminology a bit confusing). I have also interviewed for only 2 hours, but that was in my home country.
I had two campus interviews at teaching-oriented institutions (a SLAC and a master's granting school) and in both cases I flew in the night before and had a seriously low-key dinner (e.g. one other faculty member), then the interview the next day, flying back after. I felt like they were short but also that it's the standard for that type of school. I had two additional campus offers, one of which was a place closer to home, and I think for that one I was not going to end up spending the night at all (and would not have dinner.)