Need some insight! I was invited to campus, but the whole interview process is only three hours long (meet w/ chair, campus tour, lecture, and group meeting w/ other faculty and students). Anybody else have this short of an interview? What do people make of it, if anything?
Date: 14 Mar 2013 00:24
Number of posts: 11
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In my experience (having interviewed at about a dozen places over the years), schools that have short interview processes were not desirable. I had an interview where I didn't have any individual meetings with faculty (only a group meeting with the search committee) and it seemed very odd and was off-putting. It sort of felt as if the department was trying to conceal something — not sure what, though. It's possible they are having such short interviews because they are wanting to do the search ASAP — and if your interview truly is only 3 hours long, it's possible that there is another candidate on campus that same day.
I had an interview in the UK where the official parts lasted a grand total of 50 minutes (20-minute research presentation and 30-minute search panel interview). A Skype interview would have been far more efficient (and cheaper!) than flying me over there from the US.
I had a 5-hour day at one school - meet with the dean, department chair, one faculty person, then the entire search committee at once, and lastly gave my talk. At this particular school, the faculty were whining that human resources scheduled and designed the interviews at their school, not the department, which meant short interviews where you fly in one day, out the next, and aren't "wined and dined" as with other schools. Perhaps the place you are interviewing at has something similar going on.
Well, I am pretty confident I am the only one going to be there that particular day given that everything is happening from 10:30am-1:30pm. The department is also making all the arrangements, so it is not HR's doing. I also did not even do a Skype/phone interview this year; I did one last year for a TT position, but did not get the job. This year's is another new TT line, as far as I know. Ah, the mystery deepens…
Thank you all for your feedback!
hmmm well that seems to suggest that they are a "no frills" department which might be worrisome…I'd be sure to ask about resources (space, funds, professional development, etc.) and the like while you are there to make sure that they do have the necessary bits even if their interviews aren't well planned in terms of giving you a well-rounded impression of the school.
@devanon Why on earth would a department let HR dictate the timeframe and schedule of their interview process? That has to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. If they can't be trusted by the administration to appropriately complete basic tasks I would avoid that institution like the plague.
It doesn't mean the dept is "letting" HR handle the schedules… More likely, HR and the admin has say over these things, and could be setting these up well against the dept's preferences.
Also, in some places there are these things called "laws" that trickle down to admin, to HR, and then the dept, that cause havoc, at least when followed (probably more of an issue for state schools than for privates). For example, in some states there are caps on how much the university will pay towards a candidate's meals to avoid being "coersive"… Some depts ignore the laws and wine and dine the candidates, others follow the laws then have to suffer the embarrassment of saying "Here's $20 towards dinner, you'll have to pay for the rest of your meal. Also, don't buy any alcohol!" Sometimes, HR etc. sets strict rules on the interviews because there is a push that "all interviews must be equivalent", hence the rigid structure. It can be very frustrating from the dept side if you feel you're being forced to put forward a negative or weak image to your candidates.
Why it would have to be restricted to a "5-hour day" unless HR was in charge of the schedule? Either way it would suggest to me that the administrations doesn't support the dept or trust the faculty to run their own affairs.
That is not the case in my situation (HR running the show), so that is why I am confused at the succinctness of the interview. I do wonder if they are trying to conceal something or if it is really about money, although they are flying me half way across the country and putting me up in a very decent hotel, have private car service picking me up to and from the airport, and paying for mileage and parking at the airport, too. Mixed signals, do not know what to make of it, if anything.