Could those of you who have been on search committees give some tips for on-campus interviews? I have been told that one of the most important things is to connect with specific faculty members with ideas about potential collaborative projects but I'm not sure the best way to do this without seeming pushy. Is it better to express a more general interest and discuss how what someone is doing is related to your work or do you think that it would be good to have specific ideas about collaborations you would be interested in? Any other advice?
Date: 17 Oct 2013 18:03
Number of posts: 8
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Interviewing at an R1? If so, I do agree that is important. Interviewing at an R2 or SLAC? Not so much, as often you are the only one in your specific research realm. It is generally important for the faculty member to perceive you as a good colleague, but that is not simply research interests. A love of teaching, advising, etc. can be shared, as can talking about other mutual interests. They want to know you can fit in there, so expressing why that school/program is a great match for you is key, as is what the program gains by having you!
ask questions and show a genuine interest in what the other faculty are doing. If you have no interest and nothing to ask pops into mind, that might be a good sign that you don't want to be there,
My advice is to have a sense of the work of the people you will be meeting with. But don't feel like you have to know everything.
People will be happy talk about whatever. Also, don't be afraid to ask different people the same question over and over. Like, even though someone else has already told you that most faculty live, say, in the next town over, or that the teaching load is liveable, or the grant support staff is excellent, or the travel money is great when you get another person the conversation drags, and he or she says, "So, I bet you have a lot of questions for me" the right answer is not "no". It is to just ask that person the same questions you no longer have!
Also, think before you speak. Sometimes an ad specifically mentions, for instance, courses a department is hoping to cover with a position. If someone asks you if you could teach one of those courses, don't blurt out, "No."
I agreed with beenthere. Just show that you are interested in their work but without over studying their work before hand. You gotto let them have a chance to "show-off" (you won't if you know it all" and this strategy generally works.
Thanks everyone. I guess I should have mentioned that I applied to primarily R1 schools with a few R2s in very desirable locations for me family-wise. I had a couple of interviews last year and had one offer that I ended up turning down (didn't like location or department) but a couple places that I really liked ended up offering to someone else. I realize that it could have been any number of reasons including research fit (which I can't change). I feel like my talk is pretty solid but I want to make sure to do everything I can to secure the right position this time around!
I've had faculty in my current department feel that interviewees "did not do their homework" if they seemed to not know specifics about out department or some of the people in it. In short, if things are public, such as on the department website ("We offer an MA and a PhD in clincial psych."), and then you ask about them ("Do you guys have a grad program?"), you'll certainly look silly. I'd at least know things about the people where you are interviewing who are in your area. And yes I'd consider if there are potential collaborations for you in or out the department. This is especially important at schools looking to increase grant submissions and multidisciplinary grants/collaborations or centers.
If you want general advice, put your best foot forward at all times. I'd never tell someone to act differently than they normally would, but remember that you're being judged at all times, like it or not, and that some might read into almost anything you do. For example, be nice to the waiters when the department takes you out to dinner!!! ;-)
usatoday30 (dot) usatoday (dot) com/money/companies/management/2006-04-14-ceos-waiter-rule_x (dot) htm
My best piece of advice is to try to talk less and listen more.
By doing this you can gain a real sense of what an institution is like (i.e., what is their teaching/research foci, how can you best "fit in") and then spin your own interview to better fit the school. Even more importantly, if you let others do the talking, you can gain deeper insight into how an institution operates - i.e., is it a good place to work at?