Out of curiosity, for those who are currently in a tenure-track position, what are the questions that you wish that you had asked at the interview? would it have swayed your decision?
Date: 16 Nov 2013 01:27
Number of posts: 7
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I wish I had asked about salary increases and how that all works - not in a cocky way but in a matter of fact way. And I wish I had played a bit more hard ball and negotiated instead of worrying about how that might affect how I was perceived. I'm in a R1 and even with a pretty strong record, my salary does not match my effort and so I find myself back on the market because my current position won't reward hard work in terms of salary.
Yowza, are you in the Midwest region? I think we tend to be underpaid compare to folks in other parts of the country.
I would have pushed for greater evidence on some of the stated promises. Really basic things were promised (explicitly promised by people with authority) but then not delivered. When I did ask for things in writing while negotiating I was told that "writing it down constrains what I can do for you," and when I tried pushing more, it was implied the offer might be revoked. This did cause me to wonder about the ethics of this particular department (concerns that time has shown were prescient), but as an ABD in a tough market I was hesitant to push harder for specific promises in writing.
In hindsight I probably should have pushed for more explicit pledges, however at the same time I've also learned that written promises don't mean anything when there is a strong power imbalance (i.e. untenured faculty member vs. administration). So perhaps this wouldn't have done much, but it would have at least given me a bit more of a platform to stand on when fighting endlessly over basic issues impeding on my work productivity.
As someone working at a SLAC, I wish I had asked something about the willingness of the department's faculty to work together (even asking for a concrete example of a project/event/policy change that was successful because of their cooperation). Shortly after starting in my current position, it became apparent that many of my new colleagues wouldn't let go of old grudges and let their feelings get in the way of making decisions that could benefit the entire department.
Most certainly about salary increases, other than those occurring for tenure decisions - are they given year-to-year? Merit raises? That sort of thing. I'll be asking my new department chair now after the hiring, but I'm nervous.
I have a tenure-track job at a SLAC, and I *did* negotiate fairly hard and asked for things in writing. They were very happy to comply and stuck with me through the negotiating. That actually made the job offer sit better with me in the long run - they seemed to want me, and since I've gotten the job they've been very willing to play ball in terms of helping me settle in, find money for what I need, etc.