Wednesday, December 31, 2008

First things first

"So, tell us about your research." Yeah, we all know that one. Think hard through your post-APA alcoholic haze and let us know if there were any questions that you were surprised by or should have been prepared for - in particular questions that we should add to the PS Tome of Philosophy Smoker Questions.

Sooner or later we'll have all the questions and all the answers so the interview will becomes even less informative. Yay!

-- Second Suitor

2 comments:

missamerica said...

Actually, I didn't get any curve ball questions which haven't been covered previously. So, instead, I'll mention a useful interview technique which I inadvertently found myself doing but which I don't recall anyone having mentioned heretofore.

Suppose SC member #1 asks you a rather technical question about your research. A satisfactory response would be to answer that question. But an even better response would be to first explain the question to SC members #2, #3, and #4; that is, fill in the necessary background, explain why the question's important, etc., and then answer the question.

I suspect this approach can accomplish three important things. First, it allows you to demonstrate even greater mastery of the material. Second, it keeps everyone involved in the conversation. As John Dorris helpfully pointed out on another thread, people are more likely to enjoy your interview if they can participate. Third, and more tentatively, it shows you might be the kind of colleague who can facilitate understanding among the existing faculty.

Just a thought.

Xenophon said...

Not questions, but an observation about structure. I've done two phone interviews this month, and in both the committee followed the practice of having each member of the committee ask one question (the last of which was "do you have any questions?") Since the Eastern is now history, and the remaining APAs are pretty useless, interview-wise, I guess most initial interviews will be by phone. It might be useful therefore to find out the size of the committee, and list the questions you'd ask of candidates if you only got 4 questions, or 5, or whatever. If you know the number of questions you're more likely to anticipate their content, and with only a few questions we're probably less likely to get the "if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be" questions that I've encountered in conference interviews.