Thursday, December 16, 2010

What Are Interviews Like?

In comments, Fulci asks,

I had a mock interview today that was like my dissertation defense but vastly more aggressive. I was shocked and responded VERY badly. Is this what interviews are really like? As soon as it started my thought was: I wouldn't want to work with jerks like this anyway. Are liberal arts interviews like this? If they are, I'm canceling mine. I'm terrified now...


I've had just a few interviews, but I've never had a real one that was close to as aggressive as the mock interview I was given before I went on the market for the first time. My mock interviewers told me that they would be far more aggressive than any real interview situation I was likely to encounter, so that I'd find my actual interviews relatively tame. (Also, my interviewers said this ahead of time, so I knew it was coming.)

It has been my experience that the less "research" oriented a department, the less aggressive the questioning. I had an interview with a highly teaching oriented department that did not touch on my research at all, although I think that's pretty unusual.

What say you, Smokers?

--Mr. Zero

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've had something like 20 interviews over the past few years, and they've never been aggressive. Most of these were for teaching schools, but the interviews for the couple of research schools were also amiable.

Now the philosophy smoker itself...that's a whole other story. There I could really use some advice.

Anonymous said...

I conduct mock interviews for PhD students. I try to make the experience a mix of what I have actually experienced and the worst case scenario--where those are not exclusive.

ABD said...

Great topic. I had an interview with a state university, high teaching load, and there was only one question about research. The rest was about teaching, and the interviewers were NOT aggressive at all.

I am curious if any smokers have any info about interviews with elite liberal arts colleges. I am told there is a difference between an interview at, say, Swarthmore, than at an average SLAC. Anyone have any experience?

Anonymous said...

I've had some nasty interviews, and not just for R1 schools. I had one in particular where one person asked the most bizarre questions in the most aggressive manner. She was clearly out to eliminate me. It worked. I wouldn't want to work with someone like her.

I should add, though, that the "nice" interviewers can lull you into thinking they're your friends and get you with your guard down.

The best ones are critical but cordial.

Anonymous said...

My school is notorious for intentionally giving us horrible/uncomfortable mock interview experiences.

The thought is that they do you a better service by preparing for the possible (but perhaps unlikely) scenario where the guy next to you is a bit of a jerk.

You need to learn to keep your cool in those situations.

Plus, if you're prepared for an uncomfortable experience...it makes a good interview go that much better.

Anonymous said...

I agree that your department is purposely trying to give you a hard time in the mock interview. I think it's good -- it totally kicked my ass and made me work on my weak spots before the APA. I've had about 30 interviews total at a variety of places and about four that stand out as unnecessarily aggressive and downright rude. These were all at research-oriented departments. But my advice is that any time you step into a philosophy job interview with any school, you should be prepared for a jerk in the room.

cogitated said...

"any time you step into a philosophy job interview with any school, you should be prepared for a jerk in the room"

Isn't this more general? ...as in, any time you step into a room with philosophers in it, you should be prepared for a jerk in the room.


Word verification = lingledl. Use: "He lingledl way too long at that bar at the smoker."

Anonymous said...

I've had a lot of interviews, and they've varied pretty widely. But generally I'd say that even the toughest research-oriented interviews have been generally friendly. I think that most people want the candidates to do well. In fact, I'd worry more about the possibility that you'll be deceived into thinking you're doing OK than that someone will be mean to you. Try to read the subtle signs of dissatisfaction with your answers if possible, and follow up with the dissatisfied questioner if you can.

zombie said...

I've never yet had an interview with anyone aggressive or jerky. They've all been cordial and polite. I'll be having an APA interview with a research school this year, so I'm curious to see how different it might be.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever called out a (*real*) jerk on his or her jerkiness? How did that go? I could see something like that sinking you but, on the other hand, if someone is being unnecessarily rude, I'd prefer to voice my discomfort, and assert myself as a human being. Hell, maybe it would even shift the power dynamic a bit and make the interview less unpleasant.

Or maybe not. At the very least, it might make for a story. So, how about it? Has anyone ever called a jerky interviewer's bluff? (Pure curiosity on my part.)

BunnyHugger said...

I've had numerous APA and phone interviews, all with teaching-oriented schools. At least 90% of them were extremely friendly and made me feel at ease. I was surprised by this at first (especially since I, too, had a really harsh mock interview in grad school). I rarely get asked much (if anything) about my research when I do preliminary interviews with teaching schools.

Anonymous said...

As a search committee member, I have often been embarassed by my colleagues behavior in interviews. One interviewee called one of my (really annoying) colleagues out on a being a jerk in a really awesome way. I thought he handled the situation well and it made me want to be his colleague. It made me see that he could handle my jerk colleague. We ended up hiring him and its been fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I've experienced some aggressive behavior with interviewers. Almost always they've been women (this could just be coincidental), who scour my writing sample, trying to find any little error in the argument with which to skewer my candidacy. So, now what I do is ask in advance who all the interviewers will be, find all their recent publications (it always surprises me how few have publications less than 3 years old), read them and when pressed, turn it around on them and skewer them for questionable premises, poor inferences, etc. I've found that this tactic wins respect (one committee member even said "touche!" after I had turned it around on the aggressive committee member), but so far it has not netted me a job.

Anonymous said...

"One interviewee called one of my (really annoying) colleagues out on a being a jerk in a really awesome way."


Specific details, phrased as a step-by-step guide to accomplishing the exact same thing, please.

Anonymous said...

there are a lot of scenarios that appear aggressive when you are on the receiving end, but where the interviewers don't realize that they are doing anything that could be experienced as aggressive. You are always more sensitive to these things when it is your life and livelihood on the line.

Of my interviews, about one third were mildly to extremely aggressive. I was glad the mock interviews had been tough. But aggressive interviews indicate jack crap about what these people will be like as future colleagues, so don't write a school off because of an aggressive interview. If the campus visit (not just the job talk, but the visit) has that tone, then be concerned.

Anonymous said...

also: aggressive does not equal rude. Sometimes you can have very aggressive questioners who are not being rude. Regardless of what one thinks about it, it is without a doubt a key part of our field that questions (on interesting work, of people one likes and admires, between friends even) are often very aggressive.

Anonymous said...

How did he call him out, Anonymous?

Fulci said...

Anon 7:27, how was the jerky colleague called out in a "really awesome way"? The way I did it in my mock interview was just to turn into Joe Pesci, which wasn't really awesome at all.

I will say, though, that the mock-interview was valuable in showing me just how unprepared I am for interviews. After I'm done grading 10,000 exams I'll get right on it!

The Original SLACker Prof said...

"I am curious if any smokers have any info about interviews with elite liberal arts colleges. I am told there is a difference between an interview at, say, Swarthmore, than at an average SLAC. Anyone have any experience?"

I interviewed with two elite SLACs when I was on the market two years ago. In both cases, most of the conversation was about my research. They did ask questions about teaching interests, but neither asked me any pedagogy questions. In fact, there was no discernible difference between my interviews with research departments and the good SLACs.

A-158 said...

Pretty much what everyone else said.

At my mock interview, the profs were pretty tough. One of them was deliberately rude (not a stretch for him). Another kept butting in while I was talking. (Not her normal modus operandi. She said she wanted to see how I'd react.) I didn't find the rudeness or the interruptions particularly helpful. I did find it helpful to practice my answers with a live audience.

I had around 15 APA interviews over the past five years, for 3/3 and 4/4 TT spots.

Everyone was friendly, except for one guy. I didn't get the sense that he was deliberately provoking me though. I think he was just a jerk.

The 4/4's typically didn't ask about research. They were mostly interested in teaching. The 3/3's asked about both.

Interviews in suites were more-or-less the same as the ballroom interviews.

I've been interviewed by anywhere from 2 to 6 people. Montclair State brought the whole department to the interviews in NYC a few years ago. I had 2 or 3 interviewers most of the time.

One school recorded my interview, so they could let others hear it back on campus. That felt a bit weird.

modus said...

My graduate department also gives difficult mock interviews. They push hard, and are very combative and cut-throat. Yes, I've been rattled at the beginning of them. But of the ten or so APA interviews I've ever been on, most were pretty friendly and not even close to as being difficult as the mock interviews.

The interviews I went on were public teaching schools and top SLACs. One from each group had some combativeness. The worst was one from the former. The chair kept interrupting every few minutes (no exaggeration) pointing to his watch and saying that we had to hurry it up. The faculty member with whom I was engaging in a discussion about my research even seemed annoyed by the chair's behavior. There was one other interview by a public teaching school during which one of the faculty members came at me in a combative way.

The best thing, seriously, is to remember that you don't know these people, and just to be yourself. During mock interviews, I was very nervous because I knew the people interviewing me, since they were my professors, and I highly respected them. At the APA interviews, I didn't know them or only knew them by name, and in those few interviews where someone was being a little irrascible, I wasn't rattled. My ability to keep my composure was in large part due to the mock interviews. But also it had to do with my perspective. When I encountered someone close to being an asshole, I saw them more as a nerd kid in high school coming close to throwing a tantrum. I felt like saying "dude, relax" and laughing. Perspective.

And, as I said, be yourself. Sounds cliche but it's so true. I was at an on-campus interview for a top SLAC, and I considered it as just a great opportunity to meet students and faculty at a top school, and see the school. I wasn't consumed with whether or not I'm going to get the job. I just wanted to have a good time being there - sharing my work, talking shop, shooting the shit about this and that. In the end, I didn't get that job, but I was their second choice (they went with an internal faculty member). They were great, I had a good time, and I'm sure they did too.

Just go in and do your best, and doing your best will require being the way you know best, which is just being yourself. Yes, it's hard, but you have to try.

Mr. Zero said...

I've experienced some aggressive behavior with interviewers. Almost always they've been women (this could just be coincidental),

Yeah. Because men are never, ever aggressive.

who scour my writing sample, trying to find any little error in the argument with which to skewer my candidacy.

This seems more than slightly paranoid: "All these women are aggressively trying to skewer my candidacy!" They're supposed to read your writing sample carefully, find problems, and ask you challenging questions. It's a philosophy job interview, for crying out loud. They're not trying to skewer your candidacy. They're interviewing you.

Here's where it gets really good.

So, now what I do is ask in advance who all the interviewers will be, find all their recent publications (it always surprises me how few have publications less than 3 years old)...

Because philosophy journals just started publishing articles by women 3 years ago. (Seriously, though. What does this remark even mean?)

read them and when pressed, turn it around on them and skewer them for questionable premises, poor inferences, etc.

This guy finds out who his interviewers are, finds and carefully reads their work, and then, in the interview, when he's asked a tough question, says, "Oh yeah? Well in your article, you say blah blah blah and that's totally wrong." Bullshit.

I've found that this tactic wins respect (one committee member even said "touche!" after I had turned it around on the aggressive committee member)...

Also bullshit. This does not win respect.

but so far it has not netted me a job.

Duh.

Anonymous said...

Trying to call a jerk out as a jerk "in a really awesome way" is pretty risky business. I recommend grace under fire instead. Just be totally unflappable. Try to occupy a state of Zen-like mild amusement (without being condescending). Try, even, to feel affection for the jerk. It's highly unlikely that everyone in the room will be a jerk, and they will be impressed at your confidence and poise.

Anyway, this strategy has almost always gone over very well for me. I think it's an especially good strategy for women.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Zero, feeling a bit aggressive are we? Why not let the young lady be? Have you ever had a restraining order against you? Thought so.

BunnyHugger said...

A-158:

To add to your data about number of interviewers, I will say that I have been interviewed most commonly by two people, and not uncommonly by only one. Many of the schools I have been interviewed by were very small.

Anonymous said...

"now what I do is ask in advance who all the interviewers will be, find all their recent publications (it always surprises me how few have publications less than 3 years old), read them and when pressed, turn it around on them and skewer them for questionable premises, poor inferences, etc. I've found that this tactic wins respect"

This strikes me as exactly the wrong thing to do. It makes you sound overly defensive, and more interested in showing someone up than in genuinely engaging in philosophical problems.

For the record, this is my first year on the job market but I was told that I did extremely well at my mock interviews. My strategy for dealing with an aggressive interviewer was to simply ignore their aggressiveness and answer the question as if it had been posed in a respectful way, even to the point of acknowledging that the interviewer had a good/interesting point (if it in fact was good/interesting). Of course, you don't want to be obsequious, but losing your cool and/or indulging in petty combativeness just makes you look bad. On the flip side, maintaining a respectful and cordial tone when your interlocutor is acting like a jerk makes you look like the better man/woman, and highlights the interviewer's jerkiness.

The best compliment I got at my mock interviews was that I was 'unflappable'. So I really do think that calm and in control is the way to go (easier said than done, I know).

Anonymous said...

So, now what I do is ask in advance who all the interviewers will be, find all their recent publications (it always surprises me how few have publications less than 3 years old)...

Because philosophy journals just started publishing articles by women 3 years ago. (Seriously, though. What does this remark even mean?)

Come on Mr Zero, don't be so thick. They're saying few profs at the schools they're interviewing have had publications in the last 3 years (i.e., they don't publish much).

Anonymous said...

"One school recorded my interview, so they could let others hear it back on campus. That felt a bit weird."

Yeah that's called interview porn. Belongs in the SM category, next to the snuff films.

Anonymous said...

Last year I had two interviews w/ SLACs and one VAP interview w/ an elite LAC. One of the SLACs asked me no questions about my research whatsoever, while the other SLAC and the elite LAC did, but only a couple of questions. No one was even remotely aggressive. This year I've phone interviewed w/ 3 teaching-oriented state schools, and they also asked a couple of questions about my research, but the rest of the interview was teaching-focused, and the aggression level was again zero. Of course, phone interviewing likely has something to do with this--it's difficult to have much back-and-forth via phone anyway, since most departments are doing this via conference call, and sometimes it's difficult to hear the people who are further away from the phone, etc. But I also suspect that my work may play some role in the lack of aggression: I work in feminist philosophy, and it strikes me that the sorts of departments that are very interested in hiring feminists might also be the ones who self-select against overly hostile/aggressive questioners.

Anonymous said...

Are you called Dr. Zero in homage to Darryl Zero?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:41,

I've been interviewed by a hostile feminist...they're called militant, and if you haven't met one yet, then you haven't been studying feminism for very long.

Anonymous said...

I've had a bunch of interviews, and I've never had anyone be a serious jerk. All of them were professional, at a minimum, and most of them were friendly. I did have someone ask me if I really did my AOS or whether I was really a different AOS (one of my AOCs) "in disguise." That was weird and I found out later that it was an expression of buyers remorse about someone else in the department (and it was not really about me or my AOS at all). It's strange to navigate jerkiness aimed at absent others, but it seems best just not to be distracted by it.

My mock interview was vicious and filled with theatrics. For example, the "distracted" member got up in my spiel to noisily try to open a window that everyone knew was sealed shut, then came back to leaf through my writing sample, interrupting me with "I haven't read this thoroughly, but do you seriously mean that..." and proceeded to attack a caricature of a point I made. It actually helped a lot even when my actual interviews were friendly philosophical discussions--they were still filled with a variety of distractions. I've conducted mock interviews since, and have tried to run them to be as distracting as possible without being theatrical (the window was too much, but aggressively caricaturing is good, especially if different members of the committee draw different caricatures).

More generally, two of the interviews were at R1s (including the one mentioned above), and they were very detailed on research and the writing sample. In one, we just skipped my spiel altogether, and the chair of the committee opened with, "On p. 19 of your writing sample, you say the following..." and the conversation went from there. Detailed, challenging, tough, and very friendly (weird question about AOS aside). The other R1 was similar, as was an elite LAC, but with no direct quoting from my writing sample. In all three cases, 3/4 of the interview was about my work, 1/4 was about teaching. The teaching questions were all of the "what would you teach in course X" sort, and not of the "how would you handle the following situation" sort.

A few were 3/2 and 3/3 SLACS that were about half and half research to teaching. The research conversations were quite different from the R1s, though. It was less that I was being challenged to defend my position, but rather being challenged to present it in a way comprehensible to the widest possible audience. Whether or not they said it explicitly, they seemed to be testing my teaching ability (and some just said it: "How would you explain your research to an advanced undergraduate?"). Teaching questions were more explicitly about style and pedagogy along with content. They also ranged from the fluffy ("If I walked into your class on a good day of teaching, what would I see?") to the very concrete ("As we said in our [non-Ethics AOS] ad, whoever we hire will teach our Ethics 102 course. How would you approach Plato's Republic in that course?"--this borders on jerktown, since it is a kind of pop quiz). Oh, and one of them opened with the question, "What questions do you have about us," which was a startling reversal.

Finally, one was at a 4/4 state school and there were some very good, crisp questions about my research for about 1/3 of the interview, followed by a variety of questions about teaching from what I would have on a syllabus to how I would handle a non-participating student, to how I would deal with students of widely differing preparations for college work, to how I would contribute to a budding interdisciplinary major. The wide range of topics forced me to shift gears quickly and repeatedly, but it was very well done by the interviewers.

Keep your cool, as 5:04 said, and just try not to be distracted by jerkiness or anything else.

Anonymous said...

Most interviews - like most people - are friendly, or at least civilized. But there is always an occasional sociopath who do his/her best to traumatize the candidate.
If the latter happens to you, just treat it as a threatening behavior from a tiny Chihuahua: stay calm, smile a lot, and try not to kick the little motherfucker to death... After all, it is a little, insecure dog which can do no real damage however hard it would try.

Anonymous said...

So I have a related but slightly tangential question here. A friend is going to put in for the DePaul job. He does Heidegger, so the faculty there (which is heavily 20th century German) would be ideal for him.

However, he's got doubts because of the situation with Namita Goswami being denied tenure. This seems like a plausible allegation of unfair treatment - and, presumably, given the date of posting of the advert (December 3rd on JFP), this search is to find her replacement. In other words, he's applying to this job whilst suspecting that he would be replacing someone who may have been treated unfairly. Is this ethically defensible? And from a practical perspective, how is this likely to play in any interview? Whoever is interviewed may be seen as a potential replacement for her - so may naturally and understandably be the target of hostility from her friends. Any thoughts on how we ought to react to obvious splits and quarrels within a department when they spill out at interview?

Verification word: ashot. But how is that pronounced? Is it as in "I really hope to get 'a shot' at a good interview this year" or "I felt like a total 'asshat' when I couldn't answer that question about McDowell in my interview."?

Anonymous said...

Though this is tangential, it does somewhat relate to interview etiquette. When interviewing in the ballroom, how do you know when to approach a table? Is there a way to tell if the search committee is talking among themselves or if they’re still interviewing a candidate? I had an idea to make this easier and shared it with one of the APA reps in the job placement room at the conference last year, but she didn’t really seem interested. Here’s my idea: The APA could add another table stand to each table (currently, each table has only one table stand and it shows the table number) and give each table a green and a red card. When the search committee is in the process of interviewing a candidate or doesn’t want to be disturbed for whatever reason, they will put the red card in the table stand. When they are ready for the next candidate to approach, they put the green card in the table stand. This idea is easy and inexpensive and would prevent the awkwardness of hovering by the tables wondering when to approach. Does anyone have any other ideas?

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that graduate departments should do more than drill you on the worst-case scenarios. The last 1-2 mock interviews they run should be realistic ones to accurately gauge how prepared candidates are and to boost their confidence, which keeps them relaxed and in a positive state of mind.

And if you don't get one of these confidence-boosting mock interviews, that means your graduate department is trying to tell you to find a different job. That is, we're all screwed.

Verification: "butwi"...it figures...

Hank said...

Lots of excellent advice here. And people learn these kinds of tips by going through multiple over multiple interviews. The upshot: take all of the advice, do your best, and learn from your mistakes. No, this will not guarantee you a job in the end, but it sure as hell will give yourself the best run for your money. It appears that most candidates get their TT jobs somewhere after their first or second year on the market. There are a whole host of reasons for that for sure, but I suspect that the interview practice gained the first years has something to do with that.

And now for ultra practical advice: if you are being interviewed at the APA, MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR INTERVIEWS ARE BEING HELD. I was being interviewed a few years back at the APA in Baltimore, and my first interview was in another hotel in which I needed a taxi to get there. And I had to figure that all out in 20 min! I just didn't think the APA would be so dense to do something like that, so I learned my lesson the hard way. I did not get that job - my mind was in a state of whirlwind when I sat down to talk with my interviewers.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:33 suggested a mechanism for clarifying whether an SC is ready for the next candidate in a ballroom interview; here's mine.

Every table has a stand with a light bulb at the top. When the light bulb turns bright blue, it's time for the candidate to come on down! This'll not only avoid unintended intrusiveness on the part of job market candidates, but invest the whole glory of the APA ballroom with a K-Mart-like shopping excitement!

A-158 said...

BunnyHugger:

I was interviewed by one person just once. I had forgotten about it. It was a Northern State College. The department had 5-6 profs, but no philosophy program, i.e., no philosophy degrees. They were running two searches, and sent two profs to do the interviews, one for each search.

Interviewing with one person is good in some ways. You're just talking to one person. As long as you get along, great.

Interviewing with two is ok, as long as they sit together. I had an interview with two who sat on opposite sides of me. When I was talking to one, I couldn't see the other. Awkward.

Interviewing with six can be a pain. On one occasion, the table actually broke up into three conversations. I was talking about my research, someone asked a question, I said "well, you could say this or that," and bam, everyone was talking. One was still talking to me, two to each other, and the other three to each other. Took a while to get everyone back together.

I interviewed w/ 4 once, where one guy showed up late. He walked in half-way through the interview. Really nice guy though.

A-158 said...

How long are interviews?

Mine have varied in length from 20 minutes to 50 minutes. These were APA interviews.

I had one interview last for almost two hours. It was scheduled for 45 minutes, but we were having a really good talk, and I think I was the last for that day. (Hope I was!) Anyway, despite that, I didn't get a fly-out.

The Derivative SLACkerProf said...

For elite SLACs be prepared to deal primarily with research questions, while at the same time having to knock the teaching questions out of the park. Your mid-tenure review will make sure you are a teaching superstar, while tenure standards at these places are now on par with R1s (book, articles, second book in the pipeline), so SCs are very concerned about tenurability.

Also, if you can come up with some great ideas for undergraduate research, this is big. One of the selling points of an elite SLAC to students is the ability to work closely with faculty on individualized reearch projects. Depending on field, this is nearly impossible to do well, but showing you've thought of the possibilities and difficulties will help tremendously.

Anonymous said...

Fulci,

Why not stick to film making? Or is the Giallo industry not doing so hot these days? (Must not be, I just saw an ad for a new movie version of Jane Eyre, featuring the music of Goblin.)

Anonymous said...

How can you tell?

Here's two hints:

(1) You have a scheduled time; they are almost never so crowded that you have to help the previous interviewee out of his/her seat

(2) Look at the table: interviewees sit on the far side of the table.

The red green idea is silly.

Dr. Killjoy said...

Ol' Doc Killjoy wants to remind all you marketeers that you should expect to be called out on your purported AOCs.

Beware: if we get even a whiff of padding, you'll acquire a permanent stink powerful enough to overwhelm an otherwise pleasant interview. Flubbing a basic question about one of the eight AOCs you listed makes you look like a disingenuous goof--seriously, no one likes a padder.

Be Rad, Don't Pad!

Fulci said...

Anon 7:58, I got out of the Giallo racket in 1982 with the New York Ripper--the culmination of the genre. I'm going to see if this philosophy business works first, and, if not, will make a fourth entry to the Gates of Hell series, in which the only people eaten will be philosophers.

JD said...

Hank,

That particular hassle, having to rush to an interview in a different hotel, was specific to Baltimore. The meeting will be there again in 2013.

The problem is that there aren't any hotels in Baltimore that will give the APA enough rooms for interviewing departments. There won't be any similar problem in Boston, and there never is in Philadelphia or Washington or NY. (I have never been to an Atlanta meeting.) But quite a few (or anyway some very vocal) philosophers complain about having the meeting in the big expensive cities, so the Eastern APA as a compromise has slid Baltimore into the rotation. It's a trade-off. I personally don't like it, but I'm sure some people do.

Anonymous said...

For the love of god, don't call out the jerks. This is much more likely to backfire than draw you praise (the anecdote above notwithstanding). As others have suggested, jerkiness in this context is not well correlated with jerkiness over the long haul. The other department members have likely learned to live with this person's social gracelessness and you calling them out is just going to sound a warning: Everybody wants a happy department. A happy department can have an ass or two, but conflict between otherwise decent people can make for a very very unhappy department indeed.

Most of us will be more impressed by your ability to get along with a difficult person than embarrass them or stand up for yourself (unnecessarily).

Anonymous said...

The red/green idea is silly. We should use a system of flags. That's silly and cool.

Anonymous said...

8:28;
I'm thinking hats.

Anonymous said...

Any of you had a skype interview this year? I recently had my first, and it was a strange experience. The SC was quite tightly spaced chair by chair. The eye contact thing is always a bit bothersome in skype (when people look at the screen, they don't actually look into the camera, so that the result is that they don't directly look at you), but I found it especially confusing during the interview. For the rest it was a surprisingly thorough discussion of mostly research - if they don't hire me, they at least had a very in-depth look at some of my papers...

Anonymous said...

Fulci:

"will make a fourth entry to the Gates of Hell series, in which the only people eaten will be philosophers."

Cannot wait to see this one. The setting will be the Eastern APA, yes?

In the mean time, maybe some underemployed philosopher with a side interest in indie filmmaking could do a brutal-funny expose documentary film on the E. APA.

Something along the lines of those spelling bee, Scrabble, and Donkey Kong docs. Or American Movie and Story of Anvil. What the hell, probably more like Grizzly Man.

It could be called "Jobs for Philosophers."

Anonymous said...

I've found that elite SLAC's definitely like to talk about research, but that these conversations are easier and less aggressive than they are with research programs, b/c there is less overlap between research areas at a SLAC, and those who are interviewing you from a SLAC are less likely to be highly informed about your research area.

Anonymous said...

In the mean time, maybe some underemployed philosopher with a side interest in indie filmmaking could do a brutal-funny expose documentary film on the E. APA.

Something along the lines of those spelling bee, Scrabble, and Donkey Kong docs. Or American Movie and Story of Anvil. What the hell, probably more like Grizzly Man.


We need to write a collective letter to Werner Herzog petitioning him to do this. I would love to see that movie.

Fulci said...

Anon 8:06AM, great idea! We know the story already: the hotel hosting the Eastern APA was built over one of the gates of hell, and some plumber fixing Jerry Fodor's bidet unleashes zombie mayhem. The philosophers are so consumed with abusing interviewees that they can't escape even the painfully slow Fulci zombies. The climax is the scene where Kit Fine simultaneously fights both a zombie AND a shark!

Anonymous said...

That's far too Hollywood.

The film is titled "The Philosophy Smoker".

We start with a sad looking lower-middle income type home, with a mid-30's man having a brief breakfast with the wife and two kids (one in high chair). Sitter arrives, and mom and our star head out in their piece of shit car so that she can be dropped off at her $8/hr job and he starts his drive to the local for profit college.

It's winter in the middle of nowhere-ville in the midwest. A dusting of snow as we drive.

After she's dropped off we learn that this college pays him $2800 a term to teach intro logic, and another $2800 to teach intro ethics. This year he's got two other similar jobs (at two other colleges) that he drives between. He's not got health insurance. Last year he'd taught two more, but this year he cut back so he could write more and get the publications to get out (the kids will suffer at Xmas; mother in law will help out on that front with what little she has).

Most of the scenes are him teaching--a decent and honest guy doing what he can. Lots of shots of him in the home office trying to work, but trying to help with the kids. (Lots of dishes about, not a tidy place).

We are shown the bound copy of his dissertation from mid-30's rank Leiter U, of which he's overly proud about which he tells us his supervisor and reader were excited and had high hopes for (it's now 2010, dissertation is 2007...).

We learn he's off the APA. Before that we have an excited moment in which he gets an R and R for a paper he's had under review for some time (from a good journal).

We follow his scramble to get interviews, which he lands, and his efforts to get a suit. His family suffers the expense of his trip to Boston.

At this point it's all hopeful. Lots of shots heading to interview. Uneasy moments at smoker. Calling his wife to tell her he thinks it went well.

Back home, anxious waiting. One fly out. We go with him. Again it's hopeful, but no offer.

Doom and gloom. Our star is seen chatting with the Dean of for-profit college about next year. He can have only of of the two courses.

We watch him open his email as his revised version is rejected.

Fade to black.

Caption tells us that our star wins a teaching award and thinks things are looking up for next year.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11.12am, your version sounds more like the Aki Kaurismäki version.

Xenophon said...

Do for profit colleges give teaching awards? I thought the Phoenix model was that all instructors are interchangeable.

Anonymous said...

Is the Philosophy dream that adjuncts can rise from rags to riches with a little grit and imagination - or fall from the top rungs to lesser positions if they can't cut it - mostly a myth? There is far less mobility up and down the academic ladder than most philosophers believe. Class based on economic and social differences remains a powerful force in academic life and has come to play a greater, not lesser, role over the last three decades.

What fools many adjuncts is the sight of high achievers vaulting from poor or obscure backgrounds to positions of power and wealth. But beneath this veneer of super-achievers, recent scholarship shows, many adjuncts find themselves mired in the same place as their parents, with profound implications for their health and education, as well as other aspects of their lives.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/30/opinion/30mon3.html

substitution salva veritate?

Anonymous said...

Xenophon said...
Do for profit colleges give teaching awards? I thought the Phoenix model was that all instructors are interchangeable.


Sure they do. When you unlock the achievement it goes into your online trophy case.

Anonymous said...

The movie should be called "APA: The 120 Days of Sodom." Different Italian director, however.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:28 for the win! Best post ever? Maybe so.

Anonymous said...

How common is a 20-25 minute APA interview?

I realize some SCs either 1) want to interview as many candidates as they can or 2) can only spend one day at the APA conducting interviews (perhaps b/c of budget constraints). And I'm not exactly looking for a 2 hour interview, or anything like that. But a 20-25 minute interview seems rather short.

In a situation like this, isn't it more likely that the committee has a ranked list of candidates and that the short interviews are used more as a means to confirm the initial ranking?

seasoned vet said...

20-25-minute interviews are standard for many (I think most) departments. There's no need to fret about it. Congrats!