Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday Funday

"Learn how parts relate to wholes and you're on your way to healthier parts and holes!"

-- Jaded Dissertator


Anonymous said...

At least it doesn't say "Learn how parts relate to holes."

Anonymous said...

I feel like a lot of the discussion on Leiter's blog (and elsewhere) regarding APA interviews has unjustifiably bound non-APA interviews to Skype. But it's not obvious that Skype/video interviews are necessarily superior to phone interviews. So, let me ask:

What are the reasons for preferring Skype/video interviews over phone interviews? And do those reasons apply for both one-on-one interviews and interviews with committees of 2-5 people?

Mr. Zero said...

It has been my experience that interviewing via Skype/videoconference is way, way better than interviewing over the phone. This is because you can see the people, which has (at least) the following benefits: it helps you know who's who; it helps you know who it is that's talking to you at any given time; it helps you keep track of who said what over the course of the interview; and it helps you to avoid the thing where you start talking at the same time as someone else, and then you both realize it and stop talking at the same time, then you both realize the other has stopped talking and start talking again at the same time, and it's really awkward and weird and feels like you did something wrong even though you didn't. Also, in my experience, Skype's sound quality is vastly better than that of your average speakerphone system.

It is true that these benefits don't apply as much if you're only talking to one person. But every tenure-track job interview I've ever had has involved at least two, if not six, interviewers. As have almost all the non-TT ones.

zombie said...

I've not interviewed by Skype, but I have been interviewed by phone, and like Mr Zero says, it is hard to talk to a group of people by phone. Not impossible, but hard. Now, having used Skype to talk to individuals, I found that the two people talking at the same time problem happens there too, maybe because there is a tiny delay in Skype transmission. But being able to see who is talking in a group situation makes Skype somewhat better than phone.
That being said, I have my current job as a result of a phone interview (with one person), and most of my colleagues were hired the same way, and we are a remarkably collegial and congenial group, and nobody turns out to be utterly crazy or jerkwaddy or unhygienic or whatever else a face-to-face interview is supposed to prevent.

Anonymous said...

The reasons given thus far for preferring Skype over phone interviews only seem to apply to interviews involving multiple SC members. But I'm curious as to whether interviews necessarily need to take that form.

One of my interviews in Boston was canceled. As an alternative, the SC decided to use a series of one-on-one phone interviews (i.e. each candidate had a separate phone interview with each of three committee members). I thought this was great. The interviews felt like normal, productive phone conversations. This by itself made them preferable to the unaffordable, inconvenient, noisy ballroom interviews at the APA. Importantly, though, the one-on-one phone interviews also seemed far superior to a Skype interview, with all of the unfamiliarity that entails for most of the parties involved.

Maybe interviewing candidates via a series of one-on-one phone conversations isn't feasible for all committees. But, for those which can, this is obviously the easiest, most convenient, least expensive way to conduct first-round interviews. It also avoids the concerns raised about the role of physical appearance (esp. for women) at this stage in the interview process.

west coast philosopher said...

I agree that Skype interview is better because both interviewer and interviewee can SEE when to shut up. With phone interviews, the audiences need a short period of silence before knowing that they can start to talk.

It also helps when one can see the facial expression of the interviewer and know who to address for a particular question. I once had a phone interview with 7 people, although they tell me their names before they spoke, I could hardly keep track of the names and the voices! There was a short period of silence when I finished discussing my dissertation,(presumably because they did not know that I was done.This make it a tiny bit awkward.

That said, I have to admit that camera adds 10 pounds.

BunnyHugger said...

I have done several phone interviews that involved several committee members. I got my current job on the basis of one of them. I don't find it bad at all. In fact, because I am somewhat insecure about my appearance, I felt a bit more confident in my phone interviews.

Glaucon said...

Well off topic, but how's this for a PFO (found on Worst Professor Ever)?

Anonymous said...

As a member of a search committee, I'd rather use Skype than the phone, but only because I can then see the various applicants. It's tough to discriminate against people based on race and general physical ugliness if I can't see what they look like.

Head shots would be a nice option, but HR seems to frown on them.


Anonymous said...

I ask for physical measurements including member size, both flacid and erect. This gives me a better sense of who the candidate is.

Anonymous said...

Off topic but of interest.
This is the info on the APA online paper submission page:


2010 Eastern Division Meeting
Boston, MA
Start date: 12/27/2010
End date: 12/30/2010

Eastern Division Meeting
Washington D.C., DC
Start date: 12/31/2010
End date: 02/16/2011

The Boston meeting is over but they still have it up there.

The dates posted for this meeting suggest that "start date" and "end date" refer to the dates of the meeting. But then why do they have 02/16/2011 for the D.C. meeting? And we can be sure the D.C. meeting won't start on 12/31/2010.

Can't they do anything right?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:45. I believe those dates are for submitting a paper. You have from the 31st of December to the middle of February to submit a paper for the 2011 Eastern.