In which issues concerning the profession of philosophy are bitched about
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
"Do you have any questions?"
In the "Waiting Around" thread below, a Smoker relays an anecdote about a job candidate who seems oddly incurious about the job and school, which doesn't make a good impression on the interviewers. One of the things you get asked constantly on a campus visit (in my experience) is if you have any questions about the college/U/job, etc. This question typically comes from almost any/every person and/or committee you spend any time with during your visit, including the faculty members who pick you up from the airport and take you to meals. It can get kind of awkward, especially since you don't really want to keep asking the same question of everyone (in case they compare notes, so to speak), but at the same time, you don't want to come off as if you really don't care or have no interest or curiosity at all. Charming people skilled at small talk can probably do this easily. But we're philosophers. It's a tricky situation to be in, and one a candidate should be prepared for, i.e. you need to have ready a bunch of sincere questions you can ask that show that you're interested in the school and job. To some extent, asking the right questions comes down to having a feel for what your possible colleagues think are important considerations. For instance, if they are really trying to sell you on the location or community, you might ask some substantive questions about that, starting with ice breakers about how long they've been there and how they like living there. If they are really interested in knowing how you would approach the job, questions about what kind of multidisciplinary research and teaching opportunities are available, and so on can be appropriate.
I'll turn it over to the Smokers: What questions do you ask when you're asked "Do you have any questions?"