Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Interview Days?

An anonymous Smoker asks:

I am planning on purchasing flights for the APA in advance in the hopes of avoiding higher prices later. What assumptions are safe to make about when interviews are held during the conference? Should I assume that an interview could be on any of the four days (27-30th), or just the two full days (28-29th)? It would be nice to avoid the expense of unnecessary extra hotel nights.
I've never had an interview at the APA that wasn't on the 28th or the 29th. My sense is that it's fairly unusual for interviews to be scheduled that first day, and maybe a little less so for the last day. But you'd probably be pretty safe if you were to plan to be in town for just those two days.

That said, I wouldn't want to plan to arrive on the 28th for an interview on the 28th. Flights are always late, and you want to be rested and non-harried on the day of the interview. You probably knew that, though.

What say you, Smokers? Am I wrong?

--Mr. Zero

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had three interviews last year: one each on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The Wednesday interviewing college tried to frontload; most of their interviews (for my position) were on Tuesday, and I was one of the lucky few to get a Wednesday morning interview. Don't assume that interviewers will be flexible, *especially* if they are hiring for multiple positions.

Anonymous said...

Just the two days. 1) Many interviewers will want to spend as little time at the APA as possible. 2) Some will want to get drunk with their friends on the night of the third day, and don't want to worry about having to get up to interview a candidate the next day. 3) Buyers' market or not, a department that wants to interview you thinks VERY highly of you, and will do what it can to accommodate your schedule.

Anonymous said...

I also wouldn't arrive on the day of your interview if you can manage an extra hotel night. Mine were scheduled (four years ago) mostly on the 28th and 29th, although I did also have two interviews on the morning of the 30th. And I do know someone that year who had an interview on the 27th (although that may have been due to scheduling problems). How flexible they can be may depend how early they get hold of you in their scheduling. But I found they were generally pretty good about working around my other interviews, so that gives me hope that SCs are generally pretty accommodating, if they can be. And I agree with 7:33 that if you're at the interview stage, unless the department is full of assholes, they want you to think well of them.

Anonymous said...

Last year I had interviews at both extremes of the APA schedule - one in the late afternoon of the 27th and another at noon on the 30th. As I recall neither of these offered much flexibility - and they seemed relieved that I was available to fit their schedules. Being available on the 30th is pretty easy to accommodate if you schedule your departure flight for late the same day.

zombie said...

I had three interviews the year of the "great blizzard" in Boston, and as I recall, they were the two middle days. But that was the year the schedules were thrown into chaos because of cancelled flights. Less likely for an adverse weather event in Atlanta.
When you are invited to interview, you will be offered a range of times to select from, although your choices will be limited depending on how many people they call before you.
I would advise arriving the first night, so that you are rested for your interviews, and can deal with travel contingencies. SCs will have less flexibility about rescheduling during the conference (although it happens).
Worth noting that you are not required to stay in the conference hotel. In Boston, I stayed at the Hilton, which was just a block away, for considerably less money.

Anonymous said...

I've had interviews on all four days.

Anonymous said...

I've had interviews on all four days as well. And while some departments are quite flexible, you really cannot count on this. Departments will often try to be flexible, but they are constrained by a multitude of factors, so even if they really like you, this won't guarantee an interview time convenient for you.

CTS said...

I concur with the advice to arrive a day early - just in case.

During our last few hiring years, we have had candidates (very politely) email the SC chair to say which days they planned to be at the APA, asking to be notified if an interview was desired but could not be scheduled on those days. I imagine there are some who would be offended by a purported pretension, but we found it quite helpful.

Fritz Allhoff said...

Most schools interview on the middle two days, but some go up till noon on the last day--when, I think, it closes--and some start the first day in the afternoon. Still, somewhat risky to just plan on being there the middle two days just in case--as people have said--there's no flexibility with SCs. If schools are hiring multiple positions in particular, they might be strapped and filling up a lot of slots.

Anonymous said...

It's slightly unrelated, but airfare to and from Atlanta for the conference is costing me over $650. Those were the cheapest flights available. It would have cost over $850 if I had opted against the red-eye to Atlanta.

Add to that the costs of 3 nights of lodging and food. This is going to be an expensive trip to a city I have never had any interest in visiting.

Anonymous said...

A few years ago (maybe 4, I don't recall), we had an applicant come straight from the airport. He was a mess. He admitted to us that he tried to minimize how much time he'd be on site, so flew in the morning of his interview with us, and was flying out the next day after another interview.

We asked if he'd rather reschedule for the next day (that's when he told us about his plans to fly out the following afternoon after an interview), and then offered to give him a few hours to get himself in order (we offered to interview him at the end of the day). He refused, and said he'd rather just get it over with.

He failed miserably. He couldn't concentrate, and screwed up the answer to every question (including the "tell us about your dissertation" softball). Despite being very strong on paper, we simply couldn't consider bringing him out to campus after such a terrible interview. I wonder what he would have been like with a good night's sleep and a hot meal.

I know this is not really about the original post, but I want to note that you simply cannot overestimate the importance of a good night's sleep and a hot meal. If there is any doubt, try and stay the extra night. Get there the day before your interview, and if you're planning early, get there the day before you might be expected to be available for interviews. Yes, it means spending a little extra money; and maybe because of the realities of grad school/adjuncting, a little extra money is a big deal. Lie, cheat, steal, share rooms with friends, do whatever you have to do. This is your career, and the difference between success and failure just might be a good night's sleep and a hot meal.

Anonymous said...

I have twice had interviews before the official start of the conference: one in the morning and one in the early afternoon of the first (half) day. It was convenient for me in both cases, and I don't think that the schools would have pressured me into it, but it was very nice to do it early and get it (and the attendant anxiety) over with.

Anonymous said...

10:41's comment underscores the absurdity and injustice of this whole arrangement. It is not only that we must make (very) expensive plans to travel to a city during the holidays when we may or may not have any interviews there. It is also that we must do this in an even less economical way than we might have--staying 3 nights instead of 1, for example--in order to allow for the possibility that schools will want to interview us at any time during that window. And, of course, if that's not true at all, or if we have only one interview, we learn of it too late to make any difference.

This is my 4th year on the market. I have a good VAP job, and know how to navigate the gauntlet that is APA logistics pretty effectively. And even so, I am forced to spend money that I don't have (since my institution's travel funding is limited, due to state budgeting issues). I am, more and more, wary of institutions that--despite all that we know about the financial burden the APA puts on grad students and junior/underemployed philosophers--continue to interview at the APA. There are other options available, and I'm glad to see that more and more departments are choosing them.

Carolyn Dicey Jennings said...

Off-topic, but it took me a little while to found this and I thought others might benefit: http://faculty.virginia.edu/schoolhouse/ProfessionalizationPage/JobAdviceandQuestions.html

zombie said...

In three years on the market, I had 4 APA interviews (1 my second year, 3 my third year); 3 phone interviews (2 my first year; 1 my third); and two fly-outs with no first interview. So the non-APA interviews slightly outnumber the APA interviews.
Out of those APA interviews, I got the distinct impression that in one of them, I was a diversity candidate (it was a Catholic Uni) and had no shot at the job. In another, I can't really figure out why they interviewed me. Their AOS was one of my AOCs. One other was a weird interview where only 2 members of the committee were there, and they were audio recording the interviews in the ballroom for the rest of the committee (can't imagine how bad those recordings must have been). They never hired anyone for that job that year. So, out of 4 APA interviews, I had one that I would consider a "good" interview from my standpoint as a candidate -- the committee seemed genuinely interested in my work, etc.

I ended up being hired after a straight-to-fly-out interview. All the time and money I spent on getting to the APA never amounted to anything. (Except maybe the interview experience itself.) Luckily, the two years I went to APA, they were in the northeast and I could drive. If I'd had to shell out bucks to fly somewhere, knowing what I know now, I'm not sure I'd take the gamble.

zombie said...

Google maps lists 9 other hotels within short walking distance of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, including a Best Western (free breakfast) and a Motel 6:

http://tinyurl.com/d964gm7

CTS said...

"I know this is not really about the original post, but I want to note that you simply cannot overestimate the importance of a good night's sleep and a hot meal."

THIS. (Although I would be willing to replace hot meal with hot shower.)

CTS said...

zombie said...
"Google maps lists 9 other hotels within short walking distance of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, including a Best Western (free breakfast) and a Motel 6"

Yes; the Atlanta downtown (business) district is quite compact.

Also: I do not know if this is done anymore, but my peers and I would sometimes contact grad programs in the area to see if grad students would be willing to put us up (free or for a nominal fee).

Anonymous said...

Job ad for a post-doc in Sweden requires an invitation from a department chair there. I send e-mail inquiry asking how one goes about procuring said letter. Three weeks later, e-mail from chair informing me that they got more inquiries than expected, and have decided to issue only a few letters based on fit with the department. Closing sentence: 'your application was not selected.'

Didn't apply: still got a PFO.

zombie said...

The Swedish are extremely efficient. (See: IKEA) They can put you in the Føkkü file before you even apply for the jøb.