In response to our most recent, 'How can we help you?' post, an anonymous job-candidate writes:
It would be really helpful to get some advice on interviewing at the APA Eastern for those of us who are being interviewed there for the first time very soon! What should job candidates bring? I am not sure what to show up with. Should I bring a folder with my complete dossier (CV, writing sample, research statement, teaching statement and evaluations, sample syllabi, diversity statement, etc.)? How many copies should one have on hand? How does this interview differ from Skype interviews? I have now had some practice with first-round Skype/teleconference interviews, but I'm very nervous about the APA.
Good questions! What do you all think? Helen and I co-wrote a post last year on APA interviews as part of our Job-Market Boot Camp--and I hope readers found it helpful. Aside from what I wrote there, here are a few of my thoughts.
In terms of what to bring, when I was on the market I simply brought ten or so copies of my CV. The APA has a placement service where some interviewing departments accept on-site requests for interviews. How this works is straightforward: if the school is accepting requests, you register for the placement service, fill out a short form, and attach your CV. I don't think I ever got an interview this way, and I don't think many departments are doing it anymore -- but still, I did know a few people who it worked for, so it couldn't hurt. Aside from CVs, I don't think there's any need to bring copies of the rest of your dossier. Instead, I would recommend bringing a flash drive with your other materials on it to print out just in case someone requests them.
As to how APA interviews differ from Skype, my experience is that there are broadly three differences.
First, during my time on the market, there were two types of APA interviews: (1) those held in a very large banquet hall at tables, and (2) those held in private hotel suites. Both were stressful in different ways. The banquet hall interviews were stressful in large part because the environment was so noisy and because you could see other candidates the schools were interviewing. Sometimes you could also hear what was going on at the interviewing table next to you, which was distracting. In contrast, the private suite interviews were stressful because one could usually see the candidate before you walk out of the interview, and you would have to walk into a suite and sit at a banquet table with 5-7 intimidating people. I'm not quite sure how to prepare best for these features of the APA interview, aside from simply being aware of them. Fortunately, I get the distinct impression that the loudness problem with banquet hall interviews has abated significantly now that far fewer departments are doing APA interviews.
Second, my experience on with APA interviews was that they can be more unpredictable than Skype interviews. For instance, whereas all of the Skype interviews I did on the market were with at least three committee members, I had at least one APA interview that were with a single committee member who simply recorded my answers for the rest of the committee. That was unexpected, but also unexpectedly welcome, as I had a nice rapport with the person who interviewed me.
Finally, probably the biggest difference between Skype and APA interviews is that one has the chance--and sometimes invited opportunity- -to interact with members of search committees outside of the formal interview. You can not only run into them at talks, in the hallway, or elevator. Committees can also invite you to chat more at the notorious "smoker"/banquet in the evening. As someone who is shy and introverted, I found this the most stressful part of all. Also, for those of you who don't know much about it, the smoker used to be notorious not only because it was a packed room with candidates literally falling over each other to try to sidle into talk with interviewing committees; but even more so because alcohol is served at the event. Fortunately (though I could be wrong), my sense is that the smoker has become decidedly less awful over the years, once again in part because fewer interviews are being held there, but also because the discipline has become more sensitive to climate issues. Over the years, I've heard many people say to skip the smoker even if you're invited to meet with the committee, on the grounds that it's more likely that you will say something that lowers rather than raises their estimation of you--but this is just what I've heard.
What do you all think?