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01/06/2017

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anonymous

I would like to underscore Marcus' point. Just because you do not get an on-campus interview after a Skype interview, you cannot assume that anything went wrong. We once interviewed 9 people via Skype. All did a fine a job. But they provided little reason for the committee as a whole to change the relative rankings of the candidates. We would have been prepared to hire any of the 9. But the other factors that went into preparing the long list still gave stronger support to the lead candidates we had going into the Skype interviews.
What to do during an interview: look at the camera. Don't look in the corner at your own little image. You want to connect to those on the other side. Don't ruffle around with papers. You should answer questions directly, and not reach for notes.

Tim

Regarding looking at your own image in the corner:

You can move where that image is. Move it to be right beneath the camera. Then you can have the comfort of not having to make actual eye contact, can check your posture, etc during the interview, but also look like you're not doing those things.

Regarding ruffling papers: use post-it notes attached to the borders of your screen; most important ones nearest the camera.

General advice about job seeking that applies especially here: check your moral qualms at the door. Following the above two pieces of advice might feel dishonest. It might *be* dishonest. Oh well. Get over that and move on.

Amanda

Last year I had 5 skype interviews and no flyouts. It's very frustrating because I don't know if I did something wrong, or if I just wasn't at the front of the list to begin with.

anonymous

Amanda
You should call the head of the search committee and ask for feedback. Years ago, committees were more forthcoming than they are now.
Where I teach we are advised (I need a stronger word here) to say as little as possible because of concerns of liability and law suits. It is too bad that things have gone this way.
But some committees will give feedback.
Also, keep in mind the odds. If every job long lists 10 people for Skype interviews, and you had five Skype interviews, you cannot count on a job (I know some of the long listed candidates may be the same, but you get the point).

Lisa

Amanda: Have you tried to reach out to them to ask what went wrong? Is that something candidates can do?

Tim

The great thing about getting passed over is that it's very unlikely the same people who passed you over last time will be on a search committee for any jobs you apply for in the future. So if you do ask for feedback and they (for some misguided reason) take offense to that or think you asking this reflects badly on you, who cares? They've already hired. They aren't likely to be in a position where these opinions will ever matter.

Sara L. Uckelman

I'm struggling to come up with something that would be a problem in a skype interview and not in a face-to-face interview or vice versa.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Tim: people are of course unpredictable, and there are some out there who take easy offense. However, for my part I would be very surprised if there are many search committee members out there who would take offense to an interviewee politely asking if they are willing to provide feedback, or otherwise think such a request reflects badly on the candidate. At best, the person will say yes and the candidate may receive important information for future interviews. It can also reflect positively on a candidate, revealing them to be someone who takes the initiative and someone who seeks out and is receptive to feedback (something I expect many of us desire in a colleague!). My hunch is that the most likely "bad" result from asking is that the person simply declines, perhaps due to (as one commenter noted above) legal or HR concerns. But that's no so bad a result: it's just a 'no' that otherwise leaves you no worse off than you likely would have been had you not asked at all.

Amanda

The thing is I tend to be someone who is really good in "real-life", insofar as I connect well and appear personable.But with Skype interviews something is different. I just can't put my finger on it Sarah but I never feel as comfortable.

I did ask twice for tips post interview rejection.The first feedback I got was I didn't seem "enthusiastic" enough about the position. The second time I was told that I did not have as much experience in the AOS as other candidates.

Amanda

Oh, and yes Lisa you can ask. Four outcomes are common, (1) the email is ignored, (2) They politely tell you something useful, (3) They give some reason why they can't tell you anything, (4) They are formal and tell you something that sounds like HR/BS talk.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Amanda: Although this is conjecture, in my experience there are at least three things that the person could have meant in saying you didn't seem enthusiastic about the position.

One possibility is that your overall demeanor/energy came across as less than enthusiastic. I once interviewed for a position at a department where I knew some of the interviewers, and was later told that I came across as a bit listless and low energy - as "not the Marcus I know." And indeed, I knew I hadn't been on my game that day, so in retrospect it didn't come across as a surprise that that's how I came across. Fortunately, or so I was told, the performance evidently wasn't held against me, but only because some of them knew it wasn't indicative of my normal demeanor.

A second possible thing that could have been meant is that your answers overall did not suggest a good fit with the department's/institution's priorities. For instance, if you were interviewing at a teaching school but spent a whole lot more time talking abou your research -- or else your answers about your research were elaborate and well-developed but answers on your teaching not so much -- then that too could suggest "lack of enthusiasm" for the type of position you are interviewing for.

Finally, the remark could potentially be related to a perceived lack of preparation in your answers for the specific job you were interviewing for. For instance, if you were asked why you want to work at University X but your answer does not display familiarity with X's size, Mission, values, etc., then that could make one look like one hadn't done one's due diligence in familiarizing yourself with the institution prior to the interview. Similarly, if the job ad AOC explicitly mentioned area Y but you did not give what appears to be a thorough, well-prepared answer, then that too could potentially be taken as lack of enthusiasm.

Again, this is conjecture on my part, but they are a few plausible possibilities.

anonymous

Amanda (and Marcus),
I had experiences at on campus interviews where it was suggested that I came across as unenthusiastic (that was not the exact word used). Indeed, I had a few of these. Even at the place I now work someone mentioned in my meeting with them that I appeared unenthusiastic (not the word they used).
I think my problem - perhaps it is yours as well, I do not know - is that I sometimes am a bit detached, asking myself: do I really want to work here?! I cannot hide my feelings as well as others might.
Just be persistent, and stay positive.

Marcus Arvan

Anonymous: I am the same way. I am naturally introverted and have been told many times that I can come off as cold and detached in a one-off situation, particularly when it is a novel, stressful situation with people I don't already know (such as an interview). I am also, like you anonymous, not good at concealing my emotions (i.e. when I'm nervous, I *look* nervous). I have had to learn with much encouragement from my spouse to work very hard on managing these things, but it is very much worth being aware of and working at: coming across friendly, confident, and positive. Although as philosophers there might be a tendency to think it is what we say that matters (or should matter), as a human being who is also married to a research psychologist I have come to learn that body language and such can matter at least as much, if not more. Fwiw

Marcus Arvan

I might also add that it can help to do mock interviews via Skype with friends or colleagues, and ask them if you have any speaking or body language or other habits that come off poorly or awkwardly on video!

Amanda

Thanks for the feedback Marcus. Those are all plausible possibilities. I can be enthusiastic but I need to focus. I think not being in the room with someone, like on skype, makes far less motivated to connect with people and I come across detached and "low energy" as you say. Since that feedback I have really focused on coming across as more enthusiastic in my interview.

anono

Multi-year marketer here.

Feigning enthusiasm is hard. More relevant to on-campuses, but I've had a couple where I was truly horrified at seeing the town, and/or the campus and/or the open hostility between certain faculty. I've also had a skype interview or two where the interviewers were themselves cold or even slightly hostile. It can be difficult to conceal the shock or disappointment.

The upside is that at least once, I've had a cold/borderline rude skype interviewer turn out to be lovely on-campus. And I've warmed up to certain campuses by the end of visits that really didn't impress me at the outset (didn't end in a job, unfortunately).

So try to prepare yourself for some initial disappointment and also remind yourself that first impressions can mean very little. And if you ultimately decide this place is awful, you can always reject the job and pursue that alt ac plan B you've (hopefully) had in a drawer. But in the interview is a really bad time to made that assessment. Hopefully that mindframe will keep you from feeling and showing any negative or less-than-totally-positive emotions during the interview.

Filippo Contesi

How much notice do candidates get for Skype interviews? Two days? One week? I cannot find any such information anywhere online!

anon

Filippo
There is no standard. Some departments are working on tight schedules, and the candidates get little notice. Some can plan ahead.

Amanda

In my experience it has varied from 1 day to 1 month!

Filippo Contesi

Thank you so very much, anon and Amanda!

anon

Filippo,
Good luck with the interview. Having been on both sides, here is some advice: be yourself in front of the camera, and do not be afraid to say "I will have to think about that" if a questions throws you.

Filippo Contesi

Thanks so much, anon! That's advice I'll keep to heart.

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