In the comments section of our most recent 'How can we help you?' post, there were a few queries about how to answer the standard 'tell us a little about your research/teaching' questions. Amanda wrote:
So I have been asked, "So tell us about your research..." I am never quite sure the scope and depth of this. I don't want to babble on. On the other hand, if I just give an overview, I have been asked to provide arguments in response. In addition, I finished my dissertation and have moved on to new projects. Should I talk both about my dissertation and new projects? Advice appreciated.
Nick then added:
Same for teaching questions. Anything that is not a precise question is likely to create a gap between the committee's actual expectations and the candidate's interpretation.
There was already some discussion of these issues in the comments section -- but I think it might be helpful to hear from more people, particularly individuals on search committees. Any past or present search committee members willing to weigh in? What do strong answers to these kinds of questions look like to you? And weak answers?