It would be great to know what candidates should prepare and bring to on-campus interviews. Is it expected that candidates bring detailed syllabi for classes they would be asked to teach? (In my case, this would mean creating them from scratch for multiple on-campus interviews in addition to preparing a job talk and teaching demo.) What is the difference between being insufficiently prepared, well prepared, and going overboard?
'Amanda' then followed up:
If I recall correctly, I did different things at different flyouts. At several of them, I did what Amanda suggests: I just brought my materials for my job-talk and teaching demo (though, if Amanda is only bringing notes--as opposed to doing Powerpoint or Prezi, which seem more standard nowadays--I would suggest that she bring printed handouts so her audience can follow long). Anyway, I seem to recall this working fine at those flyouts. However, I also recall putting together and bringing detailed syllabi to at least one on-campus visit--one at a school where I would have had to teach some new courses I had never taught before--and at that fly-out, it made a positive difference. At one point I was walking around campus with a member of the hiring committee and he asked me how I would teach course X. As luck would have it, X was one of the courses I had put a syllabus together for, so I mentioned I had one with me and would be happy to talk about it. We then had an excellent conversation, and he seemed impressed I had taken the time to put it together. Even if I hadn't brought it with me, I doubt I would have been able to give him a good answer if I hadn't at least put the syllabus together, as it was a course I had never taught before. Consequently, although I didn't bring syllabi to all of my fly-outs, I think it can come in handy.
Which brings me to my final suggestion. Suppose you are lucky to get a fly-out, or even luckier to have several of them. At this point, you have been in grad school for anywhere from 5-10+ years. You've taken a ton of classes, probably suffered through comprehensive examinations, worked hard on publishing, struggled to come up with and finish a dissertation, and so on--all in pursuit of your dream of a permanent academic job. Do you really want to have gone through all of that only to not give it your all at the fly-out stage, when you are 'this close'? After I was on the job-market a while--coming close to getting a job on several occasions, but coming in second or third--I decided I didn't wanted to look back later and regret that I hadn't given it my all. As a result, during my final year on the market I tried to 'over-prepare' for everything--for Skype interviews, campus visits, etc. There are of course no guarantees that over-preparing will pay off--and, of course, there is only so much one can do given one's other responsibilities. But still, it seems to me, the better prepared one is for an interview, the greater the chance there is that you will be prepared for that unexpected moment when you get a question or conversational opportunity you might not expect. So, it seems to me, if you have the time to put together and bring syllabi for courses you might teach at the school (particularly if they are in the job ad!), that's not over-preparing: it's just being damn well-prepared.
But these are just some of my thoughts, and they just focus on Job Candidate's syllabi question. What do you all think? What should job-candidates bring to on-campus visits?