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« Knowing what you now know, would you go to graduate school? | Main | Weekend wavelengths »

06/08/2018

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Recent grad

I'd add: know a little about each member of the department. I don't think you need to go read an article written by each member, but at least know what area they work in. This is especially important when interviewing at smaller departments, because it's so easy to do. I've seen finalists who had no clue what members of the department did and the candidate comes off as lazy or uninterested in the department.

Marcus Arvan

Recent grad: YES. I had a feeling I was forgetting something when finishing up my post, and you hit the nail on the head. If anything looks bad during an on-campus, it’s showing up looking like you know nothing about the place or the people who work there.

Craig

Thirding: If you know a little (or more!) about various members of the department, that can give you material for 1-1 conversations! You can ask questions about their work, etc. That will a) take some of the pressure off of you to constantly talk and b) convey interest in them in particular, which is a good way of showing interest in the department more broadly.

Number Three

This is anecdotal, taken from my experience witnessing job searches in graduate school, going on several flyouts, and ultimately landing a tenure track job this last year at a teaching school.

This is sort of basic job interview stuff, but under "Make it clear you want to be there", I would add: be energetic and enthusiastic, consciously. It is easy to feel tired during a flyout. Don't let yourself. Energy and enthusiasm almost always come across well. Don't be self-deprecating, don't bemoan the status of the job market or profession, and don't, under any circumstances, talk badly about your or their students.

Here is another idea, which is something that I did during my last flyout. It seemed to help me. If you have specific ideas for new courses, initiatives, ways to advertise the department, or anything else, don't wait around for the chance to bring them up. Say something like, "Hey, I have a few ideas for x. Do you want to hear them?" If you're sitting down for a formal chat with the search committee, that's an ideal time to talk about those things. Not only will this likely help you, but you will feel less regret if you don't get the job. (Leave it all on the field, for those amenable to sports metaphors.)

Anonymous TT prof

Does anyone have advice for what to do if you land a fly out, but interview dates necessarily conflict with your teaching schedule? I'm thinking specifically about those on the market whose departments do not know they are on the market/ faculty wouldn't be cool about it.

Another anonymous TT prof

Anonymous TT prof, I was in the same situation this year. It's fine to tell the hiring department the dates you prefer to work around your teaching schedule if possible, but this won't always work (e.g., if you're teaching 4 - 5 days a week or you have multiple fly-outs.) Does your school have any precedent for converting single class sessions to online classes for the day? If so, I'd recommend converting the class sessions you'll miss to online classes, and telling the students that you won't be there because you're giving a research talk at another university (which is true.) The kind of class you have will make a difference too: in addition to the gen-ed courses I converted to online, I had a small upper level class and I had them gather without me to work on group study guides or group assignments that I then gave them feedback on when I got back (which they said they found these sessions really helpful.) If you're only missing one class, canceling may be fine - it depends on your school's institutional norms. What makes this stressful is that you won't know in advance which classes you'll have to cancel/convert! But there are options.

Anonymous TT prof

Thank you, Another anonymous TT prof! It will definitely be tough to get around my teaching schedule in the event that I get an on-campus interview. My colleagues will also likely notice my absence. I worry that, if I get an on-campus, they will for sure find out; and it is a very stressful situation to be in. Glad I'm not alone.

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