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Recent hire

This is very interesting. I was on the market this year (first time), and our placement officer said that once we passed to the interviewing stage, we should regard it as a blank plate --- that a school wouldn't interview someone whom they are not very seriously considering to hire.
But it does make sense that there is a ranking already; after all, it's the same committee who had read your other materials already.

The other postdoc

I think the advice Recent hire received is right. Even if most hiring committees rank the candidates prior to interview, one should still go into the interview as if it were a blank slate. There's no way to know where you are on the rankings, so it's probably best to go at it as if the interview is now all that matters for getting to the next stageā€”but, on the other hand, don't beat yourself up if you don't make it to the next stage, since that might not have been within your control.

Marcus Arvan

The other postdoc: I agree - it's the right attitude to have even if it's false!

By all means, treat every interview as a blank slate, going into every interview optimistic with the aim of knocking it out of the park. As I mentioned in the OP, if you do nail the interview, you may well receive an invite for an on-campus, regardless of how the committee might have ranked things heading in.

At the very same time, if you feel like you interviewed well but don't get an on-campus invite, don't beat yourself up: it could well have been because, on the hiring side, it wasn't a blank slate after all!

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