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12/22/2021

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Trevor Hedberg

In a sample of about 20 1st round interviews, none of my best interviews (or what I'd consider my best interviews) have advanced me to the next stage of the search. Neither have any of my worst interviews. So I have my best results when I just have an average interview. I long ago learned to make no assumptions about what would happen following my job interview, regardless of how well (or poorly) I thought it went.

Both sides

Don’t read into interviews. Some of my worst interviews (i thought they were stilted, there were no follow-up questions) landed fly-outs, some of my best did not. I think some people are bad at interviewing, so keep that in mind. Unsurprisingly, the ones where I did well and didn’t get a fly out were for better jobs—I think I did great at the interview but didn’t have the publication record to justify a fly out at an R1.

On the other side now, there were people who barely made the long-list, did great at the interview, but others just had a stronger overall portfolio and also did great. Some considerations, rational and irrational, about the needs of the program and other such things also come into play with the determination of the short list.

Michel

I've only ever had two interviews for TT jobs (I'm in a permanent NTT job). I killed them both, IMO, but neither one resulted in a second interview.

In fact, I never heard back from either one. One made a (really excellent) senior hire instead, and the other hired someone whose AOS was a better fit. It would have been nice to have been told, though.

Mike Titelbaum

One big problem with trying to predict whether you'll get a flyout based on how you "performed" in an interview is that an interview's influence on a committee's thinking isn't just about how well the candidate performed in the interview.

I often go into an interview with specific things I'm looking to find out about a candidate. Maybe there's something I didn't understand about the writing sample, and I want to have it explained. Maybe I want to get a broader sense of the candidate's research program, and how it fits in with other things going on in the discipline. Maybe I want to find out what their background and training is like in some area we'll want them to teach.

If you're better at being interviewed, or if you're having a good day, you might do a better job of providing the information I'm looking for. But oftentimes it's the substantive information provided—not how well someone came off in providing it—that is my biggest takeaway from an interview. And since the person being interviewed doesn't know what information I'm looking for, and how it fits in with what I want for this particular job, it can be very difficult for them to predict from the interview what's going to happen after.

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