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10/18/2022

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Bill Vanderburgh

The most important thing to say on this topic is that having NO questions for the committee looks REALLY bad. It makes you seem uninterested in the position, and (since philosophers are supposed to be good at asking insightful questions) casts some doubt on your ability as a philosopher, not to mention your suitability for the classroom.

But the questions don't have to be fancy. Just show that you have done your homework, that you know something about the place interviewing you and show that you want to know more. Showing that you are curious in general is one of the best ways to signal that you are smart and interesting.

Have several questions ready since some might be answered in the course of the interview.

I can't tell you what those questions should be about, since they should be questions you develop as you learn about the university and the department. Ask about the students, the admin, the relationship with the dean, faculty development programs, speaker series, or special community service opportunities. If the department doesn't have a MAP chapter, Philosophy Club or Ethics Bowl team, asking about starting one can look good (if it is authentic). Self-interested questions (e.g., how many courses off do I get?) are probably less helpful to your case than ones that express a desire to know about your potential colleagues or that demonstrate you will likely add value to the institution.

FWIW, I have known deans who think discussing salary during the campus visit is disqualifying. I'm not sure that's a fair attitude, but just be aware that that sort of question is better saved for the negotiation phase.

two cents

Thank you Bill for the helpful comments.

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