Preparing for Your Interviews

Conferences have started and interviews have begun.  TPII clients are scarfing up interview invites right and left, and it’s very gratifying.

Normally, I would expect to do an Interview Bootcamp with most of my clients, to prepare them for the real thing.  Unfortunately,  all of my Interview Bootcamp slots are already completely filled through mid-January.

Because of that, I created the Interview Bootcamp Webinar, which I have offered several times, and will continue to offer regularly through the Fall and Winter.  The next one is next Thursday, Nov. 15, at 2 PM Pacific/5 PM EST/22:00 GMT.   Here’s the description:

***In this 90-minute Webinar I teach you how to interview effectively for an academic job. We cover the most important elements of the interview, the most common errors made by candidates, and the most effective modes of organizing your responses to the major questions. As always, I provide templates for you to use in planning your responses, and abundant examples of both bad and good answers.

I also cover how best to prepare for interviews, whether they are by skype or phone, at the conference, or at a campus visit. Special tips for the dreaded Skype interview included.

Naturally we’ll touch on how to dress for the interview, and the all important issue of body language as well.

As always there will be plenty of time for Q and A at the end.

This Webinar channels all of Dr. Karen’s individual Interview Bootcamp energy and information, so that even those who didn’t get on the schedule for an individual Bootcamp in Fall 2012 will still know how to rock their interviews and get the job.***

You can sign up for it by clicking “Add to Cart” below.

Cost:   $100

After completing payment by clicking below, you will be redirected to the dedicated Go-To-Meeting Webinar Registration page, where you will fill out a registration form and be given instructions and an access code to sign in on your chosen day. 

Add to Cart

Now, moving on.  I want everyone who is preparing for an interview to read the following posts:

*The #Facepalm Fails of the Academic Interview

*Why You Need a Second Project: An Urgent #Facepalm Fail Addendum

*How Would You Mentor Graduate Students? Another #Facepalm Fail

*How to Describe a Course (In an Interview)

Particularly this last one, “How To Describe a Course (In an Interview)” is pure interview prep gold.  I tell every single Interview Bootcamp client to read it before our appointment.  And yet, time and again, either they don’t, or they do, but don’t do what it says.

Do what that post says!  I’m not going to repeat it here.  I will just say, it provides a FOOLPROOF template for you to concisely and effectively describe ANY COURSE that you might be asked to teach, from the Intro course of the department, to the boutique graduate seminar of your specialization.

Between the posts and the webinar, you will be prepped for the worst that they can throw at you.

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Preparing for Your Interviews — 12 Comments

  1. I studied the posts related to interviewing and did the Interview Bootcamp Webinar (archived version). The preparation really helped with my confidence and self-presentation during my recent campus visit. I even begrudgingly bought a pair of nice black slacks, in a larger size than I care to admit, that I paired with a complementary blazer. It not only looked polished, but I was actually comfortable (way better than stuffing myself in my too tight suit)! My advice is to be sure to have plenty of questions prepared for the search committee. My interview with the search committee was just me asking them questions and ended up being very conversational. The only question they asked me was how I would engage students in their intro stats class. I knew that one was coming, and I was was also ready for so many other questions, but it’s always better to be over-prepared. The Dean was mostly interested in how I came to be researching my (very specific) study population, not what I expected, but since I’m often asked this, I had an elevator speech ready. She also talked about the culture of the department, like she was giving me her inside scoop. I didn’t know how to react to this so I just stayed attentive. It seemed to work. The Department Head wanted to know when I was planning to defend (I’m ABD); then he talked about course load and tenure expectations. I asked questions when appropriate. Overall, it was a painless experience. Now I’m wondering, why had I been stressed out to the point of tears the night before? I realize, though, that had I not been so prepared, I wouldn’t have come across as “put-together” and professional as I did. So yay! Thanks, Karen!

  2. Dear Karen, I need your help: I am helping our graduate students with the interview process and wish to have your point of view. In my institution the graduate students call the profs “Dr. X”. During the interview (skype, campus, etc) how ABD should call the people interviewing them ? Dr. X ? Professor Y ? Or by the first name ? Thank you.

    • If they are directly addressing someone, it would be a common courtesy to use “Professor X,” but if they are referring indirectly to others in the department (ie, “I would look forward to collaborating with xxxx), then the last name only is appropriate. This is at the skype/conference level. Once on a campus visit, they should switch to first names for direct address, and last names for indirect references.

  3. Hi Dr. Karen,
    I just did a Skype interview with a search committee for a t-t job (thanks for your advice on that in another post, btw). Is it appropriate to send a follow-up thank you email to the members of the committee?

  4. I am a post-doc at Big Name Research Focused School and have a phone interview with Small State School that, overall, seems very teaching-focused; but the Department is a science one with both undergrads and grads, and there are research activities (though it’s research in a laboratory – not the kind I do). The job description states “The applicant should have an established history of engaging students in the classroom as well as through creative endeavors. Additionally, having a nationally recognized research and grant seeking agenda is preferred.” Is it appropriate to ask in a phone interview what the approximate split would be between teaching and research (and expected service)? Or, do I ask how many courses the successful candidate is expected to teach? Thank you.

    • Never ask tiresome administrative questions that make you look high maintenance and possibly like a prima donna. That info comes at the campus visit.

      • Interesting that some faculty may view this as a tiresome administrative question, since the response gives some insight into possible fit. A few other colleagues who recently started TT positions actually said they asked this question early in the process. Thanks for your perspective.

  5. The seven sentence guide to describing a course was a dynamite tip! Thank you– next question- I had three AAA interviews. Two I felt went really well, one less so. In the follow up email, is best just to say “thank you” or is it appropriate to say a little more that may clarify something I think was foggy in the interview? (without sounding like ‘making excuses’).

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