Tips and Resources for Higher Ed Careers
Types of Interviews:
Just as in other sectors, faculty job interviews begin with screening candidates to find 3-5 finalists. Screening is customarily done via the telephone ( or for adjunct positions via email) or through professional conference systems where hiring faculty representatives prearrange to talk briefly with several candidates. Once candidates are selected out of a larger pool, they are invited to visit the campus for a more extended interview that may last 2 days. In most instances, campus interviews are funded by the hiring department. The most successful campus interview is a conversation between colleagues, not a repetition of the doctoral prelim examination or the dissertation defense.
- Research the institution, the department and faculty expertise
- If not provided, ask for names of interviewers and an interview schedule
- Anticipate questions ( samples below) about
- Details in your CV and cover letter
- Research agenda
- Course plans
- Practice a 30 second and 3-minute oral presentation about your research
- Schedule a mock interview/ job talk with faculty mentors, your counselor or peers; use the feedback to revise your presentation
- Relax, smile, make eye contact
- Remember names/professional data ; include everyone
- Keep your answers brief and to the point, but provide specifics so that your listeners can imagine your research discoveries and your best teaching moments
- Take all interactions seriously: with chair and dean, faculty, graduate students, staff. Treat informal social gatherings as part of your interview
- Don’t assume that everyone will have the knowledge to understand your most complex research specifics. Provide background information but limit it to 5-8 minutes; finish in the time allotted. Pitch your talk to a general audience, but also provide meat for the specialists.
- Present research information you are confident of, not material that hasn’t yet been thoroughly analyzed.
- Remember that your ability to handle questions will demonstrate your self confidence and communication skills in the classroom.
Sample Interview Questions
- General Questions
- Tell us about yourself.
- Do you consider yourself to be more a scholar or a teacher?
- Where do you think the discipline of _______________ stands today?
- Questions on Research
- Who was on your dissertation committee?
- Tell us about your dissertation research findings.
- Explain your use of theory/methodology in your dissertation.
- How prevalent is the scholarly interest in the area of your dissertation topic?
- In what ways are your dissertation findings "new"?
- What makes your project an interdisciplinary project?
- What will your next research project be?
- Which funding agencies will want to support your research?
- Which publishers will you be working with as you move towards tenure?
- Questions on Teaching
- What kinds of students have you worked with in the past?
- How would you deal with teaching a primarily white / diverse/ adult /commuting / working student body?
- What would you want your students to learn in an introduction to French film for undergraduates?
- What texts would you use to teach a survey course in French cultural history?
- What methods would you use to teach a 19th century French literature course?
- Describe the undergraduate seminar that you taught on_______________.
- Describe your most innovative teaching method.
- If down the road you were invited to teach a graduate seminar, what would you offer?
- Unspoken questions
- Has this person researched our department/program history and the interests of our faculty?
- Does this person ask discerning questions?
- What kind of a colleague will this person be?
- Will this candidate become a productive scholar? Qualify for tenure?
- Does this candidate seem interested in students? in our students?
- Will our students flock to his/her courses?
- Does this candidate seem enthusiastic about the prospect of taking this position?