Friday, January 4, 2013

Advice on interviewing at the job market meetings

Good luck to all those interviewing at the job market meetings in San Diego!

Here's some advice, written by an historian, that applies well to economics too (and probably any academic job market): Advice for the Job Season: Interviewing

"My primary advice for interviewing is to tell candidates that THE SEARCH COMMITTEE MEMBERS WANT YOU TO DO WELL!!!
"I promise you, we did not just slog through hundreds of pages of recommendation letters and your prose, pick you out of hundreds of applicants, fly to some god-forsaken icy city, and swill cheap coffee and bagels in a cold hotel room waiting for you because we are eager to humiliate you. While it is possible that there is someone in that room who doesn’t like your work, the majority of the committee has gone to the mat to get you onto the interview list, and those search committee members are secretly praying that you will hit a home run. They are on your side.

"You may well not know which members those are, though, so do not make any assumptions about who are your friends and who are potential enemies on a committee. Treat everyone as interested colleagues. Even the old jerk in the corner asking impossible questions might be on your side. And if not, the chances are good that everyone else in the room recognizes that s/he’s an old curmudgeon, and are hoping that you will handle her/him with aplomb.
The committee members want you to do well, so help them out. Almost certainly there will be faculty members from different fields in the room who only know your field generally. So explain immediately what you do, and why it is important to someone outside your specialty. Do not make them plead with you to articulate why what you do is significant. (Clearly, they think it is, or they would not have brought you in for an interview."

1 comment:

Lenny said...

This is brilliant. I see similarities in the business-agency relationship. As a web developer who encountered a lot of agency meetings with larger corporations, this is very applicable. Agencies are called into offices because their work is seen as useful. When companies pitch their history and team instead of the contextual benefit offered for the company, they are losing out on a previously wished partnership.