Post Academic

Inappropriate academic interview #1

Posted in First Person by Arnold Pan on April 13, 2010
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Since Caroline posted the wonderful primer on how to prepare for non-academic job interviews, I can’t help but offer my own experiences with academic job interviews.  As the #1 in the title suggests, I’ve had more than one inappropriate academic interview, though most of them have been thoroughly uneventful.  This story is pretty hilarious in hindsight, but it’s definitely not some kind of academic casting couch scenario that the Wiki photo might imply.  If the experience I’m about to recount in probably less-than-prudent detail inspires you, please email us or contact us in the comments box below with your own wonderfully crazy academic job interview experiences!

I was a bit nervous preparing for this interview, because it was probably the best match (at least for me) of any position I applied to in that year, in terms of area of expertise, location, and the academic quality of the institution.  When I entered the very small hotel room where the interview was held, I was a bit surprised to see how cramped the quarters were–so tight that one of the interviewers was seated in a bed!  That was strange enough, but, as I would learn, it augured even more inappropriateness and dysfunction to come.  Still, I was totally focused and unphased, so the interview started pretty well.  I was able to discuss my teaching experience as well as I ever had, both with my prepared talking points from my sample syllabi as well as a deftly improvised response about teaching writing.

But things were about to take a turn for the inappropriate, below the jump…


Transfer Your Skills: Interviews in the Hamster World

Posted in Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on April 13, 2010
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Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionAfter turning your CV into a resume, you need to prepare for potential interviews. Most interview advice is universal. Preparing for an academic job interview is brutal because you have to sum up your whole grad-school career in a matter of minutes. The hamster world interview will probably seem like a breeze in comparison, but you still need to accomplish a few tasks if you want to get hired:

Write Answers for the Standard Interview Questions: All interviewers will ask some variation of the following questions:
1. What are your strengths?
2. What are your weaknesses?
3. How have you overcome a challenge at work?

Write out honest, succinct answers, and practice delivering them before you go into the interview. Be warned: The second question is tricky, as you want to choose a weakness that might actually be a strength depending on the job. Being “too much of a perfectionist” might work well if you’d like to be an editor.

More after the jump! Image of office in 1710 public domain, Wikimedia Commons.