This week’s Chronicle blog ‘On Hiring’ has an interesting entry by David Evans discussing what interview panels are looking for when they call candidates to come to the university for interview. I have not had the chance of being on a formal interview panel yet, although that’s something I am working on, so I thought Evans’s advice would be helpful for all of us!
Evans highlights 8 key points which I paraphrase here:
1. How well does the candidate meet the gap in our teaching/research needs?
2. Is the candidate a good teacher?
3. Does he/she have intellectual curiosity?
4. Has the candidate engaged with what type of institution we are/how we do things?
5. Has the candidate behaved efficiently and politely in the period leading up to the interview?
6. Does he/she have a scholarly agenda that can be fulfilled at our institution?
7. Will he/she contribute to the broader community life of the university?
8. Where did the candidate get his or her degrees from?
Evans claims that the last point is often a difficult one because some interview panels will take on a good quality scholar from a weaker institution. If you did your degrees at a university with a less than stellar reputation, don’t worry, this is not necessarily a deal-breaker.
Although Evans is talking about the US academic job market, I think much of what he says is relevant here and can help those of you who are active jobseekers and who might be attending interviews in the next few weeks and months. In my experience, point 1 on the list is by far the most significant. If your research and teaching interests fit with the needs of the department then you have a good chance of serious consideration at interview.
So perhaps the most important thing a jobseeker can do is to work out how to tailor his or her profile to fill the gaps in the department to which you are applying. And network like mad with contacts inside the institution to find out what those gaps are!