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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


Academics, share your horror stories (or any stories, really)

One of my tasks at work is handling all the scheduling and details of faculty interviews/job talks. Seeing it from this side has been really ..... interesting. I'm surprised at how very unresponsive some candidates are (how many times do I need to ask for your recent articles?) and how unprepared (what do you mean you have no CV made yet?). I'm surprised at how they behave (snapping at me isn't so cool, dude - I'm your main contact and helper) and some of the entitlement (room service three times a day on top of 3 meals a day? being late for your first meeting because room service hasn't brought your breakfast yet???).

I may just be an administrator, but my experiences of the faculty do have some weight. How one candidate interacted with me kind of had some consequences for how that person was evaluated. As anxiety-provoking as it is to have one's every behavior watched, they really are, and from my perspective it's good to treat every representative of a department courteously. It helps us see what kind of colleague you might be. Of course, if you've got 35 NIH grants by the age of 30 and awards for your teaching or clinical work, well obviously that gets weighed far more heavily. But we do like the total package.

I'm curious to hear stories from your angle - how departments treat you, what helps, what doesn't - what you've appreciated, what has been problematic. I think I go above and beyond because I overidentify with the interviewee/faculty recruit perspective, and I don't know that being as helpful as I am is actually all that appreciated. I may smother our candidates a little. :)


At 11:16 PM, Blogger dr four eyes said...

OK, so I hope this doesn't get too long:

For my one of my campus visits, my primary contact, one of the dept admin assistants, was really helpful and gave what I thought was really useful. The place where I was staying wasn't near any restaurants but had a kitchen, so she told me that I should take a cab from the airport instead of a shuttle and get the cab driver to take me to a grocery store to buy food for dinner and breakfast. Dutifully, I did this, even though the cab driver thought I was a loon.

Then we got to campus and couldn't find the place where I was supposed to be staying--went to three different places before I finally found the check-in office and settled up with the cab driver. By that time, the fare plus tip was $65. Gah!

Worse yet, I had to wait in a lobby for 2 hours before I could get into my room. That irked me because the admin assistant had made my flight arrangements and the hotel was on campus, so she would have/should have known that they were really serious about their 3 pm check-in time.

So, by the time I got to my suite, I'd been up since 4 am for a cross-country flight; had spent 1.5 hours being ferried around by a cab driver; and then spent 2 hours sitting in a lobby, hungry, with stuffed up ears, trying not to cry. Not exactly how you want to spend the day before your interviews.

I know the admin assistant meant well, but it was not a great experience. Still, I was torn about what to say: say nothing and pretend everything was great or let them know of the snafus and seem like a whiner? I tried to strike a middle-road: casually mention some of the issues, but do so in a light-hearted way. I'm not sure I was able to avoid looking like a whiner.

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Anastasia said...

i don't have a horror story. I've only done one interview and it was great. before I arrived, I felt like the admin was a little short with me on the phone but it was really nothing. I did complain (very lighthearted) about getting help up in the airport but it should have been obvious (and I think it was) that I didn't blame them for it. I was just making conversation and being honest when they asked how my flight was

other than that everything went perfectly smoothly. if anything, they were maybe a little smothering in their concern for whether I was tired, whether I had enough to eat, whether I was warm enough. but even that came across as friendliness. I really like it.

they did ask me whether I liked where I was staying. They put me in a bed and breakfast and some ppl (I don't know who) seemed to think they should have put me in a hotel. The bed and breakfast was very homey--almost like putting me up with some woman they knew--and so I can see how the hotel might have had a more professional sheen. I still liked the bed and breakfast. Seriously, my room was over 900 square feet, it had a huge beautiful bathroom with like 18 shower heads, and the proprietor made me hot tea and built a fire in my room before I went to bed.

sigh. I really wanted that job.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Anastasia said...

getting held up. sorry. that's unclear. I was delayed and nearly missed my connection, so I was running through the airport like a mad person only to find my connection was delayed and I had to sit and wait.

At 2:13 PM, Blogger Limon de Campo said...

I served on multiple search committees this year, so I saw yet another angle to this whole dynamic. Our candidates were all very cordial, appreciative, and timely. Our admin people did a terrific job on their end.

We had mild internal committee strife. Our commiteee couldn't agree which was better: giving candidates a lot of alone time in between interviews and teaching to explore the campus, relax, and/or catch up on email -or- filling the candidate's time with various meetings, meals, social events, and other "on" activities. I voted for more alone time, which is what I need in these high-pressure situations. I was out-voted, and I feel like scheduling so many things gave an unfair advantage to our candidates who clearly thrive in highly social situations. The more introverted candidates were all evaluated lower. And, not surprisingly, we hired the most extroverted people.


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