The Academic Job Interview

Academic interviews may include a fast-paced conference interview, a phone interview, or a face-to-face campus interview.

Conference Interviews are typically brief 30-minute meetings scheduled at national conferences for the purpose of screening potential candidates. Conference interviews are usually conducted by faculty members attending the conference who may or may not be serving on the Search Committee.The key to a successful conference interview is to have a tight elevator speech that addresses your (1) dissertation research; (2) teaching experience; and (3) future research agenda.Leave them with something to remember you by.

Phone Interviews are also used to screen potential candidates and may be conducted by one or members of the Search Committee. Phone interviews are often referred to as “first-round” interviews because the focus is usually on identifying a short list of candidates.Your goal, of course, is to make it to the next (and, hopefully, final) round, so treat the phone interview like you would a face-to-face interview.Dress professionally. Minimize distractions. Build rapport. Take notes. Be prepared but don’t make your responses sound rehearsed.

Skype Interviews are the latest, greatest addition to the list of possible academic interview options. Be prepared.Make sure the technology works, including the sound. Look at the camera and not the screen. Make sure you’re dressed professionally (no pajamas, avoid patterned clothing) and be sure the background isn’t cluttered with last night’s take-out.

On-Campus Interviews are the most demanding of the interviews described above.The campus interview can be as long as three days or as short as a one-day visit packed with meeting upon meeting. They almost always involve some travel, so plan for delays or lost luggage.Most on-campus interviews might include a job talk (teaching, research, or both), conversations with students, a lunch, dinner, and/or reception, and meetings with search committee members, department faculty, the department chair, the school or college dean, and a vice-provost (or two).