What Faculty Look for In Potential Colleagues

There’s no way to know specifically what a given Search Committee looks for when interviewing a potential colleague, but generally speaking, most faculty look for a colleague with the following characteristics:

  • FitEssentially, faculty members are looking for a colleague who is compatible with other members of that faculty. People like to hire someone they would enjoy having around.
  • Proven track record.If you have teaching experience, have presented papers at conferences, and have published one or more papers, then you’ve demonstrated that you can contribute to the department and to the institution.
  • Commitment. Hiring new faculty is a time-consuming and tiring process, so no one wants to hire a person who will leave after 1 or 2 years. In addition, much of a faculty member's value to a department comes only after a few years experience, so they don't want to lose you before you make your greatest contributions.
  • Depth (particular expertise) as well as breadth (general knowledge of the field). Your depth, typically, is in the area of your dissertation. But you must know more than just that one area because it’s likely you’ll be asked to teach a course that is unrelated to your specific area of expertise.
  • Excellence in both teaching and research. Even departments that place greater weight on one more than the other tend to want faculty who can do both.