Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Interview'd (Part I)

Day one of the interview is over, and I am basically brain-dead.

There is something immensely odd about interviewing for what is essentially one’s own job: the pronouns get muddled, as do the tenses, and (putting on the shoes of the interviewers) I’m not sure there’s much comparability between what an outsider might say and what I would.

Maybe it just doesn’t feel like an interview “should” because (a) I am basically comfortable with the people I am talking to and (b) I have resigned myself to knowing my fate is essentially out of my hands; I can fiddle at the margins, but essentially whether or not I get the job is largely determined by whether or not they find someone “better” than me who also accepts this offer, neither factor being under my control.

The analogy in my mind that keeps replaying itself is something that came up during one of my feeble attempts at a relationship with another political scientist† who explained to me that for all my swell features her existing boyfriend had “incumbency advantage.”*

Well, the one time previous to this when incumbency advantage should have accrued to me on the job market it did me very little good—partially my own fault in that case, since I was still in “meek new faculty member” mode—and I am no more optimistic now than I had right to be in the past.

† Said individual, in that whole “small world” thing was one of the people I said they should strongly consider for this job, to apparently no avail—which goes to show you how in tune my thinking is with the search committee’s, probably a bad sign for me.
* Viewers of The Office will immediately recognize that I am a morbidly obese precursor to Jim Halpert; my lawyers will be talking with those at NBC in due time.


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.

Like you, I interviewed for a job this week and it was exhausting. I reviewed behavioral interview questions, went over old documents to trigger skills that I used and allowed my mind to drift over past events. And many of the questions were acutally used.

Whew! I’m tired just remembering.



Heads up there! You’ll get that tenure-track job! Ace your job talk and show interest in the members of the committee. Appear collegial and deferential. And most of all, indicate how much you are looking forward to working on all those committees!

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