I’m also looking for academic positions and there is so much truth in Rebecca’s post from a couple weeks ago, that I highly recommend reading it. I also wanted to speak a little bit about my experience, specifically in relation to the interviews.
In addition to making (small) steps towards graduating and enjoying the NBA playoffs, this past month I’ve had two different types of interview experiences and wanted to shed some light into what to expect. Disclaimer, I’ve only focused on applying to positions that focus on teaching, specifically at smaller PUI schools and community colleges.
I’ve had two phone interviews which were very different from one another, both in the types of questions and tone. However, count on several different people being there, usually at least 3-4 different faculty members, with the interview being led by the department chair. For one of the positions, it was a tenure-track position and questions were much more direct and specific, such as “Please provide some ideas on how you would use research as a learning tool” with the committee looking to gain insight into my expectations with working with undergraduates. The other phone interview was for an instructor position and felt more like a conversation as opposed to an interview. Here, I was asked more broad questions like “How did you first become interested in chemistry?” Like I mentioned, I’ve focused on positions with primarily teaching responsibilities, so I did not get asked any questions about my research and would imagine this would be different for research oriented positions. I was somewhat surprised by this, but I can say that having seen faculty hired through our department here at Rutgers, final candidates were asked to come and give a short talk about their research, so it’s possible this was the next step in the interview process.
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to an “Adjunct Invitational” at a local community college. I’ve spoken to some other colleagues about what this experience would be like, but it seems like most community colleges do this process slightly differently. About 4 weeks ago, a representative from Human Resources contacted me about selecting a time slot for their Adjunct Invitational giving me options of 2 hour-long slots. When I arrived at the college, there was a large waiting area with tables surrounding the waiting area in a large circle, similar to a Career or Involvement Fair. At each table was a different academic department, and when your name was called an HR representative would come and escort you to your “interview” with your respective department. I use interview loosely here as it was more of an informal conversation asking about my teaching experiences and philosophy only lasting between 10-15 minutes for myself in both circumstances. I interviewed with two departments and spoke with 2 and 3 faculty respectively, so despite signing up for an hour long slot, I was only there for about a half hour, but that could change depending on how many candidates are interviewing for your position. Some of the other people in the waiting area spent more time waiting to be interviewed than the actual interview.
While I haven’t heard back from either yet, getting these “reps” and practice for these positions was really important helping calm my nerves a little bit, so the only thing I will add to Rebecca’s post is that not getting an offer is STILL progress. Good luck to anyone else on the job hunt!