Des conseils de carrière
Here’s what the big day
has in store for you
by Katherine Becker and Libbi Miller
ongratulations! Thanks to a combination of factors – luck, hard work, persistence, a well-worded cover letter – you
have been invited to interview with a
selection committee for a tenure-track
position. Your carefully crafted application stood
out from the pile and passed the scrutiny of designated faculty. Maybe you’ve even successfully
cleared a preliminary phone or video-conference
interview hurdle. Now you must prep for the big
day on campus.
You likely will be picked up at your hotel by
a member of the search committee. Most candidates wear a suit or at least a collared shirt. Ensure
you have fresh breath for the ride to campus. A
full day will be scheduled for you, most likely
1. A job talk
You’ll give a 45-minute (or so) research presentation using PowerPoint or Prezi. The audience
may consist of a few search committee members,
or you may find a lecture hall filled with faculty,
university staff and students. Begin your presentation with some personal background, mentioning what you can bring to the position and to the
university. You cannot be over-prepared. Rehearse
several times beforehand. Make a video of yourself rehearsing and watch it. The audience may
be answering questionnaires about your talk for
the search committee, commenting on your
strengths and weaknesses, comparing you with
other candidates and stating whether they recommend you for hire.
2. Sample teaching
You may be asked to teach a class, usually with
faculty members and university students invited
to watch. Often, the committee is interested to
see how you engage with students. The audience
may be evaluating your performance and completing a similar questionnaire about your lesson.
Again, you cannot be too prepared.
3. A sit-down interview
These are likely the top interview questions you
will be asked. Plan your answers to these and
many other questions on cue cards:
• Why are you interested in this position?
• Which of our courses do you want to teach?
•On conflict: Discuss a time when you had a
conflict with a supervisor. With a colleague?
•How do your knowledge and experience prepare you for this position?
• Talk a bit about the theory that guides your
practice and authors who influence your work.
• Do you have any questions for us?
Memorize your key points. Convey your collegi-ality; that you’ve done your homework about the
position and institution; the potential contributions you can make based on your unique knowledge, skills and experience; and your ability to
secure grant funding.
4. Lunch, campus tour, other meetings
Treat the in-betweens like informal interviews.
Do your research so that you can make informed
small talk. Read key publications of hiring committee members. Scour the university and faculty
Cwebsites for their vision, mission, traditions and long-range plans. Google news stories about the university. Be ready to say how you can help achieve the goals of the faculty and university.
What they won’t tell you
It’s exhausting. If traveling a long distance, aim
to arrive hours or a full day ahead to adjust. The
interview day is packed and can last up to 14
hours if they take you to dinner. Some interviews
are scheduled over two days. If the night before
is a sleepless one, the process will be brutal. Bring
a sleep aid and ear plugs, request a wakeup call
from the front desk and set an additional alarm.
Keep all your receipts so they can reimburse
you. Some schools will pay for all your travel
expenses and meals, others just for the flight.
Find out beforehand so you can plan accordingly.
Search committee members are not supposed
to ask you personal questions, but other staff may
do a little fishing. You may be asked casually
about your significant other and whether you
have kids or others who would need to move
with you to your new city.
After the interview, send a thank-you email
to everyone you met. Wait six weeks before
inquiring about the status of the position; the
committee may have other candidates to interview before making a decision. If they extend a
job offer, the call will come from the dean. This
process can take time, so be patient after your
interview. Spend the days productively, reading
up on how to negotiate faculty job offers and
apply for newly posted positions, just in case.
Katherine Becker is an assistant
professor in the faculty of education
at Lakehead University’s Orillia
campus. Libbi Miller is an assistant
professor of curriculum and
instruction at California State
University in Fresno.