What/who … What to ask candidates in a Skype interview Skype is an effective interviewing tool for recruiters and candidates, especially during initial hiring stages. However, five minutes at the end of the skype interview is probably not enough time to answer anything substantive. The other day we interviewed a guy who didn’t seem to take this job application business seriously at all. ( Log Out / They want someone who attends and presents at the right conferences for an ecologist, publishes in the right journals for an ecologist, submits proposals to the right grant programs for an ecologist, and in general walks and talks like an ecologist. Do you tell people who point out sexism and racism that they should “lighten up,” too? This is now the next stage, where they are assessing other things such as your ability to communicate verbally, effectively. Preparation can ensure that you can combat technical issues, know how to appear well on camera and have a successful Skype interview. It really takes the wind out of the sails when the first 5 minutes are spent trying to troubleshoot audio problems so everyone can hear you. I have been on a committee in a professional organization and we do phone teleconferences. Which facilities would you be able to use, what equipment would you would need to buy? They are probably evaluating, “is this someone I want to spend that much time with?” – that’s human nature. This faculty search is broad enough that, for many candidates, I don’t know the technical nitty-gritty of the research projects, but you bet I can tell whether the person answers precisely and succinctly, whether they are at the top of their game, and whether they are persuasive enough in their communication to be able to get recognition for their work and effectively raise grants. I can envision that some advisors won’t want to or can’t see to address some of these issues (like English fluency or the questions for the interviewers). So work on your English tirelessly, from the minute you arrive in the US. Faculty Pre-Recruitment Guide; Faculty Recruiting and Hiring Guide; Interview Questions to Avoid; Job and Salary Offer; Guidelines for Forming a Search Committee; Interviewing Candidates; Position Sourcing Ideas; Post-Recruitment Activities; Reference Checks; Sample Interview Questions for Any Position; Sample Interview Questions for Faculty Don’t: Be so nervous that you freeze and forget everything that you prepared or stumble over your own words. Show that you listen carefully to their questions, you get what they are driving at, you are thoughtful but quick, and you can respond in an articulate manner. Some other pointers and things that I did during my phone interview. You have to take the job search — any job search — seriously. You can strengthen your article by giving suggestions to address these challenges. @Rheophile: It is hard to make the distinction between fluency and slickness… I might emphasize that, if you can convey your ideas and have thought about the position, a little awkwardness or even longwindedness isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker. Talking about your intellectual contribution to your field is different from talking about your methods or what your data showed (which is a mistake that many candidates make). If you are self-conscious about how you look, desktop with a camera on top of a large screen versus laptop where you look downward may be all you need to eliminate the triple chin or whatever else you hate about your look while skyping; using a separate camera atop your desktop monitor also enables you to not have to be super close to it, so your face will look less distorted. Don’t: Continually refer back to the same few topics, experiments, or findings from your own research in a very narrow manner. I know some people don’t like it when I mention this, but it’s important for all non-native speakers of English out there trying to get a faculty job in the US (or any other job that requires specialization and/or an advanced degree, especially if it pays well): You have to work on your English. I prefer to provide questions to candidates if possible, unless the committee is only asking super obvious questions like tell us about your research directions and what will you teach. Meanwhile I had been squinting and leaning in to try to see people’s faces on my tiny laptop screen. This comes off as too aggressive and amateurish. Oxford Law Faculty Recommended for you. BUT, lots of people with accents speak very fluently and eloquently (Joseph Conrad was one of the greatest English novelists but always spoke English with a heavy Polish accent), so as long as people can understand you easily, don’t feel self-conscious about the accent! When you drone on, in painful monotone, about the technical minutiae during your Skype interview, so that most of the committee no longer looks at you but at their phones or laptops, you are dead in the water; you are never getting that campus interview. My PhD advisor did comment — once — on my research and teaching statements, and gave me some advice when I was comparing competing offers, but everything else I learned on my own, using resources from the web. Others were only ever able to talk about the minutiae, showing that, while they are good as “doers,”i.e., as someone who can execute the grand vision of others, they are not likely to develop a vision of their own. Now, it’s time for the interview process. 3. Understand the disciplinary nature of the position. I have been on a cross-departmental search committee, and it’s been a ton of work. • Describe your priorities and methods for developing a successful research program. tl;dr: You have my blessing to dress up and invest in good peripherals for skyping. One or more may be from a different department, school, or college at the same university. Well, guess what, ageism is against the law, too. 6. A teleconference interview with an academic search committee has become a standard practice in university searches for faculty hiring. I wish it weren’t so, but the fact that this rolled so easily off your tongue, as it were, makes it pretty transparent that your mental image of a TT faculty candidate is “sooooo young.” To me this is just as distressing as if someone had said soooo white or soooo male or soooo thin — others things that I am not and which have no effect on my ability to do the job. “You may not be able to completely get rid of your accent” – I would go beyond this and say you *will not* get rid of your accent. Some other pointers and things that I did during my phone interview. 4 years later, this post still has a tremendous impact. How is the Skype interview different from a face to face Q&A? Karen Kelsky has advised countless graduate students and junior faculty members on how to navigate the perilous waters of the job search. A Skype interview is the perfect way for a hiring or recruiting manager to filter out those people they do not want to invite along to a second, face-to-face interview. I am plenty articulate, but I think I look like a hideous troll on Skype, and I dread Skype interviews of all types. At the end of the skype interview the search committee is very much in evaluation mode … that’s where their heads are. RICHARD MCMUNN’S 3 TOP SKYPE INTERVIEW TIPS! Definitely! I hate them! The committee is looking for strong scholars, but also people who are interesting and engaging to have a conversation with. I recently was involved in an interview where the interviewee had terrible English. (In my opinion we need more scholars who don’t fit the traditional expectation.) Simple metrics like time since degree or numbers of grants are not reliable. 1. how many preps? Here are some of the key points: 1. Frankly, being able to find this sweet spot is a big part of being a professor and being able to communicate effectively with students and colleagues. Check whether the computer you plan to use has a high-quality webcam and microphone, and if it doesn’t, then invest in a separate webcam/mic that you can attach through a USB port. I guess ageism is alive and well in the Academy! It is a good idea to think about higher-level topics and practice some succinct responses to such questions. Anon, you do not look bad over Skype, I guarantee. Do: Show that you are a strong scholar and articulate speaker. First I outline what to expect, then give a description of what the search committee is looking for in these interviews, then finally offer a series of “do’s” and “don’ts” for you as the candidate during the interview. Remember, you are talking to a group of university professors who have been teaching for a long time. This is one of the intangibles. In this position, how do you think you might be able to support the university’s philosophy toward diversity? Employ your acting skills and make it seem like your response is spontaneous and you are delivering it for the first time.). You have to have some questions for the interviewers. Evaluating these intangibles is one of the reasons we have humans, instead of an algorithm, conducting the search. Answer tip: You should be able to answer this clearly and concisely (aim for three minutes max. Skype interviews are becoming increasingly popular especially for international positions. Show your communication skills through an engaging back-and-forth exchange. When the interview begins, the search chair will introduce herself and probably begin with a brief statement about where they are in the search process, how many candidates remain on the short list, and the timing of the rest of the process (e.g. So maybe there is still hope? Ack! I didn't read from ithem, but I consulted them to make sure I hit my major bullet points. Get somewhere where you won’t be disturbed, with a neutral background; use a desktop if possible, with a good camera, microphone, and speakers; that will prevent you from having to stare at a tiny screen somewhere down there at a weird angle to the the vertical. Do: Have talking points prepared that give concise answers to the kinds of questions you are able to anticipate. In my last post, I covered the initial steps of applying for academic faculty jobs, basically preparing and submitting the application material to the universities. I had all the standard interview questions and my answers typed out and on my desk. Xyk, original anon here. A highly ranked candidate on paper was slick, but he conveyed great personal ambition (as in, he wants to rule the world), which is not a bad thing in its own right, but in his case it came with very little regard or excitement about the science (as in, yeah, sure, I will also do some science on my inevitable ascent to 50-person-lab-by-end-of-tenure-track greatness, but I don’t particularly want to talk about the specifics of what I will do). You have to be able to answer why this job, assuming you want it, is a good fit for you. You’re past that. OTOH, one person who will be coming to the on-site interview was a non-slick, non-native speaker, but he was fluent (with an accent); most importantly, he was excited and very knowledgeable about his science. More info under "Academaze" tab. There has likely been some brief discussion about the letters, along the lines of “She got a really strong letter from Prof. X at university Y,” or “Professor A at university B wrote about his research, but nothing more than what’s in his papers, so she didn’t seem to know him very well.” Members of the search committee have also probably seen a few of your top publications and each member has skimmed them to varying degrees. Good luck! (Here I’ll call it a “skype” interview, although a variety of teleconferencing software is used.) However, all of the questions are unbiased and appropriate to ask. This makes it appear that you are myopic, as if you can’t step beyond the specific project that’s right in front of you. The search committee is looking for these three things: (a) someone who will be a good faculty colleague, (b) someone who will “interview well” if they are invited for the on-campus interview, and (c) someone who fits the needs of this position well, as described in the job ad (and in the context of the needs and the traditions of that university and that department). Skype interview details: 37 interview questions and 38 interview reviews posted anonymously by Skype interview candidates. What are the projects for your first three students at X? I spent two days this week involved in interviews as well. Don’t: State overly general platitudes. For the skype interview, avoid seeming negative (or arrogant, demanding, or critical) and accentuate collegiality where you can. I interviewed at Skype. We set up continuous blocks of time (about 4 hours each) in which we interviewed 4 to 5 people in a block, with the interview start times typically spaced 45 minutes apart. There is nothing wrong with tweaking the setup and the visuals at your end if that will make you feel more confident. But now that you have me thinking about how people looked, I think I had fun noticing their various surroundings. 5. Hiring a new tenure-track faculty member through a national search is a big deal to the existing faculty and everyone has strong opinions. Don’t: Recite a list of the information that is on your CV or of all the projects you’ve been involved in (the committee members have all read that.) Many people could not articulate what their plans were for the next 5 years beyond “I will do this (one paper’s worth), and then maybe I will do that (another paper’s worth).” They could not tell how they would be different from everything that their postdoc and PhD advisors did. The quest to improve your English should never stop. The interviews we do last about 15-20 min, but can go up to 30 min, and I think that’s a very good duration. to begin with; if the committee has questions, they'll ask them). You raise some good points, but you mostly focus on the negative. Sample Interview Questions for Faculty Candidates To help facilitate the search process, the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Academic Personnel have compiled a list of questions that faculty might use during telephone and/or on-campus interviews. The process took 2 days. By this stage, they have also probably received your letters of recommendation. In addition to the questions themselves, there are brief guidelines on how to actually answer the questions. You may also be asked questions which are inappropriate, even illegal. If you want to take your Skype interview seriously, make sure you download a copy of our 22 SKYPE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS and HIGH-SCORING ANSWERS! Most universities will shortlist the applications to between 5 – 20% for further evaluation, which usually includes two types of interviews: first, a remote interview (via phone or Skype), and finally… Carol Ormand adapted the questions below from a list of interview questions compiled by Heppner & Downing in conjunction with following journal article: Heppner, P. & Downing, N. (1982) Job interviewing for new psychologists: riding the emotional roller coaster. Sometimes the advice people give seems to highlight somewhat superficial stuff. How much influence did you have regarding: number of students? Interview. If you haven’t been on a faculty interview at a major research university before, be prepared for high-level questions about your field, including questions about your own intellectual contributions to your field. Depending on the duration of the Skype interview, you may or may not have time for all of these, but be prepared to ask something. 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