I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all

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I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, sewer, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all, blogging, Costumed Beagle enthusiast. I am not always pleasant, although through intensive cupcake therapy I have learned not to throw knives at people anymore.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Notes to the Interviewers

I've just concluded a round of interviews at schools all over the country.  I had decided last year that working full time as a part time adjunct faculty at multiple universities was a waste of my time and energy and also I've started to panic about retirement, so it was time to move into a full time, tenure track position.

There were qualities I was looking for in a position, and think I ended up interviewing at a pretty good
group of schools.  My particular field is so specific that there are not many positions out there in any given year, but this year several opened up and it seemed like a good year to go back to full time for realzies.

ALL the places I interviewed were very nice with many passionate people that clearly know what they are doing and LOVE to teach.  However, as someone at the battering end of the interview process, I have a few suggestions to make the process easier on me and you (for the record this is not a list of things schools did wrong--some of them are things schools did right that I noticed made a difference.):

1. Before 8:00 am is too early to start the day.  Especially if the person is coming to the east coast from the west coast.  You're going to kill them.  Also, they won't be as coherent as you or they'd like to be.

2.  On that same note: Get the girl a coke.  or coffee, or whatever.  It takes a lot of energy to keep up appearances all day long. Also a bottle of water.  We don't know where the drinking fountains are and we end up talking All DAY LONG.

3. DO find out if the person being interviewed has any special dietary needs.  I don't, nor am I picky, but I'll bet this is important for some people and they may not want to ask for special consideration.  For me, I always want dessert.  ALWAYS.

4. Remember, you're being interviewed too.  If I'm going to pack up my life, my house, my kids, the dog and the kitchen sink and move it across the country, I want to know that this job and town is a good fit.  Have materials ready for me--anything I might want to know that concerns my job: budgets, benefits, classes I will be expected to teach (especially in the upcoming fall semester), a list of the next season's shows...etc.  Oh, and salary.  Someone should know what this position pays.

5.  Please be efficient with the schedule.  I'm busy.  You're busy, and if you're doing it right you have at least three candidates you have to entertain and shuttle around, all at the the worst possible time of the year.  I may have to find someone to cover my classes and I KNOW you have classes and grading and who knows what to do.  If you can fit it all in a day or day and a half, please do.  I understand how tough scheduling can be, so do your best.  Also, not all candidates need prep time before a lecture or portfolio review--ask us what we need before you schedule in 2 hours of prep time.  I came prepared. I'll probably glance at my notes, but most likely I'll end up checking Face Book.

6.  IF there is downtime, please don't feel like you need to babysit me.  If you are there, I'll feel like I need to talk to you and be all charming and pleasant.  If you're me, that takes an awful lot of work.  I will not be offended nor will I try to escape if you let me out of your site.  I know you're trying to be a good host, but really, if there is going to be "downtime" I'd really rather not sit up quite so straight or smile quite so much for a minute.  Also, I need to check Face Book.

7. Typically the school doing the interviewing pays for the trip out there.  Please be specific about what you will or will not (or as in most cases can and cannot) pay for.  Checked luggage?  Water at the airport?  Parking? I may not ask if you don't offer.  But since I'm looking for job chances are I'll let you pay for every penny.

8.  Please give your candidates a timeline.  From the very beginning.  I know that the wheels of administration in higher education grind slow, but if you are too slow, I will assume you've moved on and aren't considering me anymore.  You may not be able to say where you are in the process, but please don't ignore us.  "We've just started our reviewing process" or "We're still reviewing applications" is a great way to relieve a little stress.  And then as soon as you can, send a little email letting me know you've hired someone and have closed out the hiring process.

9. I know you can't ask me about my personal life and family and if I have kids or not and I'll be careful to try to obey that little HR code too, but you CAN offer up details that I MIGHT be interested in IF those things applied to me.  Like schools in the area (I'm an educator after all), and who we could talk to in the department SHOULD that interest us IF we are offered the job.

10.  And lastly, please be honest.  If there is conflict within the department for whatever reason, at least give me a hint, especially if it will impact (or deals directly) with the job I'm interviewing for.  Maybe I don't need details, but I also don't want to be blindsided on the first day of the semester.  You want to hire the best person for the job for keeps so you don't have to do this again in a year or two and quite frankly, if I'm interviewing for tenure track positions, and have moved across the country for this job, I probably don't want to have to repeat this process again next year.  It's exhausting.



I think I've concluded my interviewing for the year; I'll keep you posted on what ends up happening. For the record, I'm not quite sure at this point. I feel really good about all of my interviews.   I have a lot of options.  Options are good.  But the one thing I feel confident saying to any of the schools I might end up working for is this: I'm a nationally competitive person in my field, who really was that comfortable interviewing and no I really didn't sweat at all and yes all my lectures are that funny and brilliant and you didn't choose poorly (if you choose me--can't vouch for the others ones).  Well done, you.  Well done.

And now we nap.



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