Monday, November 26, 2007

Make It a Hurricane, Before I Go Insane

I have to say, I'm sort of amused by how so many candidates--including me--freak out about what we're going to wear to interviews we hope we have. It's not just commentors here. It's people in this thread at the Chronicle, and way back in this old forum too.

This must be one of those things civilians find bizarre about the academic job market. By the time we're interviewing for jobs, we don't even know how to dress ourselves. And then, instead of just figuring it out like sane human beings, we go bat-shit crazy.

But the bat-shitiness doesn't just come out of nowhere. I can feel myself seizing on the clothes issue because it's one of the only god-damned things I can control about this process. Everything I've worked towards for years, everything I want for my professional life--everything--comes down to a process that seems as indifferent to my efforts as the tide to a king's order that it not rise. So I freak out about what font to use on my CV and what to wear for interviews.

That, and I start prepping for interviews like a motherfucker.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Insane already. Can't somebody update the wiki? Honestly, just having evidence that progress is being made toward my perhaps maybe getting an interview is deeply calming.

To make it really entertaining, all you profs on hiring committees (whatever happened to Inside Man, anyway?) could let us know how it's going -- anonymously, of course.

lostmarbles said...

How 'bout this: I am meta-freaking out. I am freaking out because I just don't think I'm quite fuckin' freaked out enough. I mean, I am not prepping like a motherfucker for job interviews. I don't even have a job talk! I mean should I be working 12 hours a day on this stuff? How hard could it be, I think. So begins the upward spiral into neuroses. DENIAL is also a good coping strategy I find. You should try it : )

September Blue said...

Ha, CV fonts. I think I could've written about three articles and a postdoc proposal in the time I've spent trying to work out whether 11-point Verdana looks suitably professional.

Anonymous said...

I'm not on a hiring committee this year, but I've been on them. Keep in mind that we teach and grade as well as hire. This is a busy time. Right about now (say, maybe for the last week or so), people are just beginning to peek into the pile and scribble down notes. The committee probably isnt going to meet until the end of next week at the earliest, more likely a week after that.

The very earliest phone calls will start being made is about a week from Friday, or 2 weeks from today at most departments. 3 weeks from now is when they will start to peter out.

Anonymous said...

So what font did you use on your cv?

Anonymous said...

I'm on a hiring committee, too (chairing one, in fact). We've set up a meeting to discuss candidate files in a couple of weeks, and it's unlikely most committee members will read many of the files until shortly before then. Yes, this is a crazy time of year. Reading files takes a really long time--think about it. The first year I was on a hiring committee I spent about 20 minutes or so reading each file (I'm far more conscientious than some other SC members). When you get over 100 applicants, that's many, many hours... So, be patient! I know, easy for me to say...

M.A. program faculty member said...

OK, freaking out over clothing for the APA is totally understandable. And it's worth worrying about a little bit (FWIW, the advice about dressing so as not to be noticed at all is spot-on). But really, the number of interviewees for whom clothing choices actually made a difference is probably incredibly small (i.e., the number of folks for whom there is another possible world in which they wore different outfits--excluding clown suits and the like--and in which they were offered jobs they weren't in the actual world, or vice-versa).

Now fonts, that's a lot more important. Having a bizarrely-formatted CV makes you look unprofessional, and it casts doubt on how well you've been acculturated in the ways of academia. Times New Roman 11 or 12 point is my suggestion.

Nate said...

I used 12 point Garamond. Its not a weird font but you can fit a lot more on one page with it. But if I don't get any interviews this year I guess I know why. It was my poor choice in font selection! I'm joking, of course.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Think about your interview suit as the 'magic confidence suit' -- and only wear the one that does that for you. Anything else won't do...

Liberal Arts Prof said...

Former typesetter to the rescue here!

First, watch this film:

http://www.helveticafilm.com/

Not enough? Still hoping for a sharp CV? Two easy rules:

1) Sans-serif fonts for your headings. Maybe Frutiger or Gill Sans.

2) Serif fonts for the body. I personally favor Goudy Old Style - clean and easy to read.

There, you will all get jobs now. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

I understand that search committees are busy now, too, but some deadlines passed almost a month ago -- what was the point of a Nov 1 deadline if nothing was going to happen before December anyway (I'm looking at you, Connecticut)?

tt asst prof said...

Love the font stuff. Thanks.

One quick comment: for those naysayers who continue with this garbage about "blending in" and suggest that your state of dress will not win you the gig; please, give me a break.

First, to say that you should dress well does not, under any charitable interpretation, imply that one will 'win a job' on one's outfit alone. That's plain stupid. Obviously, your work and your fitness for the job matter most. But if you go to your job interview and you look like a donkey, you will be treated like a donkey. Moral of this fable: don't dress like a frickin' donkey. Dress sensibly. What's that mean? Dress professionally.

Second, same goes with your CV. If your CV is stamped in courier and is poorly organized, you look like a donkey. Know what's crazy about that? Up until ten years ago, _everybody's_ CV was typed in courier.

Moral of this fable: don't push a CV that is written in donkey font.

Second moral of this fable: don't look to senior faculty, who dressed for their job interviews when smokers still involved smoking, for advice on how to dress for a job interview in the zeds. That's donkey advice.

bob said...

Of course, it is probably those senior faculty who "who dressed for their job interviews when smokers still involved smoking" who will be doing the interviewing, so perhaps their advice might count for a bit more than you assume.

Anonymous said...

I use liquid crystal and teutonic #1. Together.

Anonymous said...

I think freaking out about what to wear is totally rational when nothing else in the job hunt is rational. It's a human thing. When there's a bunch of stuff you can't control, you look for what you can.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

I understand that search committees are busy now, too, but some deadlines passed almost a month ago -- what was the point of a Nov 1 deadline if nothing was going to happen before December anyway (I'm looking at you, Connecticut)?"

A lot of schools wait until classes are over to have their first meetings on apps, which for us is mid December. A November 1 deadline gives the aa time to arrange and sort all the folders and follow up with folks whose applications are incomplete. It also gives us time to see how many we've got and divide the labor. Half of us will get A-L, the other half M-Z. We read them and send our top choices to the other folks. All of this has to happen prior to our first search meeting. At our first search meeting we try to pick 10-12 folks from the short list of 20-25 to interview.

As for dress, please stop stressing about it. I recall nothing about how candidates were dressed for our last 2 searches, and one of my grad school friends got a Leiteriffic job wearing sandals, a shawl, and a sombrero to her APA interviews.

Anonymous said...

So (thanks to Anon 5:49's helpful post) we can expect to hear from few schools before December 10, and few after December 21. That's very helpful. It tells me I should write full-time until the 7th, and only then start to worry that weekend. I need a break from worrying about jobs, and start worrying about how many drafts of my present paper are too many, when it means I'm writing myself into a circle. I think four is the charm, but a couple of days ago I thought three was, so what do I know?

lostmarbles said...

I am seriously stressing about whether MV Boli at 11.5 is unprofessional now. I had no idea there was so much to stress about. I also just noticed that my section headings on my writing sample, somehow, between computer to printer, moved around. So now all of my writing samples have a widowed section heading and one that has more space than any others. Oh god, oh god, oh god. My files are just going in the garbage now. This does seem like something to stress about. And it's a stupid mistake. Before this is over, I just know my head is going to pop right off.

Anonymous said...

I hear the big thing committees are looking at this year is whether your CV font matches what you're wearing. I think courier goes best with my blue blazer.

Anonymous said...

Just buy a suit. You've put so much energy into the process so don't leave anything to chance at this point. Get some nice shoes while your at it. Yes, these are people and who know what turns them off. It could simply be the mud on your shoes or the lack of a dimple in your tie, don't give them anything to pick apart. Instead of saying the latter, they will say "He's an arrogant asshole." I've heard it with my own ears.

tt asst prof said...

Bob said: "Of course, it is probably those senior faculty who...will be doing the interviewing, so perhaps their advice might count for a bit more than you assume."

But probably not. They probably don't know what they expect, but probably do know that they expect something. In all likelihood, they expect to be impressed. Not having thought about it much, they probably draw on their next best experience, which was fifteen or thirty years ago. Those senior faculty members wouldn't be very impressed if they got a CV typeset in courier, even though their own CV may still be typeset in courier.

Look, philosophers have this thing about downplaying the importance of first impressions, of judging a book by its cover, and so on. What's the point? To show that we really read the books? Of course we read the books. That becomes clear minutes, sometimes seconds, into a discussion.

Put another way: I love books and bookstores as much as the next guy. I like well written and clear text. I like the way books feel in my hands. And I like the way, yes, books smell. I suspect I'm not alone. At the same time, nobody can tell me (honestly) that covers don't matter. So get a nice dust jacket.

And, senior faculty, stop giving bad advice to graduate students who need every advantage they can find. In all likelihood you haven't been on the other side of the table in years. Please try to remember that when graduate students are applying for jobs, they maybe, at most, have three publications. More than likely they have zero publications. That doesn't leave much to evaluate, so personality, dress, and persona matter a lot more than they might in your cases, where you're riding a wave of 45 publications amassed over 20 years.

Also, as to the interviews: again, it's the same thing. People lose fly out opportunities on their interviews at the APA. If they act like asses, or don't know how to explain their dissertation, or say something foolish about a particular pet problem of a particular interviewer, or even have a glob of spinach in their teeth, that can scuttle opportunities for very talented graduate students.

And applicants, take heart: everybody knows you're almost all (with the exception of very few) outrageously talented. You wouldn't be applying for these jobs if you didn't have some of the right stuff.

I'm interviewing candidates for an administrative position at my university both today and yesterday. It's a different sort of job, but all of my applicants have doctorates. One woman yesterday couldn't make eye contact. Guess what we talked about for twenty minutes after she left, and even after the next candidate left?

(Answer: Helvetica.)

P.G.O.A.T. said...

Liberal arts prof: mixing serif and sans-serif fonts in the same document?!? Are you kidding me? That's mixing plaid and stripes, my friend. Don't do it.

Anonymous said...

"or the lack of a dimple in your tie"

I am planning on wearing a tie. But I didn't know it is supposed to have a dimple! I have a nice dimple on my cheek (not that cheek). Will this suffice? How does one put a dimple in one's tie? Please help! I am serious.

Anonymous said...

People, people! Let's settle down here. Seriously now, I don't think we need to know how to put a dimple in a tie to do well at interviews.

But can someone tell me how to put a paper in Phil Review?

Liberal Arts Prof said...

P.G.O.A.T said:
"Liberal arts prof: mixing serif and sans-serif fonts in the same document?!? Are you kidding me? That's mixing plaid and stripes, my friend. Don't do it."

Au contraire my caprilicious friend! That there's 19th-century Donkey Thinking. Mixing is bad for narrative documents, good for advertising documents. The CV is all about ad-space and eyeballs.

Sans attracts the eye, serif holds it. It's all about proportionality, baby, so do pay attention to which fonts you use (and use no more than 2 in any one document)! Give it a whirl and tell me what you think.

--slides the Gin and Tonic across the bar, and shambles towards the door--

Liberal Arts Prof said...

Anonymous said...

"I use liquid crystal and teutonic #1. Together."

I just saw that CV, and the dissertation abstract for "From Fraktur to Fractals: Germanic Optics and the Birth of Neo-Ontology"

Sweet stuff, Anon. APA interview for you!

M.A. program faculty member said...

"Donkey advice?" Eh, whatever.

Look, these folks interviewing you are friggin' academics in the humanities, not MBAs. It's not going to make a difference whether you're wearing a pin-striped suit or a coat and tie. Or if a does make a tiny difference, it could cut either way (maybe some slovenly scholar is subconsciously turned off by a guy looking 'too slick').

So don't worry about it too much. Any slight gain is more than offset by the loss of having yet another thing to be nervous about. ("Ahh-is my tie properly dimpled?!?") Freaking out over your research spiel is much more productive.

Just make sure that your clothes are comfortable. You do not want to be sitting in your interview feeling like you're collar is cutting into your neck or you're about to get blisters. Wear your interviewing clothes beforehand somewhere, and break in your shoes.

Anonymous said...

To LostMarbles,

You should work constantly on your job talk even without the assurances of a call-back; because:

(a) Having worked on your job-talk, which should be representative of your interests, you are sharpening yourself up for the interviews at the APA.

(b) Even if you don't even get an interview, that job-talk should be sharp enough for publication. In that case, you can send it out to conferences or to journals--the publication of which, one way or the other, will beef up your CV for next time.

New TT AssProf said...

At my place of employment, the hiring committee narrows down to 30 candidates starting on Nov. 26th. They have until December 13th, at which time the hiring committee narrows down to 10-12 candidates for the actual interviews. Assuming they can agree on that list--a big if since we have two hires this year--the calls are made either on the 13th or the day later, or even later than that.

When I was on the market, I'd gotten calls on the 24th. Once, I even got a call while at the APA in the form of a bulletin board message! So, you know, plenty of time still. Just keep on working on that job talk for reasons already mentioned.

Anonymous said...

First APA interview scheduled! Check the wiki. Of course, it isn't with me.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

I understand that search committees are busy now, too, but some deadlines passed almost a month ago -- what was the point of a Nov 1 deadline if nothing was going to happen before December anyway (I'm looking at you, Connecticut)?"

It looks like Connecticut must have been listening and got on the phone.

Anonymous said...

Helvetica sucks.

Anonymous said...

To all current/former search committee members ...

I applied for the Connecticut job. If I didn't get a call from them by today -- i.e. the day when someone on the wiki mentions having scheduled an APA interview (isn't this early, relative to the timetable discussed on this thread?) -- does that mean that I'm definitely out of the running? OR can it take awhile for these things to be scheduled? If the latter, are we talking days? weeks?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:10 -- yeah, you and 500 other people.

Speaking of which, can anyone think of a decent way to count the applicants who use this blog? I mean, we're the ones so consumed by philosophy we're actually debating whether or not serif and sans serif fonts can peacefully coexist (personally, I'm a combatibilist about serifness) -- I bet there are enough jobs for us.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Anon 8:10. Whether or not CT will be contacting others (well, Inside Man & co., might they?!), isn't this *really* early for this notification? Everything we've read here has suggested that we won't hear anything about interviews until early-mid December. Any why would CT want to contact finalists so early anyway? What's the rush? Any suspicion that this is a bogus entry on the wiki?

Anonymous said...

I suspect that the CT interview is a bogus entry on the wiki. It's a bit suspicious that it turned up after the issue was raised in this thread. So I'm waiting to hear confirmation from other sources. It'll be sad if the wiki's used to spread this sort of misinformation.

Anonymous said...

I am aware of at least one place (not Connecticut) that has contacted at least one person for an APA interview. So it is possible that departments have actually begun contacting interviewees already. Since its not my interview however, I can't put it on the wiki. I have also made a resolution not to look at the wiki at all...ever.

committee member #3 said...

Remember that scheduling interviewees is actually a complicated constraint satisfaction problem. So it is perfectly likely that a department makes a few calls/emails at a time. And yes, this is still very early. Don't sweat yet ...

Anonymous said...

Anytime between after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve can calls for interviews be expected.

--Years of Experience (unfortunately)

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:17

You're teasing us. Now we all want to know which dept. made that interview call. Have you told your friend about the wiki?

Anonymous said...

You know, it doesn't take a lot of time to check the wiki every couple of hours: it's not like it requires a long time to read right now. So it's possible to both check it obsessively and still work on the diss.

Anonymous said...

Hey, anon 10:55, this is anon 7:17.

You are right - I probably should have kept that to myself. I mainly wanted to suggest that it is possible that some people have been contacted. Still I don't think any of us should expect very much to be happening at this stage of things EVEN IF some calls have been made. I'll tell the person in question about the wiki though.

However, I do want to question the value of the wiki. This is my second time on the market and all it has done for me has caused me stress. Seriously, what can you use it for except to cross jobs you really wanted off the list of possibilities? All that does is contribute to the increasing sense of fear self-doubt and despair that marks the passage of days in December. I'm not sure that the (possible) knowledge that the wiki provides is really worth it.

Its also not a good guide. Here's one example. Last year, I got a fly-in invitation from a school a good three weeks after the school that invited me appeared on the wiki as having arranged its campus interviews. So all I got out of the wiki in this case was unwarranted despair. Admittedly this did give way to brief euphoria when I got the call...but still.

If the wiki has some value that I am missing, please enlighten me.

Anonymous said...

The wiki is a big distraction, but I like seeing the activity there, even if it produces a little unnecessary anxiety. This 'dead air' time between the deadlines and the interview scheduling is unbearable anyway -- at least the wiki give some signs that the search committees are working their magic...

Anonymous said...

Crap the American University at Cairo already scheduled their APA interview. I guess there will be no pyramids for me!

Anonymous said...

I am also conflicted about the Wiki site: it felt like I kicked in the gut last year when I found out that I didn't a job I had a fly-out for through a posting on it. On one hand, I found out earlier and so could move on, and on the other hand it would have been a little bit easy to find out in person from the Dean.

wikimonger said...

That wiki is moving now. SF State and App. State. I didn't apply, but I am curious if any ABD's or newbie PhDs got an interview with SF State.

undetached rabbit part said...

A little more action over at the wiki (Beloit College etc). I'm 0 for 4 over there so far. Damn wiki.

wikimonger said...

Chicago set up APA interviews. Man I thought I was a lock for that one. Yeah right!

Anonymous said...

Nobody should sweat not getting Connecticut. Think about it:

Open rank, Open area.

Good but not great doctoral program (so everyone thinks they at least *might* have a shot).

East Coast but not prohibitively expensive area to live in.

500 applications? They probably received close to 600 (or more).

Anonymous said...

How about not getting the Washington and Lee interview. Can I sweat that?!

undetached rabbit parts said...

I'm not getting interviews for jobs I didn't even want.