Saturday, January 5, 2008

The water is wide, I can't cross over

PGS has got me thinking about my APA interviews. One thing that sticks out for me is how similar they all were. Not that some didn't go better or worse, but that the activity of 'being interviewed' was remarkably the same from one to the next. They all had their introductions, the quick small talk, the "so tell us about your research" question, the follow-ups, the (when I was lucky) engaging conversation, the talk about courses I would teach, the "we're running out of time" last question, the 'good-byes' and the handshakes.

All that similarity makes me focus on the little differences, especially the little differences that aren't at all relevant to my job prospects. For example, it seemed like each of my interviewers offered me water (or didn't) in a different way.

Some offered me water when we first sat down. Some didn't offer anything at all. One group offered water half-way into the interview. Some offered bottled water, some a pre-poured glass, and another offered an empty glass with a pitcher. Even though I used to work as a waiter, I didn't touch that damn thing. In one interview, I got offered a pre-poured glass of water with a plastic cover on the top (like the sort that room service would send up). In another interview, I sat down to see a glass of water at the center of the table, but nearer to me than to anyone else. While I assumed it was mine, no one offered it to me until I got up to leave. It felt like a party favor (or maybe a consolation prize).

The best was the place that had a fruit and dessert plate. I had some berries, but I left the pastries (and their crumbs) on the damn plate.

So, does anyone else have something professionally-irrelevant to share about their APA interview experiences? I'd love to hear from someone who interviewed in the "Austin Powers Magic Suite" at the Pier V hotel. What was that room like?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nth Year,

It sounds like you had a zillion interviews? How many? Also, I think I also interviewed with a place that an appetizer plate!

Nth Year said...

I was fortunate with interviews this year, but my post may make it seem like I had more than I did (since some of the situations I described happened in the same interview).

Anonymous said...

One interviewer not only offered me pastries/fruit but suggested that "I looked like I needed some." Not a good sign :<

Anonymous said...

The "Austin Powers Magic Suite" (its name was on a placard on the door!) included a bar and a circular hottub. Out of fairness to the department that interviewed there, I got the impression that at least some of them were embarrassed about the situation and the department didn't know they'd have that suite until they checked in.

By the way, one of the odd things about the Pier V was that the upper floors had security doors, so you couldn't even get into the corridor outside your interview room without being let in by someone. Led to a lot of confused candidates, haplessly flinging themselves against the doors trying to get in....

Anonymous said...

No one offered me any food or drink, out of four interviews. I think one important difference was suites vs. tables in large noisy rooms. I didn't see much difference from large noisy room to large noisy room, but the suite experience seemed very different atmospherically from the table-among-other-tables experience.

Anonymous said...

I had a post-APA interview last year in an apartment with about 5 or 6 members of the department. I sat in an arm chair in the living room. I noticed after I left that my fly was down. . . . It would have been a great job.

Anonymous said...

I was very surprised at the differences between my seven interviews. Two of the interviews rigorously questioned me about my research (challenged me frequently while discussing my research). A couple asked detailed questions about my teaching style. One of the interviews at a teaching school wasn't really rigorous about anything. Only one interview asked anything about my writing sample.

Three of the interviews had a very friendly tone. One was hostile. One was 'grumpy' (questions suggested the interviewer was unhappy, but not necessarily hostile towards me). Two or three of the interviews suggested the SC had bad 'school self-esteem' (kept asking questions that suggested they didn't really believe I was interested in the job).

On the whole, I thought it went well and I had fun. And maybe I'll even get a couple flyouts. We'll have to wait and see.

Anonymous said...

At one interview there was no food on the table in front of me, only the list of all the candidates they were scheduled to interview!

Grumpy from dieting said...

I had six interviews. Interestingly, only one asked me for my dissertation spiel.

Liberal Arts Prof said...

As for water and pitchers.

I offered a glass of water to each candidate, and if they said yes I made damn sure to pour it for them myself.

Pouring water out of a pitcher with ice in it can be a tricky business, so it is much better for me to look like an idiot when I spill it everywhere than for the candidate to think that it was some sort of test!

Anonymous said...

I was offered wine at one interview.

About half of my interviews asked me for my dissertation spiel. The departments which I considered to be more serious (something not necessarily related to Leiter scales) didn't ask for the dis. spiel, but had actually compiled a set of substantive questions for me, either about my writing sample or my dissertation summary. Of course, that's a lot more work for the interviewers.

Anonymous said...

anon 12:21 said: "Led to a lot of confused candidates, haplessly flinging themselves against the doors trying to get in...."


There has to be a metaphor in there somewhere...