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12/10/11
Academic interviews. After Actions Review
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations)
Posted by: site admin @ 2:58 pm

RG interviewed at two principally undergraduate chemistry
and chemistry-biology departments within the last two weeks.
He felt good about his experiences and thought he could
interview better.

We decided to talk through a interview review session to
identify learnings he had and he could share his insights
from the experience with our readership.  [If you are
interested, this note addresses in a personalized way
the Academic interview branch After the interview of the
Interview continuum from the article:
Before, During and After Interviews.]

The first institution he visited was in the eastern US
and had eight current full time members.  His position
would replace one currently held by a person retiring
soon.  The visit was planned to start off with a airport
pick up by one of the younger faculty (host) in the first
afternoon, hotel check-in and dinner.

The second day involved hotel pick up by the host,
meetings with provost, dean, and chair, a technical
presentation, a classroom presentation on Grignard
reactions (I re-learned the involvement of magnesium
as an organometallic reaction of an alkyl or aryl
magnesium halide with a ketone or aldehyde forming
a C-C bond.), panel meetings with other faculty,
and dinner.  It seemed like a slower changing,
small-city environment a hundred miles from three
NFL football teams.

The take-aways were– don’t fly through Philadelphia
[CHECK WITH PEOPLE WHO FLY TO KNOW
WHERE NOT TO FLY THRU– MANY DELAYS.]
and to practice the demonstration lecture more before
giving it.

The second interview was at a PUI within driving
distance which afforded a more relaxed schedule
than the first institution.  He drove around the
university living area and had more time to take
things in.  [Close to a large urban center.] This
was a smaller faculty of three (although the
website lists 4.) and where he met with not only
the chair, but also the President of the College,
Provost, and a number of college
students
This institution emphasized a unique
educational philosophy
which the president
promoted and the desire to have someone who
would make good use of a 400 MHz NMR.

These were significant tips to play off from in
the overall interview.  He did.

RG sent personalized t-y letters to all interviewees.
We talked of a interview review process which
involved detailing his likes, dislikes, areas of
personal interview performance improvement,
planned follow-ups and activities.

Speak to people in his network who went to
the schools, or currently go to the schools

Search and capture all current news about
the departments and schools

Assess:  do both meet his threshold of where
he wishes to teach?  If not, why and develop
professional ways of expressing this if he is
offered and does not accept.

Compare and contrast:  What does his gut
say about preference?
what are his key decision factors in priority
order?  Rank each institution.

Research grants:  Where would he apply?

Start laying the ground work for where
ever he lands.  Make contacts with people
who have passed this hurdle.  He had done
a lot already.

Develop a downside back-up plan, if
neither provides a strong offer.

Then, there is the “two body problem
he faces and several others who I met
during the day face.  Topic for the next
blog entry.

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