Friday, January 30, 2015

My terrifying interview

Turns out this is the season for interviewing so another post on the application/interview process: So one of my friends mentioned an interview that she had for a faculty position that was very stressful and it made me recall my worst faculty interview.  The faculty members threw around their weight.  Tried to beat her down verbally, and made the program unappealing from a friendliness standpoint.

My situation was at a very big school and they asked for three presentations all over the same day.  This was a 7am-8pm day.  The presentations were a research talk, teaching and research interests, and then a lecture.  The lecture was covering a topic that I had taken a class on over a decade ago and a topic that isn’t really used outside of the classroom.

I showed up and immediately had a discussion with the department head.  After this, he took me over to the room to give me research talk.  There were a ton of questions.  I loved this!  I love answering questions and getting feedback so this was awesome.  My teaching and research interests went over okay, but then the lecture came up.  Again, this is a topic, that when I took it, that I got an A in.  Top of the class. But a decade later and with only a few days to prepare, I wasn’t coming in at the peak of my knowledge.  The lecture started off well and then about 15 minutes in, things started to fall apart.  I was asked questions I couldn’t answer.  They wanted this lecture to test my knowledge of this narrow topic that I definitely didn’t remember.  So I answered as best as I could while they pretended to be na├»ve students.  I was sweating hard.  I couldn’t hold it together, but somehow persevered and made it through the class.  I could tell I was discombobulated by the end and not of the proper mindset. 

I’m normally really personable, great conversation, not a bad face to look at, but I was really really off after this.  I felt like they were talking down to me for the rest of the day including the dinner.  Afterwards, one person said it was because I’m more applied and make more money, but I brushed it off as a just a comment trying to relax me. 


What’s funny is that I already came in with a job offer and this was just a backup.  I don’t know why I was sweating so hard.  I looked up the school recently and saw they hired someone I know that I enjoy the company of, so I’m glad I wasn’t their pick.  But holy crap.  We get it: you’re smart about this topic, maybe you should be smart about your human interactions and you wouldn’t be a lonely man with nothing but your right hand to come home to.  Sorry, that was uncalled for.  But remembering back to that situation gets me in a bad mood.

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