Comments on: Busted Barry begs to interview somewhere else http://www.historiann.com/2008/10/15/busted-barry-begs-to-interview-somewhere-else/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:56:15 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Friday food fights! Plus evidence of my evildoing, with links. : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present http://www.historiann.com/2008/10/15/busted-barry-begs-to-interview-somewhere-else/comment-page-1/#comment-532361 Fri, 15 Jan 2010 16:33:11 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1426#comment-532361 [...] Busted Barry begs to interview somewhere else [...]

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2008/10/15/busted-barry-begs-to-interview-somewhere-else/comment-page-1/#comment-99927 Fri, 17 Oct 2008 03:39:47 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1426#comment-99927 I didn’t make it to the Ang Lee Iceout AHA in Atlanta that year but I well remember running into Historiann in the long wooden cattle “chute” that led to the job corral at the Boston Jackhammer.

I’m sitting here in the overflow MO-tel, miles from the downtown historic hotel at a state-level conference here in PA. Since the conference is partly on the campus in question I can narrate my first weird job app (N=2) from the top of this thread. Some guy retired in February so they ran an expedited Chronicle-only, OAH-only search. The job would have been for a “Jim Rice” figure to replace Yastrezemski who replaced Ted Williams, so I sent in a confused letter suggesting that I would be at the OAH in I think St. Louis–which wasn’t plausible. A week later I was shocked to get a call from the dept. chair saying they wanted to talk and that he saw I was going to be in I think St. Louis. I began backtracking cluelessly, at which point he said well, since you only live 30 miles away why don’t we talk to you here on campus? I said great and when we set a day I asked what should I plan for, a couple of hours? Oh, no, he said, the whole day. You’ll meet everyone, have lunch with the committee, talk with the dean, give a little talk….

I was dumb but not enough so to miss that I’d fumbled myself into both avoiding an unaffordable trip to St. Louis and becoming a de-facto finalist! It went like a dream, too, and was a good learning experience until I sort of screwed up the job talk. Walking around tonight on the same campus years later brought back some I think “interesting” memories! If “Yaz” had been there he would have said kid, don’t think you’re going to the post-season every year, and right he was about that part!

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/10/15/busted-barry-begs-to-interview-somewhere-else/comment-page-1/#comment-99317 Thu, 16 Oct 2008 03:48:40 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1426#comment-99317 Thanks, everyone, for weighing in. Barry, I think the consensus of the intelligensia is clear. As the old song goes, “Say nothing ’till you hear from them…” I think Bing, Rose, JJO, and Susan (and everyone here) have good advice. JJO may be right, in that some departments may start to reimagine these interviews outside of the usual jet-fueled and hotel-enriching procedures.

Indyanna and Susan, the AHA that left us all snowbound was in 1996. That was my first year on the job market! (Unsuccessful, despite the fact that I ended up spending almost an entire week in frickin Atlanta.) But, it was a memorable conference for other reasons: I happened to share a cab with Tenured Radical from the airport to the convention hotels, and since she was being reimbursed by her department, she paid for it and wouldn’t take a contribution from me! It was also at the time of the Yale grad student strikes, so I overheard some gossip about that in the elevators. (And Indyanna–it was at the Boston Jackhammer AHA that I was interviewed by Baa Ram U. In between the jackhammers, I was also trying desperately not to be seen by my former “colleages” at the University of Desperation, which was difficult because the waiting area for the interviewees was in the middle of a main hallway connecting the hotels and convention center…)

There is a lot of hatin’ on the AHA interview process in this thread. While I think that a careful read of applications is always a necessary and salubrious practice, and I’m glad that it has worked in Janice’s and Ortho’s experience, I think screening interviews at the AHA have served my department well. In most cases, our top choices probably don’t change much, but in some cases people who were in the middle of the list vaulted to the top, and people near the top sank. I think that they’re also helpful in terms of knowing who you’re inviting to campus if for some reason one or more of your top 3 or 4 decline your invitation–they help you sort out that mushy middle of people who are qualified, but who don’t make it into the top 3 right away. Although I think a job in my department is an above-average job (2-2 load, M.A. program moving to a Ph.D., no evil people), many people consider Colorado “flyover country,” so we don’t get as many applications or eager interviewees as we would if we were in Chicago or on the Atlantic or Pacific coast.

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By: ortho stice http://www.historiann.com/2008/10/15/busted-barry-begs-to-interview-somewhere-else/comment-page-1/#comment-99314 Thu, 16 Oct 2008 03:20:22 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1426#comment-99314 I agree with the consensus: Busty Barry should not say he won’t attend the AHA.

@Indyanna’s last comment: Last academic year, I had the “privilege” of being a grad student representative on one of my department’s search committees. We, the committee, read over the 200+ “files” and submitted our “top six” to the department. No phone calls. No AHA interviews. The department rearranged the six and then invited the “top four” to campus. Out of the four, one was a dud and the rest were great. Everyone appears happy with new department member.

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2008/10/15/busted-barry-begs-to-interview-somewhere-else/comment-page-1/#comment-99307 Thu, 16 Oct 2008 02:47:47 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1426#comment-99307 At least one or two departments that I know of not only don’t do AHA interviewing, they also don’t do phone interviewing either. They just read submitted and invited materials until they drop over and invite the “files” that impress to campus visits, disguised as actual persons. That’s gotta take a lot of steely confidence in your antennae. Of course, the prime exemplar that I’m thinking of also doesn’t hesitate to abort a search very far along and break it to the dean that it’ll have to be done over again the next year.

So, which is the all-time (recent) nightmare AHA job ordeal: The famous “Ice Storm” AHA in Atlanta in, what, 1995? (Some people didn’t get home for months). Or the “Jackhammer Job-Pit” AHA in Boston a few years later, which almost resulted in a pullout from the HQ hotel, and which did result in hotel letters of apology to the entire membership? Or was there a worse one?

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By: Knitting Clio http://www.historiann.com/2008/10/15/busted-barry-begs-to-interview-somewhere-else/comment-page-1/#comment-99286 Thu, 16 Oct 2008 00:16:30 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1426#comment-99286 I agree you should not to include this information in the job application. However, I do find that the AHA interviews do have a significant impact on the final short list. Also, we only receive enough money to bring three candidates to campus, four if they come from in state, so being able to screen candidates at the AHA or by telephone is very helpful.

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By: Janice http://www.historiann.com/2008/10/15/busted-barry-begs-to-interview-somewhere-else/comment-page-1/#comment-99272 Wed, 15 Oct 2008 22:32:51 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1426#comment-99272 I, for one, am happy to be situated in Canada. There’s no pretense of forcing candidates to the big annual conference here (that meets in late May/early June as part of the larger Learned Societies meetings) in hopes of getting to run through a larger number of prospects.

Frankly, interviewing at the AHA means that some hiring committees don’t really do their job as well as they could from the outset. When departments make long “shopping lists” of possible candidates, opting to cull them only after running these people through the AHA gauntlet, that doesn’t seem to have a great impact on the final short-list. Why not use phones, teleconferencing or a deeper look at the files and references instead of forcing colleagues and would-be colleagues to lay out the time and money to make the “Job Fair” work?

Canadian universities manage to hire some wonderful historians without the AHA’s weeding process. Why not leave the conference to those who really want to attend? In the meantime, it sounds as if Barry will have to be ready to drop a wad on travel and accommodation on the offhand chance that some hiring committee will really be doing some serious work at the conference. Good luck to you, Barry!

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By: e.j. http://www.historiann.com/2008/10/15/busted-barry-begs-to-interview-somewhere-else/comment-page-1/#comment-99226 Wed, 15 Oct 2008 19:26:02 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1426#comment-99226 I would also add that going to AHA is important. I’ve been on a number of search committees (more than my fair share for a recently-tenured prof.) and the phone interview folks always fall through the cracks-even those with strong records who I’m sure would otherwise have been considered.

But if you absolutely cannot afford the trip, I would say schedule the interview after the AHA. The closer the interview is to when the committee meets to come up with a short list, the better.

Best of luck to you!

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By: Penny http://www.historiann.com/2008/10/15/busted-barry-begs-to-interview-somewhere-else/comment-page-1/#comment-99222 Wed, 15 Oct 2008 18:56:51 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1426#comment-99222 It’s not dishonest to leave out logistical details that aren’t at all relevant until the next stage of the process. I can definitely see someone reading that passage and saying “Whoa, somebody’s getting ahead of himself here!” The first letter isn’t the place to negotiate interview dates and locations. Leave it out.

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By: Susan http://www.historiann.com/2008/10/15/busted-barry-begs-to-interview-somewhere-else/comment-page-1/#comment-99219 Wed, 15 Oct 2008 18:40:37 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1426#comment-99219 Don’t be honest. There are times when honesty makes you sound cranky, and this is one. Seriously, we know the market sucks, we know people are stuck for money. If Wonderful U wants to interview you, then deal. If WU is close to Bakersfield, you can say, “For personal reasons I am unable to attend the AHA, but I’d be happy to come to WU City to meet with you instead.”

Of course, the one time I did that, the committee got stuck in Atlanta in a snowstorm, and then canceled the meeting with me because they decided who they wanted without seeing wonderful me :)
But that was a weird search, in lots of ways.

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