March
24th 2009
Hells to the yeah! Uh, we mean “Nope:” Freddie from Ft. Lauderdale can’t hit the “Nope” button fast enough

Posted under: jobs, unhappy endings

Fast Freddie hits the "Nope" button

Fast Freddie hits the "Nope" button

As you regular readers know, we get letters.  As an almost-Ph.D. interviewing this year for the first time (not in History, nor any of the humanities), Freddie from Ft. Lauderdale has asked for equal time  here at Historiann.com to balance out those posts a few months ago that mocked job candidates (like this one, this one, oh, and that one, too.)  Freddie has some (unfortunately) hard-won advice for hiring departments and search committees who may want to hire some new blood eventually.   So, take it away, Freddie!

I recently went on a campus interview that left me with a sour feeling toward the search committee in particular and the university in general.  It only took a couple of hours for me to determine that there was no way I would accept a job offer from the department that interviewed me:  the entire visit felt like a bad blind date.  I tried to smile and to put my best foot forward, but I knew that if she/he went in for a kiss, I would deflect it by turning my head and redirecting it into a completely fake hug.  (You know, the kind with lots of insincere back-patting.)  Since you seem to be big on throwing around advice to job candidates over here, I decided to put together a list of “dos and don’ts” for hiring departments and search committees in case they may actually want to hire someone someday:

  1. When you meet a candidate at the airport and she/he is carrying a briefcase, carry-on bag, and jacket, do not hand out a revised itinerary to read through while walking to the car. (Tips for toads: perhaps revising the itinerary the day of the visit should be avoided altogether? Just sayin’.)
  2. Do not stop by Taco Bell on the way to campus (I guess that was “lunch” on the slapped-together “itinerary”) and proceed to ask your candidate about her/his plan for the next five years while slurping up your Mountain Dew and downing your bean burrito.
  3. As the search chair, do not leave the candidate to find scheduled locations and introduce herself/himself to others because you have scheduled other meetings for yourself.
  4. For a 5:30 dinner, do not drop the candidate off at the hotel at 5:20 and have her/him walk across a highway without pedestrian access (à la Frogger) to find you and the rest of the committee already sitting down and enjoying cool beverages at the restaurant.
  5. If you have asked the job candidate teach a class, do not send him or her to a locked classroom half an hour early with nothing to do but sit in the hall and wait.
  6. If your department has a national reputation for being expert in something, do not ask the candidate, who has little to no experience in that special something, to state the top 3 or 4 people who have influenced her/him in the something and how it will influence his/her teaching. (Hint: this seems like a really pathetic attempt at fishing.)
  7. Regardless of campus size, the campus tour should include more than a drive around the perimeter of the campus. “Tours” like that are, quite literally, the least you can do. Try to step it up a bit, if only to practice for a candidate you really like.
  8. As a department chair, dean, or director, don’t tell the candidate about all the turmoil within the department/school/college and then ask how she/he thinks she/he would fit in. (Again-see previous comment about fishing.)
  9. If the candidate is expected to collaborate a great deal with another school or department (if just for instance-the position you’re searching will possibly be a joint appointment), allow the candidate to meet at least one faculty member from that other school or department.
  10. When you are dropping off your candidate after a day and a half of interviewing and are less than a mile away from the airport, don’t ask, “How has diversity has been important to you and how do you see incorporating your past experiences into your teaching…with examples?” That’s unfair to the job candidate, and to the question itself. Care much about diversity, or are you just checking a box? I think we all know the answer to that one.
  11. Last, but not least, you should offer to reimburse the candidate for parking, tolls, or other expenses directly related to the interview, even though you never had any intention of hiring her/him.

I know others who have had bad interview experiences.  I have also heard stories from faculty on search committees about bad candidate experiences.  Perhaps the two are related and members from the search committee of my bad interview are currently writing a list of “do nots” for job candidates.  Although I did my best, I’m sure some of my exasperation started to show through near the end.  Maybe the people on each side of the process could have a “Nope” button that would immediately terminate the interview.  (Ed. note:  Can we get a “clicker” app for that?)  At least we could save ourselves some time and energy.  Well, now I understand why people usually meet blind dates just for coffee instead of a weekend at a Bed and Breakfast.

Freddie, man, that harshed my mellow.  I’m really sorry you were treated like that–I’m sure it was nothing personal, but I know how hard it is not to take that kind of carelessness personally.  What do you say, readers:  can you top this bad interview with a choice morsel from your past?  Do tell!

29 Comments »

29 Responses to “Hells to the yeah! Uh, we mean “Nope:” Freddie from Ft. Lauderdale can’t hit the “Nope” button fast enough”

  1. Anon - duh on 24 Mar 2009 at 8:47 am #

    I have a running list of things that happened to me, I witnessed on hiring committees I was on, or were reported by my students that I have cross-checked:
    - don’t throw things at the candidate
    - don’t curse about the candidate’s research interests, teaching interests, or past experience; if you don’t care for what they do, foul language is really not the way to express it
    - don’t burst into tears, yell, have nervous breakdowns or otherwise engage in off putting behavior whether it is related to the candidate or not
    - don’t discuss your prescription drug habit or insinuate that to work there means the candidate will soon be in NA or AA
    - don’t schedule meals with 1-2 faculty total, especially those who have never met but are dying to meet each other, or partners/married couples (especially if they are volatile) <- in fact, try to avoid scheduling any alone time with volatile people in the department
    - don’t pile up the whole day with people who have no voting rights or are only tangentially connected to the hiring department
    - don’t forget to feed candidates
    - don’t interrupt conversations the candidate is having on their down time to remind them “this is down time”
    - don’t strand candidates with pushy grad students that your department doesn’t even like (seriously, send them to the library or the lounge or the coffeehouse alone before you do this)
    - if you make a bigoted comment by mistake, don’t spend the whole rest of the interview trying to apologize or bringing it up
    - don’t tell candidates there is nobody from their communities at the school or in the town and then ask them how they plan to “survive” or worse tell them that the last person in the position left b/c of a threats of violence or other scary incidents the school did nothing about
    - DO NOT HIT ON FEMALE CANDIDATES or the young gay ones for that matter
    - Do not tell candidates you have no intention of hiring them unless you then plan to give them free passes to cultural and sporting events in town and a rental car and let them spend the rest of the 2 days on vacation
    - do not tell candidates the hire is to make up for something you did and that they are not getting tenure
    - do not ask if a candidate is hungry or thirsty and then point out all of the places they could get to with a car before dropping them off without getting them anything to eat
    - do not send a generic schedule for the interview (example: 8 am meeting, 9 am meeting, 10 am . . .) and then act like the candidate should be well versed in who they are meeting
    - do not schedule the candidate to do a teaching demo in the classroom of the one person on the committee who doesn’t want them there
    - do not schedule a specific teaching demo in a class that is completely unrelated or possibly even outside of the field you are hiring for (but just happens to be convenient for the block of unscheduled time in the schedule)
    - if you are hiring someone from a traditionally underrepresented community, make some effort to get some people from similar communities on the schedule (all tho do not flood the schedule with them bumping off actual people on the committee)
    - do not make assumptions about their needs or desires with regard to the position – ie over apologize for small towns or big towns, highlight how good the schools are or how big everyone’s houses are once they get tenure, or any number of other random things that are not related to the job before you figure out what the candidate actually wants
    - if you bring in someone local, you might want to ax the whole “these are the pros and cons of the town” speech
    - if you bring in someone international or completely unfamiliar with the area don’t expect them to fend for themselves from the airport (2+ hours away) to the campus and don’t forget the “these are the pros and cons of the town” speech

    Most of all
    - do not invite candidates to campus you have no intention of hiring especially if you plan on telling them or otherwise making them aware of it once they arrive

  2. GayProf on 24 Mar 2009 at 8:51 am #

    If there is one thing that I really can’t stand, it is a sloppy search committee. Okay, there is more than just one thing that I can’t stand. Still, a sloppy search committee ranks pretty high.

    There are such simple rules to running a search in a professional manner (read the files, host the candidate, make recommendations based on the total package of scholarship (not to achieve some sort of narrow political “win”)). Yet, time and again we have to hear tales such as Freddie’s.

  3. Anon - duh on 24 Mar 2009 at 8:53 am #

    oh and if you can, lock up that colleague who likes to demolish a candidate with obscure questions or references to things just outside the purview of the position (you know, the one who likes to come to the job talk and contribute something along the lines of “your work is sh*t”). I hear that broom closets are quite roomy at R1s and very close to most big conference halls

  4. clio's disciple on 24 Mar 2009 at 8:56 am #

    A friend of mine interviewed at a department I was teaching at. She flew in the evening before, and no one picked her up from her (fortunately, on-campus) hotel the morning of the interview.

    I had one campus interview where, at the dinner with the department, I had to try to avoid listening to two of the faculty arguing intensely about the merits of a spousal hire in an allied department. That really didn’t seem like an appropriate discussion to have in my hearing.

  5. Clio Bluestocking on 24 Mar 2009 at 8:57 am #

    Ouch! Poor Freddie.

    Share horror stories? Always. Here’s mine: the dean scheduled the interview without consulting with the search committee. He scheduled the same rooms at the same times as another interview in another department. He scheduled both on the Friday before Easter, which was a school holiday, which meant that all of the faculty were going on a long weekend and those that showed up for the interviews were there under protest.

    In my interview with the dean, he asked if I could teach a class in a field wholly unrelated to mine, and, when I said “no,” he asked “why not?” Because of the room scheduling conflict, I didn’t get to do my job talk until the end of the day, after everyone had gone home. So, the two people left told me that I didn’t have to do the talk at all (and it was a cool talk!). To this day, five years later, they have yet to officially inform me that I was not the pick. I later found out that I was rejected because I didn’t give that job talk. I also found out some other things that indicated that this was the way they did business at that institution anyway. In fact, the chair of that committee was interviewing at other schools himself, and left the next year. Then, another dean (or was he a vice-president of some sort?) called me up weeks after the interview to hit on me. So, thank goodness they didn’t want me!

    “It’s not about me,” I would chant after every interview; and it usually isn’t, although it feels that way. Whatever dysfunction is going on in that particular department gets acted out on the candidates (and, I’m sure, vice versa). I like to think that nobody plans for the callousness to happen, but I have actually met someone who did.

  6. Indyanna on 24 Mar 2009 at 9:01 am #

    I’d say right on to most or all of this, although I’ve had both good and bad experiences along the way. Nothing about being on THIS (hiring) side of the process has made me admire it one bit more than I didn’t when I was on the other. For a madcap visitation moment, top this: I was dropped by the airport van in a cul-de-sac where I was to meet the search chair on a late Sunday afternoon in February. I had met him a month earlier, of course, in a hotel suite in some convention city. The guy greeted me like an old lost friend, then nodded me away from the driver and said: say, my wife and I were just at a movie and I forgot to hit the ATM. Could you loan me a five to tip the driver? Of course I could, and did. The rest of the visit was more, um, normal, and I actually took the job. The search chair had the same first name as me, though (no, not Indyanna Jones in the anthropology dept. at IU), and he retired at the end of my first year [t]here. For that overlapping year, therefore, I became Lil’ [Whatever] to his Big [Whatever]. If I’d bothered to trademark that tag, it turns out, I’d be retired by now.

    So yeah, the process is weird. Two years later I gave a a prospective candidate the “town tour” (separate from the campus tour). My car doors iced up the night before and the only way I could get into the car to pick the candidate up was to pour hot water on the doorhandles. Needless to say, the two front doors both re-iced, but now in the “open” position. So we rode around town holding our respective doors closed, until I swung too sharply around a turn at a streetcorner near campus, and we almost lost both of us. It would have meant two more searches, but I wouldn’t have been telling the story. (i.e., ze took the job too, despite the car craziness, and we still talk about it with some degree of humor).

  7. Indyanna on 24 Mar 2009 at 9:06 am #

    p.s. I hope the person whose job talk was called off by a bomb scare, but then got to do it at a crowded table in the noisy student center cafeteria, is a reader of this blog, and will go through it for us. Way better than my best, I know that…

  8. Historiann on 24 Mar 2009 at 9:09 am #

    Man–it’s like Freddie opened a vein here!

    Indyanna, your story about having to hold the frozen car doors closed so you didn’t fall out is pretty hillarious–and a good thing too that it didn’t scotch the hire.

    I think Clio B’s advice is excellent: It isn’t about the job candidate, it’s about the department. This becomes clearer and clearer to me, the longer I’m on the inside looking out. Job searches are times when a department looks around and says, “who are we, and where are we going?” For healthy departments, searches are opportunities to reaffirm shared priorities and values. For unhealthy departments (and especially riven departments) they’re opportunities to fling poo at each other, and unfortunately, the job candidates get spattered, too.

  9. Profane on 24 Mar 2009 at 9:34 am #

    I had a ‘bad interview’ experience, of sorts, when I got my current job. But it is more complicated than that.

    Anywhere in the northern half of the country, on-campus interview season of course coincides with with the winter weather season. So I was sitting one snowy Sunday early afternoon in Cleveland airport watching the time tick down to my ‘On-Time’ flight, which remained ‘On-Time’ until five minutes after it was supposed to leave – despite the fact that the plane was still sitting on the ground in Buffalo. So began the series of calls between myself and the committee chair, with whom I was supposed to have dinner at 6:30. “All I can say at this point is that the plane that is supposed to be taking me to Scranton is on the ground in Buffalo.” Five hours later, after frequent lies and continuous obfuscation from the airline, I boarded the plane around the time that I was supposed to be having dinner. After arriving at my destination airport to find that the pre-arranged hotel shuttle was nowhere to be seen (which required a call to them, and an additional 45 minute wait) I got to my hotel after 10:00 PM – to be greeted by the committee chair.

    “So, how about that dinner? Are you hungry?” Before long we are at an Appleby’s, which was just about the only thing open at that time on a Sunday night. And then the kicker. “Why wait until tomorrow, lets have that one-on-one interview right now.” Inwardly, I uttered a very loud expletive. To make a long story short, it was, however an excellent interview. The chair had seen an opportunity to not only interview me at a moment when standard pretense was absent, but to see how I reacted, after an awful day, to a yet another curveball.

    But it was not over. During the teaching demonstration the next day, the technology failed. It was noted, however, that not only did I have a Plan B, but I transitioned into it with a minimum of disruption to the material. By the time we were tucking into Crab Cakes, Scallops, and Shrimp that evening at dinner (score one for the committee on restaurant choice!) I am guessing that I had the job – in part because I had reacted well to all the various disruptions to an ideal interview process.

    What is the point of this long boring story? In the interview process, as with anything else, expect the unexpected, hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and do your best to make lemonade out of lemons; the hiring committee WILL take note of how you respond. Remember that the next time you find yourself at Taco Bell for lunch on an interview, although holding on the bean burrito and hot sauce may be advisable.

  10. Homostorian Americanist on 24 Mar 2009 at 9:46 am #

    I had a search committee chair needlepoint through my job talk and another faculty member knit. The search chair had also neglected to pay for the hotel, meaning that I had to do so when I checked out. I have yet to receive any word whatsoever from the department about my rejection — maybe it’s coming in the form of a sampler or stitched into a pillow? I hear those take some time.

    At another interview the search chair picked me up at the airport and at dinner proceeded to drink too much and trash talk one of her colleagues; the other colleague present had to apologize for her when she went to the bathroom. The next day she told me what she loved about their Africanist was that his wife lived in another city (because of a job) and thus she could assign him classes at bad times because he was just “baching” it. I am single. At the group lunch with the same department, the Asianist told me I was handsome (innocently, it seemed) and then asked if I was married or had a girlfriend (I’m a HOMOstorian). To their credit, the rest of the department, including the otherwise clueless chair, jumped all over him.

    I feel for you Freddie, but at least you know where you DON’T want to end up!

  11. Notorious Ph.D. on 24 Mar 2009 at 9:48 am #

    Oh, I’ve got one.

    –At dinner, do not allow the candidate to get the tip, even if s/he feels pressured to offer.

    –Do not pick up your candidate in a microbus with a bed in the back.

    –Even if your department is all (100%) white men, do not tell the candidate “we’ve decided it’s really important to hire a female.” (This was a provost, who should know better.)

    –When you pick an undergrad to show your candidates around campus, make sure that you don’t pick one who can’t pronounce the word “library.”

    One thing this place did right: because they *were* all white men, they actually brought in some women from English and Women’s Studies to come to my (gender-related) job talk. I don’t know if it was just because they figured they would know what kinds of questions to ask, but looking up and seeing those women there made me very happy.

  12. Historiann on 24 Mar 2009 at 10:14 am #

    HA-ha! A bed in the back of a Vanagon. Classy! (Tell us it had clean sheets at least–or, sheets at all.) How’d you enjoy that lieberry tour, Notorious?

    Homostorian Americanist: good one about the embroidered sampler rejection letter–I’m sure she’s just looking for the right frame for it. It will read:

    “No matter how far you wander or roam
    This department will never be your home”

    Extra-super classy!

    And Profane–it was good of the chair to stay up late and take you to dinner. I don’t think it was good for him to grill you like that when you’re hungry and tired. That seems unfair.

  13. New Kid on the Hallway on 24 Mar 2009 at 10:33 am #

    I actually don’t mind things like needlepointing/knitting, but I know some really great people who habitually do those things at talks they attend, so I’ve got used to it.

    I was once asked flat out what my personal situation was (married, partnered, whatever). Which, you know, illegal and all, but whatever – it was a small school in a sort of isolated location, I understand why they wanted to know. (Don’t think they should have asked, but I understand the impulse.) However, I think it was worse that once I explained – engaged to a fellow history Ph.D. who works in field X, which happened to have a regional connection to the school’s location – everyone kept saying, “Oh, NOW we understand why you want this job! Because it fits with your fiance’s research!” Well, actually, no – I wanted the job because it was a JOB. In my FIELD. Can we make this interview about me and my qualifications, and not about my future husband, please?

    But this was also a place that wanted to get the cheapest possible ticket (again, understandable), so if I remember correctly, I had a Saturday night stay, and so was there for like four days. It was the LONGEST interview EVER. (I think I arrived Wednesday evening, did interview-y stuff on Thursday and Friday, got driven around the town on Saturday – inducing severe motion-sickness, which I had to hide – and went to a class-at-the-professor’s-house that evening, then went to a women faculty brunch on Sunday before leaving. I was never so glad to leave somewhere! It’s possible I’m adding a day in there somehow, but if so, it’s because it felt SO LONG!)

    I got another offer before I heard anything more from this school, so e-mailed them to withdraw and wish them luck with their search, and the response was… deafening silence. No acknowledgment of the e-mail, nothing.

    I don’t think any of these things are as overtly awful as what everyone else has described, but they were memorable to me!

  14. Historiann on 24 Mar 2009 at 10:39 am #

    New Kid–yeah, the knitting is kind of a thing among a lot of women’s historians I know. I once went to a conference with a plenary session where Elizabeth Fox Genovese and Nell Painter both sat right up there on stage, knitting away! Needlepoint I’ve never seen, though.

    Thank goodness airlines have dropped the Saturday stayover requirement, eh?

  15. Bing McGhandi on 24 Mar 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    I would recommend that schools should not pair you with a real estate agent who points out “where the minorities live.” That was a no-no.

    HJ

  16. Historiann on 24 Mar 2009 at 1:32 pm #

    Eeew–good one, Bing. But, I have to say that I’ve heard versions of that from a lot of (white) friends.

  17. Fretful Porpentine on 24 Mar 2009 at 1:34 pm #

    Ha, these are wonderful! Here are mine:

    1) Do not quote paragraph after paragraph from the candidate’s rec letters and ask her to “react” to them. Those things are confidential for a reason, you know, and anyway, it’s almost impossible to react gracefully.

    2) Do not ask the candidate to comment on the sticky political situation at her alma mater, particularly in terms that make it all too clear that she is expected to join you in trashing the embattled president of the school. (Actually, she likes the president and is outraged on his behalf, thankyouverymuch.)

    3) The following does not constitute appropriate small talk:

    “Where are you from?”

    “Virginia.”

    “Oh.” [Pause.] “People from the south strike me as very friendly, but in a superficial way. They smile a lot, but they don’t really mean anything by it.”

    4) “You’re female. You’re not very big. Do you think you would be able to handle a football player with a grade dispute?” is a highly inappropriate interview question under any circumstances. But it becomes really, comically absurd if the candidate’s graduate degree is from a large state university known for its athletic programs.

  18. Susan on 24 Mar 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    If the candidate is coming in the night before the interview, even if ze has to rent a car for the airport, find out if they would like someone to take them to dinner. Because, you know, going out for dinner on your own after a day of traveling in an unfamiliar town may NOT be someone’s favorite thing.

    And even if the candidate has a car rental, I think it’s better to pick up the candidate for coming to campus, dinner, etc. Sure, it’s a drag. But it’s much more welcoming.

    Oh, and don’t tell the candidate that the job is in the bag for them. The one time I’ve had that happen I didn’t get the job.

  19. susurro on 24 Mar 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    I just remembered the worst (well one of them) things that happened to me:

    After a potential colleague bad mouthed the lesbian in the department, who was excluded from all of the group events on my schedule, I ended up at a dinner with the entire department (minus said lesbian) where they sat around gossiping about a spousal hire who had come out (thus negated the need to hire him). After about 45 minutes of homophobic gossiping, they turned to me and said what a family friendly and supportive campus they had and inquired about my status. With a straight face I responded “Well I’m sure my ‘wife’ will be happy to here that, do you have positions open in [her discipline] since you obviously do spousal hires.”

    I guess I failed the “how do you react to curve balls” part of the test.

    The good thing about it, is when the Chair took me to breakfast the next day she said something like “So I hear you don’t want to work here.” After we both fell out laughing, she apologized for the milieu, explained that this was not a good atmosphere for gay scholars and that she really respected my work (had actually been one of the peer reviewers on one of my first pubs) and recommended a uni with a line opening where she had very good friends in the department. She actually called them and made intros before the end of breakfast. It is hard to put on paper why this version of “you’re one of those, you can’t work here” was a good thing but it really was. I still talk to her which is more than I can say for the woman on the committee who had offered me a lucrative research appointment attached to the position in question only to forget my name, and literally turn her back to me, when she found out I play on the “icky” team.

  20. the rebel lettriste on 24 Mar 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    Ooh! I want to play!

    When you schedule the interview for early on a Friday morning, try to get there on time, even if it is raining.

    Don’t make the candidate wait for AN HOUR AND A HALF for the committee to arrive, while you make awkward smalltalk about how you “have so many questions to ask, but we should wait for the REAL interview!” Of course, don’t apologize when you all finally do show up.

    Don’t then make the candidate deliver her jobtalk while sitting on a broken chair.

    When, later, the chair escorts the candidate to the bathroom, it’s generally not a good idea to CONTINUE CONDUCTING THE INTERVIEW WHILE BOTH SHE AND THE CANDIDATE ARE IN SEPARATE STALLS AND PEEING.

    Don’t repeatedly ask the candidate if she knows somebody you went to Harvard with? And did you mention again, that you went to Harvard? Did someone say Harvard?

    Then, when you offer to drive the candidate home, a distance of some 3 miles, DO drive her all the way home. Don’t sop instead on an offramp to the BQE, loudly pop the locks and merrily shout, “well! Nice to meet you!”

    Good times!

  21. Profane on 24 Mar 2009 at 5:12 pm #

    Awful susurro, but to extend the baseball analogy, that was no curveball, but a fastball – aimed directly at your head. Had that been the response to their discovering that I was openly single, male, hetero, libertarian, and Christian (which has, surprisingly, been a liability at more than one interview), then I would have been inclined to tell them to FO – perhaps not as politely as you did!

  22. Jeremy Young on 24 Mar 2009 at 9:57 pm #

    While attending a late-afternoon session of the AHA as a graduate student, a professor I know once received a phone call from a search committee chair inviting him to do an AHA interview right then for a position he hadn’t applied for, in a year he was not on the job market. Since the position was at an Ivy League institution, he decided to play along, only to be informed by the chair that the entire committee was blind drunk. During the course of the interview, one committee member excused himself, went into the adjacent lavatory, and audibly threw up, then returned and sat down as if nothing had happened.

  23. Deborah Judge on 24 Mar 2009 at 9:58 pm #

    I’ve got just one – try to figure out the job requirements *before* the interview, or at least figure out how to talk to each other politely, because getting into a fight about the job requirements in front of the interviewee isn’t going to make her feel like it’s going to be a good position.

  24. Mamie on 24 Mar 2009 at 10:19 pm #

    If you are the dean, do not ask the candidate (a historian) why she did not take more math as an undergraduate.

    Do not include a visit to Walmart on the town tour.

    When the candidate’s talk is over, do not send her out into the hall so the assembled department can immediately vote on whether to hire her. (The chair attempted this, but others persuaded him that this was hardly appropriate–while I stood out in the hallway, astonished, and wondering if this could possibly be a good sign.)

  25. Hotshot Harry on 25 Mar 2009 at 5:03 am #

    From my recent experience:

    -Don’t take the candidate to a diner for dinner. It doesn’t matter that it is “a really nice diner” and that “people talk about it all of the time.” It is still a diner. Also, please note: ordering a glass of Chardonnay at a diner isn’t classy. It’s just sad.
    -Don’t throw all of the people the candidate will meet the next day under the bus within the first five minutes of the dinner.
    -Don’t say, repeatedly, that the administration took several leadership responsibilities away from you because you were “too successful” and they were too intellectually limited to appreciate your genius.
    -Don’t tell the candidate that s/he has 75 minutes to teach a class, then stop him/her at 55 minutes and instruct the candidate to “wrap it up.”

    This one is for the Catholic institutions out there:
    -Don’t tell the candidate that you have fine on-campus accommodations only to stick the person in an empty room in the priests’ residence. (This one tends not to go over too well with candidates’ partners/spouses.)

  26. Smart Woman, Foolish Interview: Associate Prof. Alice interviews at Blunderland U. : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 25 Mar 2009 at 5:30 am #

    [...] barely.  Regrets?  She’s got a few: I just had to write you in solidarity with Freddie from Ft. Lauderdale.  I don’t care what you call me–just don’t call me unprepared for a job [...]

  27. Historiann on 25 Mar 2009 at 5:37 am #

    Aaaaand–the non-fiction examples in this thread clearly top any fictitious representations any of us could come up with!

    Hotshot Harry–I don’t think I agree with you entirely about the no-diner rule. I’d rather go someplace with local cred and good food than be taken to the Red Lobster or other chain restaurant on the highway, if that’s the only option in a small town (and sometimes it is!) That said–departments can always ask a candidate what ze prefers, but I recognize that there aren’t always several options to choose from in academic towns. (I seem to have made a career of living in towns without–shall we say?–their own Zagat guides.)

  28. Anon2 on 26 Mar 2009 at 11:12 am #

    -At the dinner, do not tell one of your colleagues to shove something up their a$$ in front of the candidate.

    -Do not tell the candidate to bring their whole family as soon as possible to look for housing during the campus interview and then, oh, never contact them again about the position.

    -Do not interview a candidate while sitting on the toilet in the hotel room you are using for the interviews.

    Gosh, I can’t remember all the others. I used to have a collection from the years on the job market. Grim.

  29. Sex and salary negotiations: no way out : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 09 Apr 2009 at 8:40 am #

    [...] had anger management issues, of course.  But, still:  many times I have wished that I had just hit the “NOPE” button that afternoon in February, [...]