Flavia at Ferule & Fescue has a terrific post now about selling one’s own department to job candidates on campus visits. She explains why she’s putting some real effort into recruiting quality job candidates rather than just letting the ridiculous buyer’s market sort everything out:
So I’m rousing myself at 7.30 a.m. and driving to campus every day we have a candidate visiting, making time for each one’s job talk and teaching demo andeither lunch or dinner. I’m donning a suit (to communicate respect for the candidate and the general professionalism of the department), I’m asking encouraging questions, and I’m doing my damnedest, through my interactions with my colleagues, to show as well as tell our candidates that we’re a happy and collegial place where friendships extend outside of the office. I want our candidates to see how intellectually engaged we are, and how interested in other people’s work. I want for our students to perform well, and for Cha-Cha City to sound and look appealing, and for the campus, ideally, not to be covered in a sheet of ice.
And in fact I’m not sure why having the department come off well matters so very much to me. The job market is terrible, our list is deep, and though we don’t always get our our first-choice candidate we’ve never had a search fail and have always wound up with someone wonderful.
But I guess I wish to extend the sort of kindness to our candidates that the department extended to me on my visit–and, more selfishly, I wish for the people whom we don’t hire or who don’t accept our offers (and perhaps, by extension, their colleagues and friends and advisors) to have a warm impression of our department. There’s nothing bad about good press.
How very adult and courteous! Well done, Flavia.
While it’s great to be regarded well as a host department, there’s also the more immediate issue of treating your guests decently and as though they’re not wasting their time on a campus visit. There’s nothing more excruciating than being on a campus visit as a job candidate and feeling unwanted during the interview, which is something that happened to me once. Continue Reading »