Monday, January 16, 2012

First Job Interview

The blogs were right when they said that an academic job interview is possibly the most exhausting experience of your life.  I had a full day of travel complete with a three hour time difference that then left me wide awake with adrenaline flowing at 4am both mornings. (I had been getting up at 7am everyday the week prior.)

As for the school, I had a great experience and was extremely impressed with everything about the institution.   The department chair was absolutely inspiring and I left feeling like I could totally be successful there.  More importantly, I left feeling like I was exactly what they were looking for and that I'd have a job offer in the mail the very next day.  However, I think their goal is probably to make everyone feel this excited... and I'm still waiting for that offer.

The interview days involved about a dozen meetings with deans, dept chairs, everyone on the search committee, and all the hot-shot faculty members plus two breakfast meetings at my hotel, a lunch meeting with students, and a big dinner with faculty at an Italian restaurant.  I was literally delirious during my research seminar because it was at the end of the first day and I somehow finished about 10 minutes faster than any of my practice runs.  But, I had a lot of questions so I think it was ok.  Luckily the chalk talk was early the second day so I was a little more composed for that.  It's really true that you can almost instantly tell who is on your side in the chalk talk and who is not-so-interested in hiring you.  They either asked questions that were genuinely to help them understand or suggested other approaches that might help to get the research funded, OR they asked irrelevant/tangential questions to try to confuse things or to get me to argue with them. 

Before the interview, I read a lot of the articles and tips on academic interviewing including all the of the blog entries aggregated here at bluelabcoats, but I thought I'd make a list of a few more things that I learned.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Update on the Faculty Job Search

I still get quite a lot of hits for this blog, so I thought I should give an update and let you know that my K99 grant was in fact funded.  I'm currently trying to land the elusive faculty position because my K99 time period is only 1 year.    I sent out about 50 applications as I'm not really limited geographically and my research can fit into a lot of different settings.  However, this application process has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life.   In the days before Christmas, I received outright rejections from more than half of the departments I applied to.  It just goes to show that a good publication record and a history of funding is still not enough.  The letters often commented on how they received between 400 and 600 applications for the position.  Those are pretty terrible odds. 

However, there is still some hope.  I've had 5 requests for reference letters from places that I'm excited about and still waiting to hear from.  Plus,  I do have one (and only one) interview scheduled for later this month at a school that I'm getting more and more excited about the more I read about it.  I'll let you know how it goes.