Monday, December 17, 2007

How to Interview At a Non-Research 1 School

This is the second installment in my advice to job market candidates. For background information I got my PhD from Wisconsin in the Ag & Applied Economics department. I was on the job market twice. The first year I landed a visiting position at Beloit College and now I have a tenure track job at Towson. I think non-research school interviews are a bit different. Some helpful hints that are not in the Cawley piece or need to be emphasized

1. The interviewers are probably tired of being stuck in a room and traveling. Imagine they are your students who are little tired, because last night was pub night. Be enthusiastic and excited. But not manic or your students or interviewers will not take you seriously. You will also get bored with talking about your dissertation. Pretend you are the guy from the movie Memento, erase your memory each time and think instead “have I told you about my condition” --- “have I told you about my dissertation”
2. Open with some small talk. Do not be afraid to talk about the weather, the conference, your travel. Try to keep it positive so you put people in a good mood.
3. Practice explaining your research to other grad students particularly outside your field. As my father who has been at a small liberal arts school for nearly 30 years, points out smaller departments might not have someone in your area and that is why they are hiring you.
4. Talk about what classes you can teach. Make an argument if you have not TA’d or taught them you could do either intermediate micro/macro or econometrics. Give some thoughts to what might be a good text book or key concepts. This is particularly key in the class you would teach your field.
5. Try to convince them you love to teach, particularly if you are worried they might think you are not interested in a non R1 job.
6. At small liberal art schools creating your own class is encouraged. I thought up a couple of ideas like the Economics of Ebay and the Economics of Immigration. I tried to show how it would be interesting for an interdisciplinary audience.
7. The set up of the room will be weird no matter what. Try to make sure you talk to everyone even if there are 5 people. Make sure to take a quick glance at CVs of the people who are interviewing you, this also helps create better small talk.
8. Small liberal arts and other non-R1 do care about research. They might also worry about you making the transition away from grad school, discuss projects with co-authors other than your advisor or potential collaborators you may know if you are moving across the country.

Good luck in New Orleans job market candidates. If you are interviewing with Towson, I’m sure you’ll have a good time.

1 comment:

Brian Gill said...

Hi Seth,

I have a question about how grants work at research schools. If a professor receives a research grant, how much (if any) of that money is pure compensation for the professor? Is a majority of the money used to fund the study? And does the University take a cut?