A reader asks You ve told us what to wear and how to give the talk at my interview. Any tips for the rest of the trip? Aside from your talk and a nice dinner,Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2007View Source
A reader asks
You've told us what to wear and how to give the talk at my interview. Any tips for the rest of the trip?Aside from your talk and a nice dinner, your interview will consist of a grueling series of half-hour meetings with faculty in and possibly outside the department. While you have passed the first test to even get an interview, you still have to distinguish yourself from the other candidates. Your job is to sell yourself particularly to people outside your field who don't know you or your research well.
Take the lead from the person you are talking to. If they start talking about their own research then listen intently and ask friendly intelligent questions. If they start talking about the town (indicating a belief that the two of you have no research interests in common) then have a nice talk comparing it to places you have lived in the past. If they ask about your own research then describe some results beyond your job talk.
Some will ask you questions. "Would you be willing to teach X, or organize Y?" Your answer is always "Yes, I'd be happy to." Some might ask why your research or even theoretical computer science in general is relevant. Make sure you have something intelligent to say and never apologize for your research. Some will ask about your ability to generate funding. Say you will regularly apply for grants at the NSF and other agencies. Acknowledge that theory grants aren't as large as more applied areas but your needs are also fewer.
You must avoid dead silence. Visit the web pages of the faculty you are meeting ahead of time and find some talking point for each of them. Have a list of questions about the department that you can always ask to keep the conversation going.
Act positively. Always show interest in what the other person says. Say only positive things about the place you are visiting and don't say anything negative about any other place. Don't complain how bad the market it. Don't complain about the hotel or the food. Don't complain about anything. Most importantly act like you really want the job whether or not you do.
Have good manners. Always firmly shake hands and thank the person you just talked to and firmly shake hands with the person you will talk with next. Act civilized at dinner. Send thank you emails soon after you return.
Posted by Lance to Computational Complexity at 2/05/2007 08:05:00 PM