Check out this post by Michael Smith on "War stories from academic job interviews." Interesting stuff, and may give some hope to those of you on the market!
He categorizes his job interviews as "successful", "in good faith", and "in bad faith". The "bad faith" interviews are those where someone else was chosen for the job before you arrived.
I've had six on-campus interviews (seven if you count a short-list interview that was conducted via Skype). Only one was "successful", and I don't believe any were "in bad faith", although I knew within the first couple of hours at the last interview that I wouldn't get the job. I don't think they had someone else already lined up, per se, but it was clear they weren't interested in me. Still, they were polite and I enjoyed the experience.
As for war stories: Two of the interviews went poorly. My first interview was at a large research institution, and the department put me up in the home of the search committee chair. Exhausting! I never had a break, until she got stomach flu and ended up in the bathroom for the last 12 hours of my visit. Still, I enjoyed meeting the faculty, and overall it was a good first experience.
The other regrettable interview was at a small, poorly-ranked undergraduate school. The committee created all kinds of problems, everything from keeping me up until 1am the day I arrived (I had left my home at 5am the morning to make it to the airport on time), to changing the venue of my research talk only hours before I gave it ("Hey, why don't you give your talk to our Into to Archaeology class? I'm sure they'd love it! Can you pitch it to first-year, under-prepared undergrads?"), to forgetting to schedule lunch. When you add in the horrors of the location itself (although I was assured by the faculty that their town wasn't the meth capital of the state, that was a town down the road), I left that interview fully intending to turn down the job if offered. In fact, none of the candidates on the short list were offered/took the job, and the department hired someone much more suitable to their needs by bringing in someone who had worked in CRM in the region for decades.
I'm not on the job market this year. For reasons I'll discuss more in a later post, I just can't face the prospect of moving this summer. Plus, things are looking up for Dr. Mr. Palimpsest's employment prospects here at Tiny U. Hopefully, more on this soon!
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