Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Interview fatigue

My interview last week went really well. Everything looks good. I like the sound of the position and responsibilities, the people seem great and are of varying ages and experiences, the facility is nice and has the potential to be really great, there are plans for all sorts of exciting projects and initiatives, the dean actively supports professional development and provides good funding for travel, and the state seems to support the university and is committed to increasing salaries and funding for resources. The location is the only thing giving me pause. It would be expensive to fly home for visits and it's a three-hour drive to the nearest big city. The roads can also become impassible in the winters. If I get an offer, I have a lot to consider. I also have a number of other interviews on the horizon.

Anybody who has gone through the academic job search wringer knows how tiring, labor-intensive, and frustrating it is. Well-meaning friends and family constantly ask if I've heard from University X, no matter how many times I try to explain the peculiarities of the academy and its complicated hiring processes. They don't seem to believe me that an application might not be acknowledged for 4-6 weeks (if at all) and that I really do get calls for interviews months after a search closes. It does no good to try to describe the committee process and the prep time needed for all-day interviews with a dozen or more scheduled meetings and activities. To my non-librarian peeps, it doesn't make any sense.

After several months of feeling like I was shouting into the void, I started getting a lot of response to my applications. Lately I've been wondering if I haven't applied to too many positions. In addition to the couple of on-campus interviews I've been lucky enough to get, I've done an average of one phone interview every ten days or so for the past couple of months. The whole thing's starting to wear on me. While I'm seasoned enough to answer most general questions about my work experience, teaching philosophy, reasearch interests, and the like, I still have to put some work into prepping for each interview. Before applying for a position, I reasearch the libraries--their missions, instruction program structures, new campus initiatives, etc. Before an interview, I have to review all that and prepare my questions accordingly. While I'm grateful for the interest I'm getting, I need a break.

Of course, I have another telephone interview tomorrow, for an instruction position at a university a few hours away from the one I visited last week. I also have an on-campus interview in the southwest in a few weeks. The position I'm especially interested in doesn't close until early January, so I might have to make a decision on something else before even finding out if I get an interview.

The upshot is that I'm really looking forward to this part of my life to be over for a while. I start my part-time community college reference gig tomorrow, too. Maybe that will be fodder for some more interesting posts.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought about going to University X, I hear they have a great bungie jumping program. Glad to hear you have some prospects, I'll give you a holla soon. -V$

Kaijsa said...

Thanks, VLS. It's been awhile since we talked. If I end up at X, I'll be in the state below yours. Still a long way away, though.

Tweed said...

Wow, it sounds like a wringer! You have my best wishes. :)

I hope that you get hired someplace where you want to work. I've been thinking a lot about livability lately, and about getting a real job, so am also considering various positions that are distant from large cities.

I know what you mean about wanting things to settle down. It's time to get into our first "real" positions and work for a few years.

Kaijsa said...

Thanks, BT. I hope you find a position you enjoy, too!

Kris G. said...

*crosses fingers* The job search process is so soul-sucking and demoralising. I think the hardest part for me was something you point out-- friends and (mostly) family that are not in academia have no idea how the process works.

It's hard enough to be waiting for The Call, without well-meaning people not only asking you if you've heard, but then ranting endlessly about how "unprofessional" it is to take so long.

No. I'm not bitter about my job search. Why do you ask? ;)

Kaijsa said...

Soul-sucking is a good way to put it! It does help to occasionally vent, but I do try to stay positive for my own sake. Kris, are you still searching? I got the impression from your blog that you have a new position--I hope it works out well.

Kris G. said...

I'm no longer searching-- I accepted a job in September. But that was after an eight month, two-hundred resume job search.

So far, it's working fairly well. I'm not sure how long I'll want to stay-- at least until after my first promotion-- but for now, it's mostly good ;)

Kaijsa said...

Congrats on the position. It does take a lot of work and effort to land that first one!

docsrock said...

Best of luck with this [drawn-out, rather tortuous] process. It will be over eventually, and you'll end up with a Great Job. I hope you (and Tweed, too get to stay close[r] to home. We can't all migrate, can we?

Kaijsa said...

Thanks, Docs. I'd love to stay close to home, but it looks like I will be moving out of state. Maybe someday we'll all end up back in the PNW.