Academic Interview

Academic Interview

The fundamentals of knowing what to ‘expect’ in an academic job interview:

Have you applied for an academic job? Is the interview date approaching? Do not know what questions will confront you? Academic Interviews can be nerve wrecking but with a little planning, they are smooth sailing.

The Universities have rules that regulate the kind of members included in selection panel’s setup for academic interviews. It usually consists of three panelists, a senior member of the department, and a senior manager from the university plus a representative from the human resources.

Each of the panelists has a specific task, the senior manager from the university for instance maintains the standards of the university, and the human resources manager takes care to see that the selection is fair and without discrimination. The senior member of the department or a potential boss of the interviewee determines if the candidate is suitable for establishing a healthy working relationship. However, the prospective manager has the final say on decision making.

The academic interview usually starts with candidates making a presentation or giving a lecture. The thumb rule is, to know beforehand the level of understanding of the audience. The presentations have a time limit set, and the presenter has to ensure that it completes within the stipulated time, never allow the presentation to overrun the time limit.

The common questions asked are, why you wish to work for the university and the attraction that drives you to work for the department, a visit to the university website provides answers to these questions. If the candidate has applied for a position of a lecturer, demonstrate to the panelist the requisite experience you have.

Most of the academic jobs may require candidates to have experience in administration, and events or contribution made to bodies or membership of committees can be useful for the panelist in evaluating your commitment. The questions they will ask is on how you have resolve problems with the managerial skills that you claim to have, or the experience on managing a budget.

The candidates should never ask questions that relate to remuneration or working conditions, until an offer for the job materializes, instead the candidate should initiate discussion on research issues the university has undertaken.