Archive for May, 2014

interview_cartoonFollowing are two vignettes from recent candidates for our VP for Research search.  Both vignettes correspond to highly qualified candidates who were ultimately unsuccessful in their search.   I hope that you can learn from the mistakes of others.

Vignette #1 (Bad Behavior):  I met the candidate for VP for Research at breakfast.   At the breakfast he gave me the highlights for his presentation that afternoon.   At the time, I vividly remember him telling me  “I probably shouldn’t spend any time at the presentation talking about research metrics, but I will anyway.”    Sure enough, he spent about 1/4 of his presentation discussing research metrics.   Not unexpectedly, during Q&A he got hammered about research metrics as they apply to a VP for Research.     Take Away: Be self aware.  Trust your gut.   This person was a strong candidate who simply shot himself in the foot by doing what he knew he shouldn’t.   His decision cost him a shot at the job.

Vignette #2 (Bad Behavior):    This candidate for VP of Research was extremely bright and extremely accomplished as an academic.   Unfortunately, he was under the impression that everything that went through his head would be of interest to others.    Some examples, include the following statement during the presentation: “My dean wouldn’t be happy if I told you this, but I will tell you anyway”.   He was right, his dean wouldn’t have been happy!   Another statement made at dinner:   “What really makes me angry is incompetent people”.    Ah you’ve told us that you get angry at others  and you view your university co-workers as incompetent.  Take Away: Don’t be a ‘stream of consciousness’ person.  We don’t need to hear everything going through your head.  As a candidate, you are not under an obligation to fill silence with the your mindless thoughts.   His utterances cost him a shot at the job.

Other stories of mistakes in the academic job-search process can be found here.   Read carefully and good luck with your search!

from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe



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