Archive for February, 2015

SONY DSCThe ‘airport interview’ is an important step in the academic dean search process.    The airport interview can be defined as a step in the administrator search process whereby the top candidates (anywhere from 4 to 10) are brought to a location near the university’s airport over a one or two day period for 1-1/2 to 2 hour sequentially arranged interviews conducted by the dean search committee.   Following are some insights from Dr. Jeffrey L. Buller in his book The Essential Academic Dean: A Practical Guide to College Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2007):

To be sure, there is an ‘American Idol’-like auditioning aspect the can seem superficial and unworthy of the tasks for which the successful candidate will be called upon to accomplish.   However, it is also true that if you cannot convincingly communicate leadership in a one hour meeting with 10-20 friendly interviewers, it is reasonable to assume you may not be successful as dean.

For the candidate, the (airport) interview is like sudden-death overtime with no regular game beforehand: one cannot really win, but one can lose at any moment, for unlikely reasons.

Fortune favors the mentally nimble candidate who can be informative but concise, conveying a sense of individuality without rampant eccentricity.

My final advice comes from a highly respected academic recruiter.  At the airport interview, be insightful, be concise and be sure to listen.    Show that you have ‘done your homework’ in preparing for the interview.   Demonstrate that you are a good listener.    Finally,  show how you are an effective communicator.

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe


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