Academic screening interviews are usually conducted by the search committee or the search committee chair for faculty positions and the primary investigator(s) for post-doctoral positions. This interview is to assess if you meet the basic qualifications of the position and would be a good fit for the department and institution.
Prepare for screening interview:
- Research the institution and department, taking note of institution type, along with departmental programs and curricula, faculty specialties, student demographics, and research centers.
- Practice explaining how your background can fit the research, teaching, and service needs of the department and what you could uniquely bring that would strengthen the department.
- If you haven't defended yet, be ready to talk about the progress of your dissertation or thesis and the current trajectory toward a defense date.
- Explain how your research program is sustainable. Be ready to talk about current or potential funding sources, current manuscripts under preparation or review, and how your research interests fit with the orientation and needs of the department.
- Prepare questions to ask the hiring committee about this position expressing your interest in this role for this Department. Questions will help you evaluate if this position is a good fit for you.
- Practice explaining how your teaching and mentorship have been effective in the classroom.
Congratulations! If the search committee feels that you are a potential fit, you may be asked to visit the campus. A campus visit is a two to three-day event that involves a series of interviews, meetings, and presentations with various members of the campus community. You will participate in panel and one-on-one interviews with the search committee, faculty, students, and administrators. You may also be requested to present on your research (commonly referred to as a “job talk”) or conduct a teaching demonstration.
Prepare for the on-campus visit:
- Work with a designated person in the department to arrange travel and make sure you understand the reimbursement protocol for any incurred travel expenses. Familiarize yourself with the itinerary you will receive.
- You may be invited to a dinner with department faculty and staff. Engage in small talk as there will be plenty of opportunities during the visit to discuss your research in more depth.
- Think about how your research can benefit the department rather than existing in a silo. Consider how it can help establish a new graduate program, bring funding or prestige to the department, or establish a new lab or area of inquiry at the institution.
- When preparing for questions about teaching, research the needs of the department and institution. Different institutions have diverse student populations that require different teaching approaches. Think about how you will serve traditional students, graduate students, adult learners, students of color, neurodiversity students, or students who will need accommodations. Consider your approach to course construction, online teaching, and teaching in different formats (e.g., lecture, seminar, lab).
- The committee may ask structured questions, but meetings with administrators may not follow a set format. Department chairs, deans, and provosts can provide insight into what the department or college really wants to achieve with the open role, so be sure to listen!
- Convey your interest in actively contributing to this department. Share how you can help them with their teaching and research needs.
- Demonstrate your interest in this position by preparing questions for the hiring committee. Ask questions that would help you determine if this position is a good match for you.
- Following the on-campus visit, it may be challenging to send a thank-you letter to everyone you met, but do send a thank-you email to the committee chair and committee on the same day if possible.