Monday, March 12, 2007

Job Talk Talk

I went to the third job talk so far for a job we're trying to fill.

Happily, the candidate did not show us a bulleted powerpoint presentation. It's nice to see someone who can give a coherent, smart talk without bullet points, manage to keep focused and not run over. The candidate also rounded off the talk with an image reminiscent of the opening; it was clearly well-thought through and yet felt relaxed and responsive to the audience.

At every job talk, there's one. At every conference, there's one. You know the one, the person who has to ask some canned question that really doesn't go anywhere. We have ours. S/he reads the set up and question every time, although, seriously, I could do it by now, and at least I'd try to have more than a monotone.

There's basically one acceptable answer in the US to his/her canned question, and pretty much anyone past 9th grade should be able to nail it without any trouble. Certainly all these candidates do a fine job with it. For me, there's a way of answering really bad questions sometimes that makes them into good questions; today's candidate managed to sort of do that with this one, which I admit impressed me.

For those who care, the right answer is not, for once, hanging by the neck until half dead and then drawing and quartering. While this seems to have been a solid stock answer for many questions back in the day, it's not so popular in the here and now.

There you are, free advice: skip the powerpoint and don't offer to draw and quarter anyone in the central quad.


For some stupid reason I won't share, I woke up at 3:30 am this morning, and didn't get back to sleep, though by the time I needed to get up, I was finally ready to go back to sleep. I really want to sleep now, but instead, I'm prepping to go work with theater students on a play they'll be performing at the end of the semester. Let's just say, the playwright's pretty good, and I have an affinity for his/her works that makes this more a pleasure than a chore, except for the sleepiness part.

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