I've been blogging about a search I'm on, which I've characterized as interdisciplinary basketweaving.
Looking for Dr. Right - introduces the search
Dr. Desperate - applicants who aren't really qualified, or who don't convince us they are
Finding My Biases in the Job Search - Thinking about some biases I have when I read applications
Schedule This - The difficulty of scheduling interviews at this point in the semester, and calling references.
We've now finished our interviews.
What I wish from job candidates: imagine if we list an interdisciplinary basketweaving job, and say we're interested in people who can teach basket aesthetics and economics of basketweaving at intro and advanced levels.
Our first question was about the intro to interdisciplinary basketweaving. An ideal answer would have started by recognizing that we think aesthetics and economics issues are important, and would talk about focusing the class through one or both of those issues, or would talk about some of the important themes or areas to introduce, and include those two areas.
Then we asked a question about the basketweaving aesthetics course. A really good answer talks about what's important to introduce in basketweaving aesthetics, and how the person introduces those. A brilliant answer also ties in the economics of aesthetic issues, because the candidate knows from our job ad that we see a relationship between those things as being important and think one person should be able to do both areas.
Then we asked about the economics of basketweaving in our lower division and upper division courses, both required for some majors. A really good answer explains the differences between the two courses in some way, and then talks about each, and thinks about how the second builds on the first. A brilliant answer includes something about the economics of aesthetic issues as a theme in one of the courses.
I'm grateful for the people I worked with on the search committee. They're smart and good colleagues to work with. We reached a strong consensus at each step along the way, focused on what we'd decided was important and were able to write up a short statement about each of the candidates we ranked for the next level up in the process.
And now it's out of my hands except for one thing: I'm going to have to write letters to the folks we didn't hire (after we've hired someone).
That's where I need your help. What graceful, kind, and decent thing can I say having interviewed (or not interviewed) people who've worked hard to get where they've gotten and really need a job, and aren't getting our job?