Who am I speaking with and what institution/business are you with?
What hotel are you staying in and what times do you have available?
How long is the interview (usually 30 or 45 minutes)?
Whose name will the hotel room be under?
Will the hotel room number be posted on the message board or should
I call the hotel room directly.
Who will be interviewing me (often they do not know)?
Can you send me some information on your department/business/agency?
Ask for their phone number and e-mail address.
Tell them where you are staying and the phone number where you can
be reached over the holidays just in case. (You may want to send them a letter
confirming your interview.)
Tips on scheduling
Much depends on the layout of the hotels. If hotels are separated,
try to schedule a string of interviews at the same hotel.
Leave at least 15 minutes between interviews.
Usually there are four days of interviews. Request the first and
last days of the meetings for interviews if possible because the two middle
days are the more hectic days.
If your schedule is very full, you may want to cancel a few interviews
you are not really interested in. (There is a cost associated with an interview
if you have many because it is an exhausting process.)
Based on our small sample size, we don¹t think the time of day
of the interview is very important.
You might want to call some places that you don¹t hear from
(for which you think you are a good match). Talk to your advisor before doing
Preparing for the interview
After receiving a call, cut out the advertisement from the JOE, put it on
a 5x7 index card in the binder and write down the important points of the
telephone conversation. Write the time, hotel and the name of the institution
on interview schedule received from Jean. Keep records of all your contacts
on the index card. Do some research on each interview and make sure you have
a couple of specific questions for the interviewers. (Example: University
of Arizona: their experimental economics laboratory. University of Wisconsin:
institutes.) You can get information from the material they send you, the
packets in Jean¹s office and faculty members at UW. You may also want
to look in the AER for a list of faculty at different schools. (You could
search Econlit for articles published by those interviewing you but this may
not be worth your time at this stage.)
Best suggestions we heard for Presentation
Put lots of time into the presentation and make sure it is very polished.
Lead off with a one minute overview of what you did and make sure
you say punchline. People will interrupt to ask questions but they usually
wait a minute or two.
Don¹t be rigid and seem too rehearsed. Be excited about what
you are talking about (especially in the afternoon) and show a lot of enthusiasm
in the position you¹re interviewing for. At this stage everyone is tired
of their dissertation so fake it.
Likely Questions you will hear
Tell me about your work.
What work do you plan to do in the future? [1 year, 5 year] (Have
one or two sound bites ready to describe specific planned projects.)
When do you expect to be completed? (The answer to this is May.)
What can you teach? What would you like to teach? (This is important
to liberal arts schools--They are skeptical that UW students are really interested
Why are you interested in us?
Who else are you interviewing with? (Tell them places that are similar
to them. A research school, tell them other research schools on same level.
Same applies for teaching schools, government agencies and private firms.)
What books would you use to teach XXX?
What topics would you teach in XXX or how would you teach XXX?
Possible Questions to ask (It depends who you are
What is your seminar schedule like?
What are your computer facilities like? (Ask if you have some particular
Would I have an opportunity to teach graduate students?
How do you see me fitting in your department?
What is the impact of having the economics department in the business
For private firms and government agencies, ask what type of work
you will be doing? What is the pace like? Do people publish?
What is the teaching load?
Questions to ask when you receive a Fly Back
Ask them to mail or fax your interview schedule. That way you can get
a list of the people that are interviewing you. Go to Econlit and see what
type of research they do. Write down questions for each person that is interviewing
you. (It is easier to talk about their research than about yours.)
Make sure you are clear who is setting up the arrangements and things
like: hotel you are staying at and the phone number; how to get from the
airport to the hotel; and when/where to arrive on the day of the interview.
Tell them you need an overhead projector for presentation.
Possible Questions for Fly Backs
How do you view me fitting in with the department?
Courses I would teach?
Can I buy out of teaching with research grants?
Do you seem me more as a teacher, researcher, a combination, if so
in what proportion?
Teaching load? Summer school teaching/support?
What are plans for expansion/contraction in next year? Next five
What kind of students come and where do they go?
What are the problems/weaknesses at the departmental level?
What are the strengths?
Generally, what resources are available for doing research, both in
the department and at the university level?
Is there support for research projects/TA's, RA's, PA's?
Are faculty development grants available?
Are there support services for research grant proposals?
What are potential sources for research funding, both inside the
University and outside (e.g., state agencies, etc.)?
Who on the faculty has gotten grant money?
What is nature and amount of grant?
What kind of staff/clerical support is available?
Xeroxing limits (class handouts + research papers)?
Computerized lit searches? PsychLit?
Periodicals access? Copy budget for articles. Interlibrary loan?
Travel money/support? Airfare? Hotel? Meals? Professional Memberships.
How does tenure work?
What is the process?
What are the expectations re balance of course load/service/publications?
Who in department has gone up/will go up recently?
Of those who have gone up in last five years, what the average number
Is there periodic evaluation to assess progress? How does it work?
Is there documentation or policy statments about tenure process?
Can I obtain a copy?
Is there a policy on sabbaticals or leave? (e.g., would going on
Fulbright hurt/help tenure chances?).
How does the Dean see the department in relation to the other departments
in the College? In terms of research? Teaching?
Does he/she have views about directions they should be moving in?
Are those views shared by faculty in the department and the college?
What are the expectations for promotion/tenure? How does the process
work beyond the departmental level (If this hasn't been discussed in detail
by the chair/head).
Have any promotion/tenure cases been overturned at the college/university
level in recent years (i.e., the department said "Yes" but the case didn't
go through at the upper levels?). Why?
Will the department begrowing/steady-state/ shrinking over the next
Are there resources in the college that you might be able to make
use of? (subject pools;
etc.--anything that might be of interest given what is available in the department).
The Dean's philosophy of education ( e.g., our current Dean's
philosophy of education is somewhat antagonistic to my area of the department).
Any college/university level programs to support junior faculty research?
(e.g., grants for summer months, RA money, semester leaves, etc.)
How does tenure work, especially after the department level?
What criteria are applied to a tenure decision and what are their
What percentage of people going up for tenure make it?
What is the average number of publications required? Standard deviation?
What effects does the economy have on enrollments generally, in the
college and the department?
What is getting tenure like, esp. with Jr. faculty?
Are senior faculty supportive? Is there mentoring?
What do they like about U.?
What would they like to see changed?
Benefits--Are their gaps in coverage?
Students and misc.
Things they like/dislike? What do they want to see changed?
Fights/conflicts among professors, turf battles, favoritism, race,
What are the professors like? Afraid? Anyone give easy/difficult
Libraries OK? Enough computers?
Help with moving expenses?
For Non-academic Positions
What method exists for evaluation in the first year, second year, etc?
Who stays, who leaves, and why?
Who initiates projects/assignments?
What say would I have in deciding what projects to work on?
What is the length of a particular project?
Do they ever get published in scholarly journals?
Is there any limitation on publishing with company data?
Do people do research outside of the job requirements?
What is the promotion ladder like?
What are your family policies?
Whom would be your boss and what is her training?
What is the ratio of Ph.D. to masters and bachelors? (This tells
you what the place really does and how many colleagues you have to talk to
about your ideas.)
How much travel is involved?
Is continued education supported through conferences and classes?
Get a feel for the number of hours companies and agencies expect.
Are your research topics limited? (For example, one government agency
does not allow your personal research to be policy related.)