Job Market Tips

by Mike Conlin and Stacy Dickert

Questions to ask when scheduling interviews

Tips on scheduling

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

Likely Questions you will hear

Possible Questions to ask (It depends who you are interviewing with)

Questions to ask when you receive a Fly Back

Possible Questions for Fly Backs

  1. Dept. Chair.
    1. General
      1. How do you view me fitting in with the department?
        1. Courses I would teach?
          • Can I buy out of teaching with research grants?
        2. Committee work?
        3. Research program?
        4. Do you seem me more as a teacher, researcher, a combination, if so in what proportion?
        5. Teaching load? Summer school teaching/support?
        6. What are plans for expansion/contraction in next year? Next five years?
        7. What kind of students come and where do they go?
      2. What are the problems/weaknesses at the departmental level?
        1. Administrative?
        2. Pedogological?
        3. Graduate?
        4. Undergraduate?
      3. What are the strengths?
    2. Research Issues.
      1. Generally, what resources are available for doing research, both in the department and at the university level?
      2. Is there support for research projects/TA's, RA's, PA's?
      3. Are faculty development grants available?
      4. Are there support services for research grant proposals?
      5. What are potential sources for research funding, both inside the University and outside (e.g., state agencies, etc.)?
      6. Who on the faculty has gotten grant money?
        • What is nature and amount of grant?
    3. Support Issues.
      1. What kind of staff/clerical support is available?
      2. Computers?
      3. Software?
      4. Telephone restrictions/budget?
      5. Xeroxing limits (class handouts + research papers)?
      6. Internet access?
      7. Library resources?
        • Computerized lit searches? PsychLit?
        • Periodicals access? Copy budget for articles. Interlibrary loan?
      8. Travel money/support? Airfare? Hotel? Meals? Professional Memberships. Books?
    4. Tenure.
      1. How does tenure work?
      2. What is the process?
      3. What are the expectations re balance of course load/service/publications?
      4. Who in department has gone up/will go up recently?
      5. Of those who have gone up in last five years, what the average number of publications?
      6. Is there periodic evaluation to assess progress? How does it work?
      7. Is there documentation or policy statments about tenure process? Can I obtain a copy?
      8. Is there a policy on sabbaticals or leave? (e.g., would going on Fulbright hurt/help tenure chances?).
  2. Dean.
    1. General.
      1. How does the Dean see the department in relation to the other departments in the College? In terms of research? Teaching?
      2. Does he/she have views about directions they should be moving in? Are those views shared by faculty in the department and the college?
      3. 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).
      4. 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?
      5. Will the department begrowing/steady-state/ shrinking over the next 5-10 years?
      6. Are there resources in the college that you might be able to make use of? (subject pools;

      7. etc.--anything that might be of interest given what is available in the department).
      8. The Dean's philosophy of education ( e.g., our current Dean's philosophy of education is somewhat antagonistic to my area of the department).
      9. Any college/university level programs to support junior faculty research? (e.g., grants for summer months, RA money, semester leaves, etc.)
    2. Tenure.
      1. How does tenure work, especially after the department level?
      2. Requirements?
      3. What criteria are applied to a tenure decision and what are their relative weights.
      4. What percentage of people going up for tenure make it?
      5. What is the average number of publications required? Standard deviation? Max, Min?
      6. What effects does the economy have on enrollments generally, in the college and the department?
  3. Faculty
    1. What is getting tenure like, esp. with Jr. faculty?
    2. Are senior faculty supportive? Is there mentoring?
    3. What do they like about U.?
    4. What would they like to see changed?
    5. Benefits--Are their gaps in coverage?
  4. Students and misc.
    1. Students
      1. Things they like/dislike? What do they want to see changed?
      2. Fights/conflicts among professors, turf battles, favoritism, race, sex discrimination?
      3. What are the professors like? Afraid? Anyone give easy/difficult grades?
      4. Libraries OK? Enough computers?
    2. Other.
      1. Living/housing prices.
      2. Help with moving expenses?
      3. Cultural highlights.

For Non-academic Positions

  1. What method exists for evaluation in the first year, second year, etc?
  2. Who stays, who leaves, and why?
  3. Who initiates projects/assignments?
  4. What say would I have in deciding what projects to work on?
  5. What is the length of a particular project?
  6. Do they ever get published in scholarly journals?
  7. Is there any limitation on publishing with company data?
  8. Do people do research outside of the job requirements?
  9. What is the promotion ladder like?
  10. What are your family policies?
  11. Whom would be your boss and what is her training?
  12. 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.)
  13. How much travel is involved?
  14. Is continued education supported through conferences and classes?
  15. Get a feel for the number of hours companies and agencies expect.
  16. Are your research topics limited? (For example, one government agency does not allow your personal research to be policy related.)

Modification: November 09, 1995

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