At last week’s Pub Club (04/14/16), Brad Day led a discussion on job talks – what to do and not to do. He started by asking us what we remembered about the recent series of job talks presented at MSU as part of a cluster hire process. The answer? The negatives! As Brad stated, the first 5 minutes of your talk will decide your fate!
Things that did not impress us:
-poor presentation (lecturing, boring, no energy)
-statements such as “I don’t know what any of this means. Someone will have to explain this to me.” or the crowd favorite, “I’m not an expert in any one thing, but I’m pretty good at a lot of things.”
-spending the majority of the presentation talking about research done by someone else
We did have some positive things about the candidates as well, although the list was much shorter!
Things that did impress us:
-polite yet engaging
Sheng Yang shared some additional advice on the entire Job Interview process:
-No matter how tired you are, stay high energy
-Be alert and interactive
-Read up on the research done by the faculty with whom you will be interviewing so you can engage them in conversation.
Both Brad and Sheng Yang agreed that what they want most in a candidate is someone who they can envision as a colleague. Part of this is having a record of doing good science and communicating that record well. Beyond that, it means knowing something about the science your potential colleagues are doing, asking thoughtful questions and having ideas of how you might collaborate and engage as a prospective part of their department.