Monday, December 28, 2009

First Interview Reports from the MLA!

We've started to hear from interviewees who are already into the morning interviews in Philly. Please to enjoy a mixed bag of results, and
please send in your own experiences:

  • IT WASN'T SO BAD! I've been dreading these interviews since my first year in grad school, but I just came from a (supposedly) dreaded hotel-room interview and it was great. A little school from the Pacific Northwest greeted me warmly at their Marriott suite - and it was phat - and we had a relaxed 65 minute meeting that went better than expected. They asked about my dissertation at the start, but then moved on to teaching concerns. Luckily for me I've had a chance to teach pretty broadly over my last 2 years and I felt so comfortable with them that when they asked about a class I'd never even thought of teaching, my answer of "I don't know how I'd handle that. But I'd love to know how you folks deal with it," was met with smiles and a really honest answer. THE MLA ROCKS!

  • I have a few "personal" links on my current faculty website, and one of the first questions my committee had for me today was about a completely unknown anime novel I wrote the text for about 5 years ago. It ended up being the best question of the interview because it's something I know a lot about and something I was able to use to talk about how I would teach an intro to CW class. I was stunned that the committee knew so much about me.

  • Oh Lord. Why am I here? I had my first interview this morning and I blew it. I realize now that I simply didn't know enough about the school. I'm one of those dumbfuck snowflake grad students who knows a lot about myself but nothing about the schools I'm trying to make into a home. I was embarrassed, but the committee didn't seem to dwell on it. I incorrectly assumed a number of things that would have been fairly easy to know had I spent a little more time researching them. I don't have another interview until tomorrow and NOW I'm going to study...dumb ass. I imagine they all wrote "dumb ass" on their legal pads after I left. Okay. Regroup.

  • Okay, who runs their heater at 80 degrees for an interview? Do they not know that I'm in a monkey suit? Do they not know that I'm nervous? I walked into their furnace of a room and there was sweat on my forehead throughout the 30 uncomfortable minutes, and I shook hands goodbye with a sweaty palm that I couldn't wipe often enough on my pants. Nice. Nice to meet you. Sorry if I'm dripping. Crack a window, would you?

  • A large state school from California had 7 people at the interview table. Is that enough, do you think? 2 didn't even ask questions. They just scribbled every inane thing I said. These 2 sat sort of behind the main 5, and I didn't know if I was to address them or what. What gives? Secretaries? Notetakers? Were they from some other table? I couldn't focus on what was being asked and I called the chair by the wrong name at the end and realized it when I was halfway out of the room. Hooray for me.

  • Manners? Don't these committees have manners? I was half way through the last answer when they just hustled me out the room into a hallway where 2 other people were waiting. They set up their times too close together. I hate this shit.

  • I'm going to get a campus interview. I can feel it. I knocked the poop out of every answer. The people were great, knew about me, asked questions I knew the answers to, and gave me a nice 5 page handout that showcased the town and the college. It's never been this easy before at the MLA. High hopes.

  • They didn't put a spotlight in my eyes, but they might as well have. Five of us were crowded into an ordinary hotel room. I got a chair - thank God - but three of them sat on the edge of a bed. They were disorganized, and I clearly saw folders for at least four other candidates (including their names and current schools!) on the floor at someone's feet. Unprofessional all the way. I wouldn't take a job if they offered it. Buffoons. And the questions were all antagonistic and designed to make you fail. They asked how I'd teach a class that wasn't even in my subfield. Are they nuts? I told them I wasn't qualified for that class and that they probably had someone else already better suited to it. Then I went through what my real strengths were. They didn't follow that up but asked a question about a completely unrelated topic. Dumbshits.