The academic job phone interview is a common part of the hiring process. If you have been contacted to participate in a phone interview, congratulations, you are on the short list.
However, the phone interview should not be taken lightly. The search committee typically uses the phone interview to screen applicants and determine who should and should not be invited for the campus visit. So, make sure that you are prepared and ready to shine in your phone interview.
There are many websites and guides that provide tips for preparing for an academic job phone interview:
- Rocking the Phone/Skype Interview
- Academic Job Search (Columbia University)
- Interviewing for Academic Jobs (University of Houston)
- Preparing for the Phone Interview
Ultimately, the authors of these guides and websites all say the same things:
- Be prepared! Prepare and rehearse a two- to three-minute description of your dissertation as well as your teaching philosophy.
- Smile while you talk (the interviewers can hear this in your voice).
- Keep your responses short, since it is often hard to keep the interviewers' attention over the phone.
- Speak clearly and slowly. Make it easy for the interviewers to hear you.
- Create two to three talking points for each of the qualifications on the job posting.
I highly recommend looking at Columbia's list of sample interview questions as well as other online examples, and then prepare responses or bullet points for the common questions (e.g., What changes would you make in your dissertation if you had to do it all over again?). Also, put together a list of questions that you would like to ask the interviewers (here are some sample questions). The more prepared you are, the more confident, and less nervous, you will be during the interview.
You may be asked to do an interview via Skype instead of over the phone. This is a common practice. Keep in mind all of the bullet points above. However, it is also critical to dress professionally, set the scene (e.g., the background of your video), and use sticky notes on your computer for the important points that you want to get across (rather than looking down or shuffling through papers).