I have been asked to participate in a Skype interview for an academic position in a STEM field. One focus of the institution is innovative and non-traditional teaching methods. This is the first interview/contact after submitting my application package.

The Skype interview is scheduled to last 15 minutes. As part of this interview I have been asked to teach something I am "passionate about" in only three minutes.

I am struggling with what the evaluation criteria might be for such a short demonstration. If I were evaluating a short teaching demonstration, these are the things that I would be looking for:

  • enthusaisiam
  • the ability to communicate in the language of instruction
  • the ability to engage students
  • use of appropriate visuals
  • including an interactive or active learning segment
  • checking up on the audience to see if they are understanding the lesson

However, I don't see how I could authentically include the last three items in a 3-minute lesson.


  1. What do you think would be the search committee's evaluation criteria?

  2. Should I try to incorporate active learning and visuals?

  3. Is it appropriate to ask what the evaluation criteria are?

  • wow, that is a crazy dislikable interview process. My sympathies. In my experience "weird/unwinnable" interview processes like this exist to expose negative qualities. That way committee members that don't like you have something concrete to criticize you on. The winning candidate will also mistep here but the committee will overlook it. Try your best, but also put effort into building consensus and selling yrself not just to department chair but to each of the faculty individually.
    – DBB
    Jan 11, 2018 at 11:56

1 Answer 1


The easiest thing is to ask what the criteria of evaluation is. Given the small time they probably want to see if can you actually teach something in three minutes. This take incredible content and communicative mastery to find a topic that fits within this time limit and can be explained. The typical expert knows too much to share with such direct and concise simplicity.

In relation to visuals, I would have one as a maximum that I might explain to my audience. I would not try to do any active learning because just explaining what to do will take up all the time and there will not be any time to discuss whatever you had them do.

You could consider asking a question or two during the demo. However the question should not be open ended because of the time constraints. You want to use the questions to lead to the goal of the lesson.

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