I have a faculty job interview coming up in a few months. I am trying to prepare the presentation that includes my past (PhD and postdoc) research and future research. I am looking for some sample presentations or guides and tips online , so far could not find any. I would be grateful if anybody could point to me some good faculty interview presentations and guides or tips that could help me crack the interview.

Another question is: I have been a postdoc only for five months, therefore my postdoc research is very limited and major focus is on PhD research, will this affect the interview negatively?

  • 1
    There are several questions asking this on here...
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 14, 2019 at 17:27
  • I suggest you review How to ask a good question? -- this is a shopping question and too broad (you didn't even give a field!). The last part might be answerable, but do you expect any answer other than: "yes, of course (relative to candidates with more experience), but do your best"?
    – cag51
    Apr 27, 2019 at 2:37

3 Answers 3


You might find this guide useful: https://tomprof.stanford.edu/posting/1085

The key organizing questions are as follows: • What problem have I worked on? • Why would anyone work on this problem? • What is significant about what I have done? • How has my work made progress on the problem?

Here's a sample structure for a 45-minute research job talk:

Content * Time * Target Audience * Detail Level / Purpose

Background * 15 * Everyone present * Your parents would understand it

Your approach * 10 * People in related fields * Show you know the field

Your results * 10 * People who work in your field * Show that you are the world expert on something

Summary * 10 * Everyone in the room * Relate your results to the big picture

I found this structure particularly useful because it's easy to lose sight of how specialized one's work is. You need to make the talk relatable, and to speak to a broader audience than, for example, a conference presentation or a journal article. Even though these faculty might be in the same discipline and have phds, there is every chance they don't follow your subfield. Only part of your talk needs to demonstrate the cutting edge aspects of your research. Most of it should be broader.

Of course, your mileage may vary, but I found this advice convincing (and it worked for me!)


I think everybody's reaction might be different, so this is really just opinion. But, I think, the best presentation is one that is NOT just about you and your research. If you can connect what you do in some way with what some subset of the existing faculty does you might come off as "more connected" and therefore better.

It is also possible, in some cases and at some institution, to connect what you do with what students (at any level) might want to do.

Both of these dimensions are specific to the institution, of course, and take a bit of research to do it well.

But you want people in general, to say more than "That's interesting." You want them to say "We want this person."

Don't neglect speaking about that research of course. But connect.


Another question is: I have been a postdoc only for five months, therefore my postdoc research is very limited and major focus is on PhD research, will this affect the interview negatively?

I don't think so. For many, postdoc is a transition period anyway. Many just take a postdoc position to either finish up their PhD projects/papers. Few do it gain some extra experience for independent research. You can talk all about yout PhD research and then show you carried it forward to your postdoc.

Overall, for the presentation, try to distinguish it from your PhD defense seminar. What I mean by that is, do not go too much into technical details. In your defense seminar you go into every detail because you are trying to defend what you did by telling how you did and why. But here, they will be most interested in the bigger picture like, why the experiment was done, what you learned from it, how will this be implemented or how will it affect your career moving forward in the future.

Also, do talk about how will your gained experience help the department who is hiring you. Learn about some professors who are working in a similar area and try to find a common hook where you can help them. Maybe a common problem in the field that you think you can bring a fresh perspective on. Talk about collaborative efforts with other faculty in the department and outside. Identify and talk about some funding agencies that might fund your research.

That being said, ask your interviewer if the presentation is only about your work or about philosophy also. Depending on what you learn, modify your presentation accordingly. Good luck!

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