I have a faculty interview for a Canadian university coming up some time in the next week. For this interview I have to prepare 2 lectures.

I still havent received the date, nor the lecture topics. So I havent even booked time off work yet.

How much advanced warning is expected for this sort of thing? I feel that I would need ample time to prepare and with working full time elsewhere, it might be right. Or maybe Im just overreacting and stressing out.

  • 1
    Probably too variable for a useful answer here. Are you sure that you don't get to pick the topics?
    – Buffy
    Sep 13, 2019 at 19:02
  • 2
    Better if you ask, then.
    – Buffy
    Sep 13, 2019 at 19:07
  • 3
    This is really unusual and I expect that there's been a miscommuncation or someone has screwed up. Surely they've already picked a date on their end and have either forgotten to tell you or something went wrong with the email. Have you checked your spam folder? Sep 13, 2019 at 20:24
  • 5
    Since time is a factor here, don't leave it to email. Pick up the telephone and call someone (search committee chair, department head, etc). Sep 13, 2019 at 21:45
  • 1
    They could be waiting on other candidates to finalize their plans before knowing when the remaining available days are. You should at least find out the topics in advance and be ready.Given that it's typically so one-sided (many applicants for few jobs) there's no telling how unreasonable they might be. You are of course always free to say "sorry I can't make it with such short notice", but I presume that's the last thing you want to do. Sep 13, 2019 at 21:59

2 Answers 2


It's totally reasonable for you to want to plan your schedule at least a week ahead.

Contact them and ask if they have the date yet, or if not, when they expect to have it.

  • 1
    And even if they don't know the date yet, they should be able to tell you the lecture topics.
    – Flyto
    Sep 14, 2019 at 1:11
  • Thanks Nate! Do you think it would be acceptable to ask for a different date (for example, a week later) if they take a while to schedule me in? I would really rather not last-minute the day-off request at work.
    – Catsunami
    Sep 14, 2019 at 5:14
  • I believe that is completely reasonable Sep 14, 2019 at 5:48
  • 1
    @Catsunami If your only concern is the last-minute request for leave, and there are no knock-on effects such as needing to arrange cover for teaching, make the last-minute request. Finding a time when everybody on the interview panel is free can be difficult. Sep 14, 2019 at 9:31
  • @Catsunami: You can ask, but as David says, scheduling interviews is rather difficult for a search committee. And they are usually under some pressure to complete the interview process quickly, since the longer they wait, the more likely their preferred candidates will receive and possibly accept other offers. So if you ask for a later date, they may well say no. Thus my advice would be to make every reasonable effort to attend the interview on the date they set, even if it is somewhat inconvenient or causes minor friction at your current job. Sep 14, 2019 at 20:38

"How much advanced warning is expected for this sort of thing?"

The answer is that it varies between departments, schools, faculties, universities, countries, etc., and even between different recruitment rounds within the same department. Although it is not helpful for the candidate to get this information very late, it is certainly not uncommon for interviews to delay decisions about dates, topics, instructions etc. to the last minute due to administrative reasons. For example, if the department is in a rush, or they have multiple posts, etc. The best way of course is to contact the department by email and ask.

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