I am an electrical engineer working in the industry for some time. I have completed my PhD from Oxbridge comparatively recently. During my PhD, I have published two IEEE journal papers. Although, I did not do any postdoc but I am involved with voluntary research (collaborative) and I have published a conference from that endeavour. Also, I am gaining some online teaching experince at the undergraduate level. I have been trying to get a lecturer position in the UK for over the last two years, mainly in mid to lower ranked institutions (but also in some top ranked institutions). To date, I have attended 8 interviews but without any luck. I am a bit frustrated not only for my failure but also for the pretty generic feedback I receive most of the time after the interviews. Therefore, I am struggling to understand where my faults are. I have tried to improve my presentation, practiced the typical questions and what not. I am not quite sure what to do differently actually to improve my chance.

I am not quite sure whether this is very normal or this is something which is happening to me only. If someone can help or provide me some guidance, that would be much appreciated.

  • At my school, we shortlist candidates based on their research record. Hence, when it comes to the interview, we no longer focus on their research track record. We want to see whether you are able to teach and whether your personality fits within the school's culture. I've interviewed many candidates with excellent research profile, but will never in a million year put them in front of students. May 1, 2022 at 21:36
  • @VitaminE, Does it mean that all the candidates are at the same level during the interview ? During the interview process, you only evaluate the performance of the candidates ? Also, how do you understand that my personality fits within the school's culture ? May 1, 2022 at 22:35
  • Unfortunately, in practice, at least in my discipline (engineering), nobody is at the same level, research wise. For example, we have people who have completed multiple prestigious post-docs applying for a lecturer position, and some apply with unbelievable number of top journals. On the culture, I don't think I can give a definitive answer as it is quite subjective. This is the same regardless of whether you are interviewing for a company or university. May 2, 2022 at 8:10

1 Answer 1


I am sorry to hear that you are struggling to establish yourself as a Lecturer.

I have to say that I am not completely surprised. Lecturers in the UK are "tenured" (permanent) posts, following a probation period which is relatively straightforward to complete compared to competitive and exhausting tenure process in the US. As such, Lecturer posts are not easy to obtain, even though they do not pay much compared to an average occupation in industry.

The entry requirements for a Lecturer may be quite demanding. Depending on the field and a specific University, a newly starting Lecturer may be expected to already have a strong publication track (10+ papers in high-tier academic journals), and some teaching experience acquired during PhD or postdoc years. You have what is often called an "alternative" career route --- coming to academic occupation after some years in industry. This always attracts interests and this is probably why you are shortlisted for the posts and invited to the interviews even though you do not have a strong publication record etc.

It is difficult to say why exactly you are not successful after the 8 interviews. Perhaps, instead of trying to play on your existing voluntary research and past teaching experience, you can emphasize your experience in industry and clearly explain how this is transferable into academic setting. Can you run an exciting lab for students? a practice-based course? something project-oriented? Have you read educational literature and did you get some ideas from it on how your industry experience can inform and enhance your teaching practice? What are your research plans and do you know how to get funding to get it going?

You need to use interview as an opportunity to convince your future colleagues that you know what you are doing and you won't need much coaching in your new role. Being a Lecturer is a tough work, and the panel members want to see that candidates are ready and prepared for it. This is not only about the formal track, but more about the clear plan and mental picture of what you are going to do in your new role and how you will build on your existing skills to move forward and succeed.

Good luck.

  • 1
    Note on publications - I needed 22 papers (and 2+ years teaching experience) to get my first lectureship in the uk.
    – lux
    May 1, 2022 at 22:25

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