Say you have just finished your PhD or you are a young post-doc researcher. You are applying for a faculty position at a university which is far from your hometown and far from where you currently live. After some years you will get your tenure-track. How would you respond to the following questions?

  1. Why have you chose that university instead of a university close your hometown or to the place where you currently live? Say there is no big difference between both, except for their location.

  2. How can you ensure that you will keep the same level of productivity in terms of research after you become a professor?

  3. How would you deal with conflicts with people from other departments (for example, professors from other departments are deliberately sabotaging you and your students)?

  4. How would you cope with adversities related to a professor career (low salary, lack of students to do research, busy solving tasks not related to teaching or research, etc)?

  5. Wouldn't you prefer to be a professor at a low level university for a much higher salary but with no possibility of tenure-track? Why not?

  • 3
    These are five wildly different questions. Please ask one question per question. Aug 16, 2023 at 0:22
  • 1
    May I asked how this list of questions arose? I had quite a few interviews for faculty positions and have never been asked anything like questions 2 - 4. Questions of the type "Why do you want to work here?" are common in my experience, but people usually won't frame it like 1. (But which qiestions are typically asked can, of course, depend strongly on cultural aspects.) Aug 16, 2023 at 6:11

2 Answers 2


I know it's a radical notion, but I would respond with the truth.

What the truth is for you is not the same as it is for me, or anyone else who responds. They are all opinions and personal questions.

Except #2. No one can guarantee that.

  1. Because you have an open position in my field, whereas my local university does not.
  2. I cannot, but then nobody can. Life happens.
  3. Is this a situation common in your university? If yes I withdraw my application. If no I’ll deal with this if I ever have to.
  4. If I accept the position, I accept the salary on offer and the other conditions of the job as well.
  5. If I am offered such a position at the same time as I have your offer, I will evaluate both offers for what they are and choose in my best interest.
  • Good answers, if a bit flippant. I like 3, but it needs a lot of self-confidence. Aug 15, 2023 at 23:19
  • @CaptainEmacs ... self-confidence, which is not a bad thing during an interview. (Not to be confused with over-confidence.) Aug 15, 2023 at 23:43
  • Ah yes, it borders on over-confidence. But, as I said, I think they are good, but not for everyone. Aug 15, 2023 at 23:45

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