4

I'm applying to my first postdoc position, and I've been asked to attend an interview that will start with a 5 minute presentation on how I meet the job criteria. The work that I'm going to talk about is all from my PhD at University A. The postdoc is at a different institution (University B). What is typical practice for the design of slides in this situation? A conference talk would usually:

1) Utilise University A's branding/identity through the use of logos etc.

2) Include a thank you slide that shows which other people were involved in the work.

At an interview, do I drop the branding to make it clear that I'm representing myself, not a different university? Or do I continue to "credit" them by displaying the branding?

And what about the "contributors" slide - do I use some of the 5 minutes to show that I had been working in a team? Or not mention other people to make it clear that it's (mostly) my work? I am also wary of wasting any of the short presentation time allotted.

Thanks for any help.

  • 4
    "A conference talk would usually: Utilise University A's branding/identity through the use of logos etc." That's not usual in my field (theoretical computer science). It's not unusual for a talk to use university branding but I'd estimate that fewer than 10% of conference talks do. – David Richerby Jun 28 '15 at 9:59
  • 1
    I always do it, and my university's website hosts branded templates for presentations. However, now that you've said that, I can't really recall how often I see other people do it at conferences! I'd guess it's a lot more than 10% though. Also I think that even if you didn't use logos and branding, you'd still have the university name written somewhere (first slide?) or introduce yourself as "X from University A". I think my question is still relevant to those cases. – Cog77 Jun 28 '15 at 10:05
  • I am confused by "my university's website hosts branded templates for presentations". Do you have to use that template? Can't you make your own slides? Vote to close as "Unclear what you're asking". – scaaahu Jun 28 '15 at 11:29
  • 5
    @scaaahu, I'd like to see this stay open. Just because folks in other fields don't have this tradition of putting their organization's logo on their slides, that doesn't mean that the question is unclear. – Bill Barth Jun 28 '15 at 12:04
  • 1
    Okay, I am clear now. I'll retract my close vote. CC to @BillBarth. – scaaahu Jun 28 '15 at 12:34
11

Typically, in the departments and universities I'm familiar with, as a student you're also an employee of your current institution, benefiting from their space at the very least and participating in the local research culture. As such, it's appropriate to keep the branding on your job talk slides since it's not just some obligation to the university to credit them, but it grounds you in a context of the research at that university.

Additionally, it's appropriate to keep your acknowledgement slides if there are people to acknowledge. Many PhDs are done as part of a team, and so you shouldn't drop this credit from your slides. That being said, in a job talk, even a short, introductory one, you should concentrate on the parts that you did. You probably shouldn't spend the time reading off all the names and roles of the people who contributed.

Now, given that this talk is short and intended to only be about how you fit the role, it's not even clear to me that you should be treating this as a traditional job talk about your research. I would focus down on the posted criteria and carefully and thoughtfully address how you satisfy them. Presumably you're being given the opportunity later in the interview day to give a traditional academic job talk (i.e. an hour-long seminar), and that's the place where you can dive into your research, credit your team members, funding agency, etc.

  • Thanks, I think I agree with all of this. These are generally the same things I have been thinking about, but wanted to hear from others as I wasn't sure how these points weight up against a more independent styled presentation. As for what the content should be, it's a rather unusual postdoc position, and I'm planning on talking about the bits of my research which serve as examples of ways in which I meet the job criteria. The interview is with the PI and senior HR, so I'm well aware that it's about demonstrating how I can meet their criteria. I haven't been asked to do a job talk. – Cog77 Jun 28 '15 at 12:53
  • @Cog77, yeah, I didn't mean to leave your research out entirely. You seem to have the right ideas in mind. – Bill Barth Jun 28 '15 at 13:00
  • I ended up removing the logo in every slide header because I had some images that looked better when shown as large as possible. However, I feel like it would have been fine to leave them in as well. Thanks for the advice. – Cog77 Jul 6 '15 at 12:46
5

I have to disagree with Bill Barth's answer.

You are giving a job talk. A job talk is about your research accomplishments and vision, and how you fit the qualifications of the position. You are not giving a talk on behalf of your old university, but on your own behalf, as an individual researcher. You are seeking individual employment; you are not seeking a position for your current employer.

As such, I think it is entirely inappropriate for most of your presentation slides to carry the "livery" of your current institution. There are a few exceptions, where livery would be acceptable, but still not required.

  • On the title slide, where you give your current affiliation.

  • On the acknowledgment slide, where you thank your colleagues, advisors, funding sources, etc.

  • Any slides that specifically refer to your overall research project or team. But these should be rare.

(I'm the faculty search chair for a top-5 American CS department. In my experience, it is rare for CS talks in any context other than presentations to deans, funding agencies, and potential donors to carry institutional livery. For an interview talk, it would be extremely weird.)

  • 3
    Jeff, we may have different templates in mind here, but I wouldn't balk at having the university logo at the bottom of the title slide or every slide in the deck. What's the big deal here? Inappropriate? That seems extreme to me. Would you pass on a candidate for having their university name or logo on their slide footers in their job talk? – Bill Barth Jun 30 '15 at 2:22
  • The template has the university logo in the header of every slide. The website address (without any "www" or "http") is in the footer of every slide in an unobtrusive font colour. There are other aspects, but these are probably not noticeable, e.g. in the choice of colours for fonts. – Cog77 Jun 30 '15 at 19:59
  • Would you pass on a candidate for having their university name or logo on their slide footers in their job talk? — No, but I would notice, and I would wonder why they're not selling themselves as an individual. Perhaps "inappropriate" is too strong; "out of place" or "bizarre" or might be better. – JeffE Jun 30 '15 at 23:19
  • 1
    @JeffE, even "bizarre" seems too strong to me. It might be unusual in CS, but I've certainly seen it in the handful of CS job talks I've been to. Selling yourself doesn't have to be done at the expense of acknowledging the university, department, or lab that supported you. – Bill Barth Jul 1 '15 at 12:00
  • 1
    @BillBarth Nor should it. But there's a big difference between acknowledging the lab/dept that supported you and putting the lab/dept's logo on every slide of your talk. And I don't recall seeing livery on any of the two dozen CS job talks I went to last year. – JeffE Jul 2 '15 at 12:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.