I am a woman currently on the market for tenure-track positions. I will not disclose my department since I think this is not relevant, and I am about to describe a particular department in detail.
I have a couple of interviews for the tenure-track positions, and while all of them are from schools that I would happily be at, one interview is from my dream school (research fit, compatibility with colleagues, location, and familiarity are all important factors in my job search).
While doing my research on this school, I made the unfortunate mistake of reading the hiring policy of the university. The policy says that if there are no applicants of minority status (such as being a woman) on their interview shortlist, the hiring committee must go back to the applicant pool and find the best applicant of minority status and add her to the interview list, or justify in writing to the Dean why they did not find any minority candidates suitable.
Clearly the second option is tedious, and I believe that most hiring committee would rather throw in a minority candidate rather than trying to justify the lack thereof. I am the only minority candidate. Furthermore, this department has never hired any women through the proper channels. The only women they have (the percentage is in the low single digits) were all hired through spousal hires. This makes me strongly suspect that maybe I am the candidate that they begrudgingly added to the interview list to avoid the paperwork.
This knowledge is impacting me severely; even though I am preparing for my interview, I keep thinking that all of this is hopeless, and I wonder if it's already agreed on among the hiring committee that I will never be hired. I feel that I am wasting my time. And although I have never acknowledged that being a woman was a disadvantage, or even that I was subject to sexism up to this point of my career, this time, I know that the other white males who are interviewing are not having these worries, and I am intensely jealous.
How can I talk myself through this, and believe from my heart that I can actually get this position? I read a similar question on this site just now, and it seems that unless I believe that I can get this position, often the defeatist attitude will show during the interview and become self-fulfilling. It really is my dream job and I want this job more than anything else.