73

Dear XYZ, thank you for considering me for this position. Unfortunately, for personal reasons I am no longer considering this option. Hence, I have to decline this invitation. With best regards, clearseplex In other words, like you would politely say no to any other opportunity - polite, short, and without going into details why exactly you changed your ...


63

When someone asks in an interview, no-matter what the topic, which cutting edge approaches interest you, they are subtly asking three entirely different questions (in order of severity): Are you even exposed to any of them (which shows an interest in your subject in general) If yes, do you have an opinion on any of them (which shows leadership, independent ...


61

Dear [name of person you were communicating with], I have an update about my job search. Since we last talked I‘ve received a tenure track job offer from another institution, and have accepted it. Consequently, I am withdrawing my application at your department, and am cancelling my upcoming interview with you and your colleagues. I do very much appreciate ...


46

Is this usual behavior Short answer: no. Longer answer: I have heard many stories of bad workplaces, both in academia and beyond. Even at good workplaces one occasionally encounters weird, rude, and borderline exploitative practices and staff/employer attitudes. So perhaps it’s not entirely accurate to say it’s not usual. But by and large, the situation ...


42

If you do not toe the line, you will not be admitted. Understand that the above question is to weed-out individuals who do not lean as those in power lean. Students and faculty who do not "see" the diversity issue, and understand "their own" biases will be shouted down and closed out.


41

It's not "delivering a winning answer", any more than "delivering a winning answer" would make sense when talking about teaching and/or research and/or mentoring. That is, the question should be about what you have thought about, or acted upon, to move forward in social issues in the U.S. Yes, in some regards, it is U.S.-centric, though I am sure analogous ...


39

Yes, this is an interview. Or at least a part of an interview - depending on your location, there may be a more formal one later. As a rule of thumb, both for academia and industry, whenever you meet with a prospective employer, be it for a coffee or lunch, a "chat" or something else, it is part of the interview. As for the chat itself. If he asked ...


34

On several occasions of my first-round faculty interview, I was asked about the diversity questions, such as: "How do you work with diverse students?" "How do you contribute to the university's diversity mission?" Well, how do you work with diverse students? Do you contribute to the university's diversity mission? If you can't answer ...


31

Short answer: Yes, you should answer honestly. Long answer: your question contains, implicitly and explicitly, several (mostly) flawed premises. Premise 1: professors are superficial people who can’t be bothered to come up with their own idea of how good you are as an applicant based on the strength of your application, so will resort to relying on an (...


29

I'm not sure why you are considering this "offer". You've given a lot of downsides that could easily lead to future pain and suffering. But other than a weak endorsement in your first paragraph, you haven't really given any positive aspects to this position. If you have any other offer(s) with better conditions, you should probably consider them ...


28

In general, honesty is a good thing. But you can be honest without giving out too much information. Some possibilities that may work for you. Not at the current time. I'm awaiting some offers. I'm only getting started in this process. None that I'd care to discuss at this time. But you can also turn it around a bit. This is the one I'm most interested ...


23

Currently, I am in a similar situation (working since 12 months as a postdoc in the U.S. with a scholarship that covers 24 months from the "NIH" of my home country). Similar to what you described, I came expecting to be a regular postdoc based on the prior communication with the PI. Personal situation: Upon my arrival, I quickly realized that my PI ...


21

Well, it is good to be honest, of course, but if they are interested in "innovative" teaching methods you aren't helping yourself. If they are asking the question, I'll guess that they are looking for innovation and modern methods of course delivery. But, rather than being dishonest, I just suggest that you take some time to investigate things like "active ...


19

Why would you want to try to express it yourself as a "lesser" contribution? You give much of the same value, especially if there is some facility for interaction with "attendees". One of the reasons for "paying" for talks is that the speaker may need to travel and deal (time and effort) with accommodation - the hassle factor. It also means time away from ...


16

You should, of course, give an honest answer to this question. If you say that you use active learning in your classes then you're likely to be asked follow-up questions about how you teach- You won't be in a good position to answer those questions. Some mathematics departments in the US have made significant efforts to change pedagogy and seen good ...


15

If I were an interviewer, I would ask these questions differently. However, what I would want to hear is something like the following (and hoping you mean it, of course). That in response to the diversity debate, you have become more conscious of your own biases and in your role as a teacher you try and compensate for them by giving people against whom you ...


15

I interviewed candidates in the US for a similar position, the number one non-academic tip is to pay attention to how you appear on Zoom, and go for a professional setup. I was surprised how many candidates were speaking in a relatively dark room with a visible bed (even an unmade bed) behind them. Look at the camera, not the screen Find a relatively solid, ...


14

If asked, you probably don't just want to say, "I don't do that". I've been in roughly similar positions and I sympathize, and agree that the question can be a little silly/boilerplate depending on who is asking it and how. Traditional lectures are perfectly defensible, and it's quite possible that current fads will swing out of favor at some point. You ...


12

I think it depends on what kind of school you are interviewing at and who the interview is with. If it is a teaching position, then this answer is not great. You should be honest, but you can add "I'm open to learning more about problem-based teaching or flipped classrooms but I haven't had experience with that kind of teaching yet." Do some research. Do "...


11

I disagree with aspects of other answers and would like to give an answer for people like myself. First: I absolutely do think that it is legitimate to ask for the "winning answer" in an interview. That is exactly what an interview is about. It is a competition for a job. It is perfectly reasonable to ask how to win this competition. I will also say that ...


10

Do invited talks given via video-conferencing have the same weight on a CV as talks given in person? Yes. If you were invited to give a talk and you gave the talk, it is an invited talk. The medium of talk is not relevant. Similarly, if you published a paper in a print journal and published a paper in an online journal, both papers were published. I ...


10

I want to warn you about a red flag that I see, which has come up in two parts of your question: The lab manager (quite unfriendly) told me that given that I have my own funding I will be only considered a "visiting postdoc" and would not receive benefits. When I asked about more details, she told me to "google". and: I asked them ...


9

Most universities want some independent advice about candidates. This should come from people who know the candidate and can attest to their suitability and likely successful outcome. It is hard to gauge that with material provided only by the candidate, even in an interview. And there is more to graduate school (or a job, for that matter) than raw ...


9

A "winning answer" is much less important than having a proper and effective teaching strategy. I give the same opportunities to every student, but I don't assume they are all alike or have the same needs. Every student is different and most of them are different from me. I won't assume that they learn just the same way that I learn. I will respect their ...


9

I think you lay it out just fine in your pro/con arguments. At the end, it is also a cultural thing: In pure math, for example, chalk talks are acceptable and not entirely uncommon. On the other hand, in applied math they are very uncommon and it would be rather surprising to see someone give a chalk talk -- to the point where people would wonder whether ...


9

Disclosure: I am myself a person who stutters the severity of which depends on the position of stars in the sky. First, I want to point out, that stuttering is OK. In the same way, as not stuttering is OK. Discrimination based on stuttering should not happen, and all the common misconceptions regarding people who stutter (not confident, less knowledgable, ...


8

Both my wife and I (in different very fields) have both bumbled around doing our best to achieve this, as well as been guilty in posing the question during recruiting. The question operates on 2 levels. First, how do you actually do it. This involves multiple elements: Tailoring your research area(s)/question(s) to have national/international interest. ...


8

It is worth asking and is probably worth a visit even if they would rather stick to a Skype interview. They may prefer that so as to treat all candidates equally, but if that isn't necessary, they might prefer you to come in person. It is a good way to get a feel of a place and to meet a few students and several faculty. I don't see any downside in asking. ...


8

I thought I might give an alternate opinion here: is declining the interview in your best interests? I am not an academic but I have recently been in the position of having multiple interviews / opportunities where I preferred some over others. What I didn't do was decline to speak with someone, knowing that the interview itself might actually convince me to ...


7

I really don't think the interviewer cares one way or another whether you've seen the problem before. She just wants to know if you can solve it, and to hear how you go about it. In the video, she does say "the function that I'm going to write down, you've probably not seen before"; but I interpret that as just a way to reassure the student that the ...


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