Reminders for Search Committees

Most of the Placement Service Guidelines (18 of 20 paragraphs located on pages 4-5 of the Placement Insert in the April 2007 Newsletter) address the conduct of institutions in the hiring process. This document does not supersede those guidelines but offers some additional suggestions to improve the hiring process.

We urge individual interviewers to keep in mind that they represent not only themselves and their department and institution but also the entire profession of Classics. They offer models of professional and respectful conduct to the candidates, who are often in the very first stages of their professional careers. Remember that even those candidates who do not become their departmental colleagues will one day be professional colleagues.

We also remind interviewers that the Director of the Placement Service runs a one-person operation. Particularly in the month before the convention and during the convention, the Director expends extraordinary time and effort to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the Service. Interviewers should expend similar time and effort to meet the deadlines set by the Service and to observe the guidelines of the Service. In particular, interviewers should extend to the Director the courtesy and patience due to another member of the profession.

Preparing for the interview

  1. The search committee would do well to prepare a basic list of questions to be asked of all candidates for a position; asking at least some similar questions of all candidates makes for more efficient interviews and makes it easier for colleagues to compare the candidates.
  2. Institutions might consider distributing to candidates before the interview, if possible, a list of the department members who will be at the interview.
  3. Acknowledge promptly all applications received and say whether or not you will be interviewing the person at the meetings.

At the Interview

  1. Interviewers should introduce themselves to the candidate.
  2. The candidate should be placed in a comfortable, centrally located chair; avoid a shared couch (it's hard for a candidate to be comfortable on one if he/she has to share it with an interviewer).
  3. Allow the candidate a few minutes to ask questions at the end of the interview.
  4. Give the candidate an idea of the timetable for the search.
  5. This is the candidate's interview; try not to monopolize the time when she/he should be answering questions.
  6. Treat candidates with courtesy and respect, including those who seem, after the first few minutes of the interview, not to be appropriate for the position.
  7. Keep in mind that interviewers, candidates, and interview rooms are all very tightly scheduled. Interviewers should begin and end interviews on time. A suggestion: allow 25 minutes per interview, enabling the committee to pause for rest and reflection after each candidate and the candidate to be on time for his/her next interview.

After the Interview

  1. Inform candidates as soon as possible about the status of the search.
  2. If some candidates clearly are inappropriate for the position, tell them as soon as possible.

On-Campus Interview

Some of what follows will vary depending on the kind of institution and department, e.g., strictly undergraduate program, research I institution with full graduate program, etc.

  1. Before the candidate arrives on campus, ask whether he/she needs any specific accommodations during the on-campus visit.
  2. Establish a schedule that is reasonably paced, gives the candidate time to relax before any presentations, allows for informal time with department members, students, etc., and includes a tour of the facilities, library, etc. You may want to include a chance to meet informally with colleagues outside of the department with related interests (e.g., Woman's Studies, cultural studies, ancient history, art history, etc.).
  3. Distribute the schedule beforehand along with explicit indications of what the candidate will be expected to do while on campus (e.g., give a presentation, teach a class) and some description of the individuals outside the department (dean, provost, president) whom the candidate will meet.
  4. For a presentation, tell the candidate the appropriate level and expected audience (faculty, graduate students, undergraduate majors, etc.). For a class, include information about the class, number of students; send along a syllabus, class roll, etc.; if possible, put the candidate in touch with whoever is teaching the class that she/he is guest-teaching, so as to indicate what books are being used, what the students are used to doing, etc. (it is hard to go into someone else's class cold).

  5. Inform the candidate of the timetable for the search.
  6. If possible, begin with a meeting with the department chair to clarify the position, present the profile of the department, explain resources in support of teaching and scholarship, discuss promotion and tenure expectations, etc.
  7. Provide a chance to see the area, housing options, etc.
  8. Distribute such materials as area information (schools, regional opportunities, etc.), student newspaper, department newsletter, further information about the institution.

After the Interview

  1. If some candidates clearly are not appropriate for the position, inform them as soon as possible.
  2. Once the position has been filled, inform all remaining candidates of that in as timely a manner as possible.
  3. Remember to inform the Placement Service of the outcome of your search.

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