As we move ever closer to the AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference in late October, I offer the following pre-conference suggestions to candidates:
1. When contacted by a hiring chair, please return telephone calls or respond to email messages promptly. If you are not interested in scheduling an interview with a law school that expresses interest in you, please decline with a timely response. Silence may send the same message, but it's rude -- and the faculty chair that you offend this month may become your colleague, a member of your tenure review committee, or your next dean.
2. Confirm, IN WRITING, with the hiring chair the date and time slot of your interview. Neither side wants to discover a scheduling misunderstanding during the week of, or at, the conference.
3. Schedule as many interviews as your candidacy may yield, but keep in mind that the interview process is physically demanding (and the hotel layout defies brief description). If possible, work with hiring chairs to schedule your interviews with breaks between them.
4. If you accept an interview slot and later change your mind, please cancel the interview as soon as possible. Hiring chairs anticipate some schedule changes prior to the conference, but they prefer not to scramble at the last minute for the one candidate who is available for a particular 30-minute slot.
5. Use these weeks before the conference to invest significant time in preparing your "job talk." Some schools will invite candidates to campus within days after the conference concludes. You want to leave the conference on Saturday afternoon, ready to deliver your "job talk" as early as the next week.
6. Consider scheduling a mock interview before the conference (preferably with law professors).
7. Ask two or three people to proofread your c.v., research agenda, and any other materials that you will be providing to the hiring committees for typos, errors, and mistakes of any kind.
8. Appreciate that the hiring committee may search for information about you on the internet. Use discretion and common sense as you decide what to post online.
9. Begin compiling basic data on the law school and the faculty members who are part of the interviewing team. Knowing the former may save you from legendary embarrassment (e.g., asking my friend Jacqui Lipton about living in Cincinnati(?)). And knowing who your interviewers are may put you a bit more at ease in the room (and might even permit you to anticipate particular questions from specific individuals).
10. Review the literature and the blog posts on faculty hiring to learn what questions you should anticipate during the interviews. Give serious thought to what answers you will provide to those questions.
If you are a faculty candidate, I hope you find one or more of these tips helpful.
If you are a member of a hiring committee, I invite you to share additional pre-conference advice for the candidates. In a future posting, we can address "the interview" and "after the conference."