What makes for an effective job interview at the AAAs? This is a difficult question that many people need advice on, particularly at this time of year. Luckily, I have mastered the art of the job interview, and offer these tips for beginners:
- Remember, job interviews are serious and formal occasions. Do not use slang or informal language. Do use proper english — for instance, avoid using words like ‘I’ or ‘me.’ Ettiquette at the AAAs demands the more formal ‘one’ or ‘we.’ Thus: “One is prepared to teach at your university” or “we have a copy of our CV should you require it.”
The most important part of a formal presentation is formal attire. A dark suit is increasingly becoming acceptable, but you can never go wrong with a tuxedo. If the interview occurs after dinner, white tie is appropriate. When the AAAs are held in warm climates, a white tuxedo may be worn before dinner, but never after.
Most full professors — i.e. those who will be interviewing you — take their status as senior professors very seriously. Be sure never to look them in the eye while they are speaking to you — they consider this a sign of disrespct. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, I suggest bringing something small to hold in your hand that you can use to focus your attention. This trick worked very well for Chris Kelty when he had his interview for Rice: he brought a small plastic lighter and stared fixidly into the flame as he turned it on and off. If you still feel nervous when trying this trick, try murmuring the words ‘fire’ over and over again during the difficult parts of the interview until you feel calm.
Remember, faculty are only interested in hires who are on the cutting edge of anthropological theory. Make sure every single answer you give begins with the words “science and technology studies.” For instance, if someone asks “What sort of teaching techniques do you find most useful?” The proper answer would be: “Science and technology studies. I like to use small-group work, science and technology studies.”
Hotel room interviews somehow manage to be both physically cramped and socially distanced. Try to establish a sense of rapport and collegiality with your interviewers by attempting to sit in their laps!
I hope this helps all potential job-seekers out there — good luck!