Interviews, Part Three: Presentations and Q&A Sessions

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This is the only photograph of me giving a presentation that I have. Unfortunately, it is at my wedding. You’ll have to imagine that I am wearing more professional attire and looking less tipsy. Credit: Ben Robins Photography.

Much of what I outlined in my post on Junior Research Fellowship interviews holds true for the other interviews I have had this year as well. Interviewers don’t always ask good questions; you need to work out what you want to convey in the interview beforehand, and try your best to get that information across; often the result of the interview has very little to do with your performance. However, giving presentations is one aspect of the interview experience that I didn’t touch on in as much depth, and so I’ll talk a bit about this in this wrap-up post.

Presentations

I suggested that for JRF interviews, the quality of your presentation is not make or break. This is less likely to be true for interviews for teaching posts, for obvious reasons. However, this is one instance when my personal experience actually comes into conflict with what I believe to be good and sensible advice. For virtually all the interviews where I gave a presentation (excluding one interview for an Oxford college-based teaching post, where I’m happy to admit that I under-prepared and messed up!) the feedback on the presentation itself was extremely positive. Nevertheless, I was only given one of these jobs. Therefore, I have some grounds for believing that, while you can shoot yourself in the foot by presenting very badly or not thinking through your research properly, the presentation itself is likely to be less important than the Q&A session that may follow it, or indeed the interview. If you can meet the minimum requirements, it will probably be in one of these two areas that you distinguish yourself from the other candidates. As with all my advice, however, this is based on personal experience only.

So, how to prepare a good presentation?

The presentations I have been asked to give range from a five-minute presentation on my research to the interview panel alone to a twenty-minute presentation to the department and its postgraduate students. I have also been asked to give presentations on an aspect of one of the modules I would be expected to teach if offered the job, which are more like mini-lectures. Developing a presentation style that works for you is a very personal job; I can only tell you what’s worked for me.

  • 1. Minimal notes. When I first started speaking in public as an academic – by giving conference papers – I used to read from a script. While I have seen some historians pull this off beautifully, it wrecked my presentations. Once I started speaking from a set of bullet-points instead, often referring very little to my script at all, everything became much easier. Problems that had seemed insurmountable, like speaking too fast, were not instantly solved but became much less difficult to handle. In general, I think that this style of speaking is much more engaging once you have the confidence to handle it, although there are always exceptions to the rule.
  • 2. A certain amount of practice, and no more. In my first few interviews, during last academic year, I practiced my presentations intensely. Unfortunately, even though I was speaking from bullet-points, this re-introduced some of the problems I’d had when I was using a script, as I inadvertently memorised most of my presentation. One interviewer even criticised me in the feedback after the interview for using a script, when I’d only had very scrappy notes! Due to this problem, I don’t do too many run-throughs of my presentation once I have what I have to say sorted out. This is TERRIFYING – but has led to much better results. (It also works for lectures.)
  • 3. Telling a story. Having had some experience with traditional storytelling, I was amazed by how much better people focus when you tell them something in story-form rather than as a more theoretical discourse. While I’m not advocating beginning your presentations with ‘Once upon a time’, I’ve found that thinking about the different narratives that historians tell about a period can work very well for teaching presentations. Tell a story, then challenge it; why has newer work found this explanation insufficient? Similarly, in my research presentations, there was a certain moment when I used this technique and could feel the audience’s attentiveness suddenly increase. Not enough space here to fully explain what I mean – but go see some traditional storytelling and/or spoken word performances for inspiration!
  • 4. Remember that it’s a performance. Following on from the previous point, the way you use your voice (as demonstrated fantastically by Catherine Hall in her keynote at the Rethinking Modern British Studies conference at Birmingham) is crucial in making your presentation come alive. I would think especially carefully about this if you’ve been asked to give a presentation ‘as if to a group of 1st/2nd/3rd year undergraduates’, but it certainly isn’t unimportant when presenting on your research to colleagues as well. Similarly, gesture should be used thoughtfully, not distractingly (though it is impossible to eliminate all your bad habits!)
  • 5. Think carefully about using a Powerpoint. I tend to ditch the Powerpoint entirely for presentations that are ten minutes or less, and use a small number of slides for longer presentations, with the minimal amount of text. This is a matter of opinion, but I find that Powerpoint can be distracting for both the audience and the speaker, especially if it is overused. If you are presenting in a context where you feel that Powerpoint will be expected, however, ignore this advice.

Q&A Sessions

These are very difficult to prepare for. Some miscellaneous thoughts are as follows:

  • If you don’t want to be asked about a particular aspect of your research, don’t include it in your presentation, especially if it is particularly controversial and bound to attract questions.
  • The same rules apply as for interview questions, but more so; don’t assume too much knowledge on the part of the questioner, even if the question is asked very aggressively, which sometimes does happen.
  • Don’t be wrong-footed if there is no Q&A session (less likely if you have given your presentation to the department, but I’ve been surprised by interview panels who haven’t addressed any questions specifically to the content of my presentation). If this happens, and there are parts of the presentation that you did want to address in greater depth, add them to your interview objectives and try to work them into other answers (I know this is easier said than done…)
  • Finally, I enjoyed Alice Violett’s account of what it’s like to be in the audience for a recruitment presentation. I would certainly try to hear from as many colleagues as possible before I next have to do a presentation like this, to gather tips and advice. It’s also interesting to hear how divided opinion often was.

This concludes my series of posts on academic interviews. The best of luck to anybody who is currently on the job market – it’s hell, but you are not alone.

See also: The academic job marketInterviews, Part One (JRFs); Interviews, Part Two (Getting Interviews).

Interviews, Part Two: Getting Interviews

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Celebrating when I finally got a new job in July 2015.

Having talked about the peculiar process of getting a JRF, I’ve decided to devote this post to the topic of getting an academic interview in the first place, before my third and final post on how to prepare for the interview itself. While my record at academic interviews has been pretty dismal, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve done better at getting longlisted and shortlisted for things. The stats for the two years I’ve been on the academic job market are:

2013-14: I made 19 applications and was invited for 4 interviews, one of which was successful. So 21% of my applications were shortlisted, or roughly 1 in 5.

I was also longlisted for 2 positions. Including this data, 31% of my applications were longlisted or shortlisted, or roughly 1 in 3.

2014-15: I made 31 applications and was invited for 14 interviews, one of which was successful (and one of which I didn’t attend). So 45% of my applications were shortlisted.

I was also longlisted for 1 position. Including this data, 48% of my applications were longlisted or shortlisted, or roughly 1 in 2.

I applied for the full range of academic positions, from permanent lectureships to fixed-term nine-month teaching contracts to junior research fellowships to grant-awarding organisations such as Leverhulme and Wellcome. Broadly speaking, the only type of academic post at this level that I have no experience applying for are postdoctoral positions on an existing research project. It was also notable that the seniority of the position did not seem to affect my chances (I was shortlisted for some permanent jobs and rejected outright for some short-term teaching posts!)

So there are two key questions that come to mind: why were my applications doing so well overall, and why did they do substantially better in 2014-15?

It’s obviously difficult for me to say why selection committees tended to like my applications; I can only speculate. However, I have tried to organise my thoughts into two sets of criteria; factors that you cannot control, and factors which you can. I think it is important to highlight the first set of factors, as it would be really disingenuous to suggest this was all due to me personally. However, I don’t intend this to be too disheartening, as there are factors within your control as well.

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Getting my AS Level results in 2004 (far right), on the start of the road to Cambridge. Credit: Bath Chronicle.

Luck and Privilege

  • The job market. None of us can control if suitable positions come up in our field, and some of us are fortunate to work in fields that hire much more often than others. As a modern British historian, I believe I have been lucky* with both my choice of research specialisation and with the jobs that have come up in recent years. *(I don’t consider this to be a matter of choosing the ‘right’ field to specialise in, as I don’t believe this is a choice that should be made with an eye on the job market – especially given how quickly things can change).
  • Oxbridge, Oxbridge. I have been fortunate enough to have been educated entirely at Cambridge, and my first job (building on this privilege) was at Oxford. There is some anti-Oxbridge bias out there, but this in general is an enormous advantage, especially given the number of jobs that come up at Oxbridge and want Oxbridge teaching experience.
  • Other Privileges. I am a state-educated woman, but other than that, I am about as privileged as you can get, so all that was working in my favour.
  • General Luck. I cannot emphasise the importance of this enough. Unfortunately, this is a big factor for all of us.

What can you do?

There is lots of great advice out there about making academic applications, and I’m not going to reiterate most of it here. The resources that I used most when putting together my applications were The Professor is In (on grant proposals, but this US-focused site is generally very helpful) Steve Joy (on cover letters, but check out all his Guardian columns) and Cambridge Careers Service (sorry, Cambridge students and alumni only). Anne Hanley has also recently written a useful guide to different types of application and what is required.

What I do want to add is:

  1. The CV. Apologies for spelling out the obvious to most of you, but especially if you are a new PhD student planning a career in academia, it is important to keep in mind that there are four areas that most job applications will ask you to demonstrate competence in. These are (a) research, including publications (b) teaching (c) public engagement and dissemination of findings and (d) administrative experience. The relative importance of these criteria will differ depending on the application you are making, but when building your CV, none of them should be completely written off. As a PhD student, this often means being very savvy with time management to fit all of this around timely completion of the thesis. In general, my advice is: it’s better to take longer to finish your PhD and come out with a strong CV, than to finish it in the minimum time and not have these skills. This is the time to take advantage of opportunities you may not have as an early career researcher. Given the pressure often exerted upon PhD students by institutions and supervisors to finish swiftly, this is not an easy thing to do; but it is important in the long term.
  2. The cover letter. It is worth spending a substantial amount of time writing a template cover letter. This will be the basis for the vast majority of your applications, although it will of course need to be altered to respond to the specific requirements of the posts you are applying for. In general, my rule for cover letters is that they should be treated, in some ways, like other pieces of persuasive writing; in other words, don’t simply make statements (‘I am an experienced and innovative teacher’) but give evidence (‘For example, I designed a recent seminar on X topic to appeal to students by using Y method.’) Don’t forget the STAR approach – this is often advised for use in interviews, but works in this context as well – and make sure to emphasise the result of the actions that you took, if possible (I was rated on average 4.5/5 by students who took this seminar and comments included ‘I felt much more engaged with the topic than in previous seminars’)* [*sycophantic examples here are completely invented…]
  3. Thinking like a committee member. What are the most important qualities that the successful candidate will require? What could the department do with more of? What concerns will they have about you as a candidate for this position? How far can you address these things in the written application, before you even make it to interview? While you obviously won’t be answering these questions directly, these are the sort of considerations that you should keep in mind when tailoring your CV, cover letter, and other application materials. The answers won’t necessarily be obvious, and job specifications, although they should be read closely, can be misleading. I would recommend thoroughly checking out the department website and its latest REF report.
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Graduating from my PhD in February 2015.

Having made these general points, I’ll move on to my second question; why, specifically, did my applications do so much better in 2014-15 than 2013-14?

  • The job market and luck – again. As a modern British historian, I was amazed by the number of modern British history posts that were advertised during this academic year, especially at Oxford. This is not a normal state of affairs and, as I was also based at Oxford, I was very well-placed to apply for these positions, which certainly contributed to much of my success in getting shortlisted.
  • I had my PhD. My successful viva was held in October 2014, so I applied to virtually all of these jobs with a PhD. This was probably the single biggest difference from my 2013-14 applications.
  • I was able to use my external examiner as a reference. While I was lucky enough to have two great referees to call upon before my viva, I do think it helps a lot when you can use your external examiner. This also meant that I could supply three strong references for the jobs that required three, whereas in 2013-14, I had to scrabble around a bit to find a third.
  • I had a second publication. I actually wouldn’t put as much weight on this as one might assume, as I have seen applicants with fewer publications being appointed above applicants with more, and I think that the real difference at this level is between being published and not being published, rather than the number of publications you have. But it certainly didn’t hurt to have two journal articles, rather than one, especially as the second was based on a chapter of my thesis.
  • I had had an actual job before. While I had a fair amount of teaching experience in 2013-14, I had never been employed in an actual academic job. This is another one that I suspect made a big difference.

These were really the only substantial differences between my applications in 2013-14 and 2014-15, other than the fact that I was submitting a revised version of my research proposal. However, the majority of posts I applied for did not require a full research proposal, so I’m unsure how significant this was.

I hope that some of this has been helpful to PhDs and ECRs looking for an academic job now, or thinking about how to prepare themselves for the job market in years to come. In my final post, up next Monday, August 17th, I will talk about the interviews themselves.

See also: The academic job marketInterviews, Part One (JRFs) and Interviews, Part Three (General Academic Interviews) [upcoming].

Interviews, Part One: Junior Research Fellowships (JRFs)

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View of Gonville & Caius College, King’s College and Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

This is Part One of a three-part series I am writing based on my own experience of academic interviews, as a follow-up to this post. I am a modern British historian, but I will aim to make these posts relevant to academics from humanities and social science disciplines more generally.

Junior Research Fellowships – which are usually three-year full-time research posts at one of the Oxford or Cambridge colleges – are rightly perceived as largely an insiders’ market for Oxford and Cambridge graduate students, although I do know some JRFs who have never attended Oxford or Cambridge. Hence, I apologise for the inevitably limited audience for this post – next Monday’s post will cover academic interviews more generally, and will hopefully be more useful. However, I thought it was worth writing a specific post for JRFs because JRF interviews are so different from other academic interviews, and because there is very little advice currently available online about them, except on the password-protected Cambridge Careers Service site. If you’re a Cambridge student or graduate, definitely check out the JRF articles and podcasts, they are extremely useful – but if you’re not, this sort of thing only reinforces the Oxbridge bias for this type of position.

All JRFs have their own slightly different application procedures, but you will usually need to submit a research proposal ranging in length from 500 to 2000 words, or 1 to 3 pages, depending on the requirements of the post. I won’t be writing about this aspect of the application process in detail, as I’ve seen few research proposals specifically aimed at JRFs and I’m not sure I have any especially helpful advice to give. Broadly speaking, you should make sure your proposal is accessible to an academic in any discipline, as JRFs are often open to a range of disciplines (although they are usually split into arts/humanities/social sciences versus the sciences). This is generally good advice anyway, in my experience; when I applied for history-specific JRFs, I kept the same proposal, as the historians reading your proposal are unlikely to be specialists in your field and may still struggle to engage with your research if you assume too much knowledge.

Having applied for a JRF, there may be a longlist and shortlist stage, or just a shortlist stage, depending on the college. At the longlist stage, you are asked to submit a 10,000 word sample of written work; this can be an article or a chapter of the thesis, but if you have a published article or an article that has been accepted for publication, it is generally good practice to submit that. If the competition goes straight to shortlist stage, you will usually be asked to submit a work sample at that point anyway.

So, what happens if you are fortunate enough to be invited for a JRF interview?

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The Jerwood Library, Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

To be open about my own experience of JRF interviews: I have had four such interviews, none of which were successful. I had two interviews last academic year (2013-14) and two this academic year (2014-15). Three of my interviews were at Oxford colleges, one at a Cambridge college. In addition, I have been longlisted for two JRFs at Oxford in the last two years, but then rejected at that stage. Although I’ve never held a JRF, I received very positive feedback from all my interviews except the first (which was my very first academic job interview ever, so I was terrified and performed very badly!) So hopefully I haven’t been approaching them totally the wrong way, but I would still like to emphasise that this advice is drawn entirely from my own experience, and may not reflect the experiences of other JRF interviewees. A particular problem with JRF interviews is that they will vary wildly depending on the college concerned and the personalities on the interview panel, so there will never be a ‘one size fits all’ guide to these interviews. Having said that…

1. This is not the viva

This is probably the most important thing to keep in mind when preparing for your JRF interview, especially if your viva is a terrifying prospect in your future (or a bad experience in your past!). Your interviewers will not be experts in your field; you are the expert in the room. The interview is about explaining why your research is important, not accounting for its existence and expecting to be challenged on small details. Indeed, if you assume that the interviewers know more than they do, you will simply end up confusing them. Which brings me on to…

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King’s College, viewed from King’s Parade, Cambridge.

2. You’re the teacher

JRF interviewers, unsurprisingly, often struggle to find questions to ask on research interests that they may know absolutely nothing about. This means they often ask very generalised or inappropriate questions, or cram several questions into one. These type of questions can be daunting, and I’ve found that the best way to deal with them is to answer as you would if an undergraduate had asked you that question. Don’t be patronising, but explain your arguments clearly, and don’t be afraid to situate what you are saying in the secondary literature (before I had my first JRF interview, I wrongly assumed that you were only allowed to draw upon your own work in answering questions). If you are finding it difficult to structure your answer, or if the question is so bad that the only appropriate answer is ‘Yes, obviously’, or ‘No, you have completely missed the point’, identify the topic of the question and move out from there, rather than giving a very short answer or a long, rambling one. It helps if you’ve decided…

3. What do you want them to know?

What are the key concerns that colleagues have had about your research when they first encounter it? What questions are you usually asked, and can you pre-empt them? What are the big, important things that your research brings to the field? Remember to think about both how your research contributes to historical (or philosophical, sociological, etc.) knowledge, and if you have made any methodological innovations, or at least consider how the methodologies you are using contribute to your findings. For this, it’s helpful if you’ve already had some previous interviews, as you will get the sense of the sort of things you are asked. If this is one of your first few interviews, try practice interviews with friends, colleagues and/or your supervisor to prepare. Once you have identified the big things you want to get across in your interview, try to be as mindful as possible in the interview itself (not easy in such a stressful situation!) to convey this information. Dreadful questions can actually be one route into doing this, if they pick up on an important topic of your research.

4. What will they want to know about?

In my experience – and this will vary – my JRF interviews have always been about the work that I have already done, not the work I propose to do in the future. This seems counter-intuitive when you have often been selected for interview on the basis of your proposed research, but remember that if you get to this stage, they have already decided that your research proposal is interesting and ambitious. They now want to know if it’s feasible; how do you respond to challenges to your research, and can you situate your work confidently within the broader field? The best way to test this is to ask you about your current research, especially the written work sample that you have submitted. Study this extremely carefully, as the bulk of the questions will often centre around this sample. But don’t forget the broader messages you want to convey, even when you’re tackling a detailed question about the choice of sources in a particular article or your engagement with a particular authority.

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Fellows’ Gardens, Clare College, Cambridge.

5. And finally…

Some assorted observations. I’ve been interviewed for JRFs that have a teaching component. Unless you cannot answer questions about teaching at all or have no teaching experience, this won’t be a decisive aspect of the interview, so don’t worry too much about it. You may also be asked to give a short presentation at your interview; this is a brilliant opportunity to make the big points you want to make about your research, so don’t panic and remember that perfect presentation skills are not crucial for posts like this. You may be told to research all the academics who will make up your interview panel; do this, but don’t be surprised if your findings are no help at all in the interview itself. Most importantly, however…

JRFs are not gold stars. They don’t identify the top academics of their generation. If you don’t get a JRF – if you never even get longlisted for one – it is probably no reflection on you. The mythmaking that surrounds JRF positions is unhelpful to everyone, including JRFs themselves, whom I know can feel under intense pressure to justify their appointment and produce untold amounts of work during their stint. There are lots of academic posts that are just as good and just as useful in building an academic career as JRFs are. If you do get one of these fabled positions, that’s great, but if you don’t – as I haven’t – there’s no need to feel second-rate. Ultimately, a JRF is not a permanent position, and everyone will eventually be competing in the same job market again.

See also: Interviews, Part Two and Interviews, Part Three (upcoming).

Somewhere over the rainbow: the academic job market

I originally wrote this post on 16th July. Shortly afterwards, I had some better news… but I’m publishing the post as it stands. Really, I ought to have posted this at the time I wrote it, but I wasn’t brave enough!

Yesterday, I turned down the offer of an interview for a three-year lectureship at a well-known, well-respected university. It would have been my fourteenth job interview this year.

Sadly, I didn’t turn down this interview because I have the offer of a job for next year already in hand. I don’t. I turned it down, first and foremost, because the modules the university wanted me to teach were not a great fit with my research, and having had the time to reflect since applying for the post, it seemed to me that it was not worth the time, effort, stress and sacrifice it would take to adequately prepare for the interview for a job that would almost certainly go to somebody else. So I took myself out of the running.

I know that, given the job market, many early career researchers struggle to get interviews at all, and I know that I have been fortunate in having so many opportunities to showcase my research and teaching, despite the eleven rejections I’ve had so far. I have already been able to make use of informal connections I made at some of those interviews, and some of the questions I’ve been asked about my research and future career plans have been incredibly helpful and illuminating. It’s also been invaluable to have so much interview practice, and I know that my performance in interviews has improved as a result. Furthermore, (given aforementioned job market) I know that some of you may be asking; why on earth would you turn down an interview, when you still don’t have a job?

I’m going to illustrate my answer by means of a classy analogy.

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(You might want to quickly catch up on this 2010 cultural phenomenon here if you have no idea what I’m talking about.)

On this brilliantly bizarre TV talent show, two of the group of girls competing to be Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz came bottom in the public vote every week, and then had to participate in a ‘sing-off’ where one of them would be ‘saved by the Lord’ (Andrew Lloyd Webber, complete with huge golden throne) and the other would be eliminated from the show. The candidate who had been ‘rejected’ by the public but was nevertheless still in the running had to pull themselves back together to perform next week, only to inevitably end up back in the bottom two again because it turns out the public’s tastes are pretty consistent.

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“My research proposal is revolutionary!”

Pulling yourself together to sell what you do best again after continuous rejection is not a nice experience, whether you want to be Dorothy or the next rising star of academia. Like some of the losing Dorothys, I tended to get very positive feedback on my ‘performances’, which made the rejections even more frustrating. Also, when rejected after an academic interview, I have to break it to you; you don’t even get to ride off on a giant silver moon while the more successful candidates wave goodbye to you. Total lack of recognition.

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“Sorry you didn’t get that JRF!”

However, although rejection is really unpleasant, it actually wasn’t the constant rejection that led to me turning down my fourteenth job interview. If rejection was the only problem, I’d have got to this point much earlier last academic year, when I applied for far more jobs that I didn’t even get shortlisted for, although I did get a one-year lectureship in the end (hooray!) It’s too easy to tell yourself that if you were psychologically more resilient, tougher, like your presumably superhuman competitors, you’d be able to keep on going. For me, it wasn’t so much the succession of failures; it was the time.

I had a couple of interviews early this year, but the pace really picked up in April. For five weeks, I had an interview every week. (This was when the Andrew Lloyd Webber talent show comparison occurred to me)

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Putting on the interview outfit YET AGAIN.

Since then, I don’t think I’ve gone for a fortnight without having at least one interview. (This last fortnight is no exception; I’ve had three).

At first it feels fab to be in demand. But then you realise what you cannot do. Since April, I haven’t been able to work on anything non interview-related for more than a couple of days at a time, leading to some pretty patchy progress with my research. In practical terms, what this means is that I’ve

– cancelled most weekends, outings and trips with friends, because I need to do interview prep and cannot face any more travel after travelling to so many interviews

– designed at least half a dozen courses, tailor-made to the requirements of particular universities, that have swallowed my life for a week and then immediately gone in the bin

– done endless and frantic extra reading to be able to present on topics not central to my research, from the Liberal Party to the Habsburg Empire, then similarly binned the results

– not been able to leave the UK, because of the fear that I won’t be able to return at short notice and won’t have internet access. (When I had the audacity to go on the only holiday I’ve had this academic year, a two-day mini-break to York, and not check my emails, a university managed to email me to ask for a last-minute presentation for a last-minute interview, and I barely had time to get it done).

– stopped, for long periods of time, doing exercise; reading novels; even leaving the house, because none of these things can be indulged in when you have to cram more information (and this is even with the recognition that you interview better when you take breaks to relax during your prep, but that’s a luxury when time is short)

I’m writing this not to ask for pity, but to emphasise the toll that interviews can take on candidates even when you put the pain of rejection aside. In a nutshell, this is why I cancelled my fourteenth interview; not because I was afraid of being turned down, but because I was afraid of wasting another week.

However, turning down this interview doesn’t mean that I am quitting. I’m still waiting for the results of the two interviews I had this week, and several posts have come up that are a much better fit for me which I will apply for. Most importantly, I am going to write a follow-up to this rather ranty post which will be much more rational and explicit about what I’ve learnt. (Hopefully this will be of some help to fellow interviewees!) I haven’t quite lost hope that one day, I might once again be the girl on the right rather than the girl on the left.

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“I got the job!”

A few days after I wrote this post, I heard the results of the two interviews I had pending. The first, for a Medical Humanities Fellowship funded by the Wellcome Trust, was a rejection, but an oddly positive one; I was asked to resubmit a new proposal for the next round, as they liked me and my area of research, but not the specific proposal I’d pitched. The second was the long-awaited acceptance. I’ve been offered a permanent stipendiary lectureship at Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford from October 2015. You can imagine my relief… although I’m still waiting for the rainbow hot air balloon to descend and whisk me up to the land of employment. Disappointing.

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This is the way to celebrate.

You can find more interview advice on JRFs and other academic posts here.