Academia is a world all its own. Searching for the right person to fill a faculty position can be an exhausting process. Each position brings with it a unique set of qualifiers depending on the subject matter in question.
Many institutions have standardized processes in place regarding the interview process. It makes the process uniform in nature but often discourages the opportunity to really ‘get to know the applicant’. Most standardized interview questions are the same or close to it regardless the institution seeking the candidate. The relationship often begins via internet submission of a resume. There may or may not be a conversation prior to the actual interview wherein the question and answer process is completed.
Because the questions are similar in nature the candidate has the opportunity to ‘plan’ their answers. Rarely are the questions such that the candidate has to think on their feet. The lack of spontaneity in answering the questions has the probability of altering the true perception of the candidate in question.
Academic positions require subject matter expertise. That aspect of a candidate’s qualifications and capability of fulfilling the job requirements is simple to validate. The difficult aspect is to ascertain the candidate’s ability to ‘fit’ the position. Canned questions lead to canned responses which often impede the interviewer’s perception of the candidate. People have become quite adept at selling themselves. But, the question is…………….can they deliver? This leads to a wait and see scenario.
Filling higher education positions requires more discernment than that of other types of positions as the requirements are detailed in nature. Humanizing the interview process, rather than computerizing it, can lead to a better win-win scenario.
Nita Young is a RN Educator specializing in rural health.
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