…but it helps. Everyone has one colleague with that pinned above their desk. Sometimes with pictures of kittens. Lucile doesn’t want to be that interview candidate, so she asks:
How can I prepare for an academic interview?
Tips on how to appear to be a sane, motivated, enthusiastic, friendly, people-loving, positive, high-achieving, committed scientist? You’ve come to the wrong person. However, since The Sassy Scientist would definitely not hire The Sassy Scientist, I can give you a comprehensive guide on how not to prepare for an interview.
Firstly, sleep in your interview outfit. Nothing says committed to science like an all-night coding session. To complete the look, drink so much coffee you can’t sit still and the interviewer can smell your breath from corridor.
Secondly, be sure to fully investigate all the research being conducted in the department. You need to know that you could single-handedly do everyone else’s projects better than they can. Bonus points if you can find errors in the methods of their latest paper. If you’re applying for a staff position, highlight how you can save the PhD students and boost their futures careers by teaching them your excellent methods.
Thirdly, produce a thorough research proposal for the direction you want the project or position to take. Ideally, if applying for a postdoc, this should be about 90% different to the funding proposal, with just enough remaining to make the PI feel better about themselves when confronted by your clear brilliance.
And finally, don’t forget to brush up on the national and regional stereotypes for the city. Impress the interviewers with how committed you are to relocating by having some insults about the local cuisine oven-ready!
The Sassy Scientist
PS: This post was written while the office was nice and quiet because everyone else went to an interview seminar. Strangely, I never get invited to sit on hiring committees.