APA’s Best Practices for Interviewing
Interview season is creeping up on us. Interviewers and interviewees may wish to check out the new edition of the American Philosophical Association’s Best Practices for Interviewing. It includes an overview of the typical stages of the interviewing process, along with advice for those hiring.
Members of the hiring committee should confine themselves to asking only questions that are pertinent to the candidate’s qualifications for the job. Indeed, it may be a good idea for the hiring committee to specifically discuss what sorts of questions they will ask ahead of time. Candidates should be asked the same kinds of questions in the same order. The basic idea is that that structured interviews are crucial for avoiding unintended bias. Interviewers should make certain that they are not giving some candidates opportunities denied others—for example, giving some candidates a chance to talk about their research while denying that chance to others. Structured interviews do not require that all the questions be identical, since in the normal interview there will certainly be questions that need to be tailored to the specifics of a candidate’s research interests, past teaching experience, and so forth. Structuring the interview to the extent that is reasonable has the advantage of making the interview experience for the candidates as fair and consistent as possible, and also helps preclude the possibility that inappropriate questions will be asked. Members of the hiring committee must not ask illegal question and should familiarize themselves with what is legal/illegal to ask a candidate. Hiring committees should be familiar with institutional guidelines as well.
More here. Discussion welcome.
I laugh aloud to see that the preview of this story on the front page ends at, “Members of the hiring committee should confine themselves…” Hoot!Report
I appreciate the APA’s attention to morally relevant details like access for people with certain disabilities, the often creepy treatment of female candidates, and the financial costs to graduate students (and other underemployed philosophers) of attending the Eastern APA for interviews. I wish they would have taken a stronger stand and urged that we begin phasing out in-person interviews at the Eastern APA altogether. They mention two rationalizations that hiring committees point to for favoring in-person over Skype or phone interviews: first, that they can better ascertain the teaching style and ability of a candidate in a face-to-face interview, and second, that they can better ‘sell’ the department to prospective colleagues. It seems to me that the ‘benefits’ described above are at best, minimal. I see no reason why a face-to-face interview would accomplish these goals that much better than a Skype interview. Even if in-person interviews were significantly better at achieving these two goals (which again, seems dubious), since neither of those goals represent a significant benefit for the candidate, it is unconscionable to pass the costs of those benefits onto the interviewee. For a graduate student earning (often less than) $20K a year, spending about $1K to attend the Eastern APA for interview(s) represents a significant cost–one that buys them no advantage over having the interview over Skype. The moral reasons for abolishing in-person APA interviews are weighty, and the reasons in favor of keeping them are trivial; I see no other conclusion than that APA interviews must be abolished.Report
Is there a similar guide for on-campus interviews?Report
The guide includes information about the entire interview process, including campus visits.Report