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Author Topic: MLA field, how many first and second-round interviews?  (Read 3670 times)
yellowtractor
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« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2012, 3:34:44 PM »

There really is no rhyme or reason to this.  During two of the three years I was on the market, an MLA friend of mine had 12 and 14 MLA interviews...and no job offer either time.  I never had more than 3 conference interviews at my own conference-of-record (and one or two phone interviews each round), but each round one of those worked out for a job.

Then there was my other MLA friend who once had 20 MLA conference interviews, 8 campus interviews, and was at 3 offers when she accepted one and stepped out of the fray.  She was (is) wonderful and deeply deserved the excellent job she got, but...I've never quite understood what made her so much more attractive to SC's than other friends who had the same set of qualifications. Then again, I never saw her application package.

Finally, keep in mind that a lot of MLA interview requests will come in mid-December.  It's hard for an SC to get its act together while school is in session.
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It is, of course, possible that what I remember as terror was only a love too great to bear.
seniorscholar
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« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2012, 8:36:37 PM »

Finally, keep in mind that a lot of MLA interview requests will come in mid-December.  It's hard for an SC to get its act together while school is in session.

I'm not on the search committee this year, but I can report that it will meet to select its MLA interview list, as always, during exam week, which this year starts Dec. 12. I don't know which day, and I do know that the committee usually makes a list one day and then meets again the next day to confirm its decision, and then the SC chair telephones candidates and asks them to phone the secretary (who is more likely to be sitting by the phone than faculty are, and to have a list in front of her) to set up the day and time of the interview. The place, of course, is not given out until you arrive at MLA and check in at the job center where, if your name is on the list for a particularl job, you will be given the room number.
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quasihumanist
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« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2012, 12:04:51 AM »

As a rough guideline, Zharkov's Law applies here too.

To get a job, you roughly need as many conference interviews as the average number of applicants a department interviews at the conference, and roughly as many campus interviews as the average number of campus interviews a department conducts.

So if in your field, departments regularly interview 20 at a conference and 3 on campus, then you need roughly 20 conference interviews and 3 on campus interviews to get a job.  If you are doing much worse than that, you might want to think about how you interview.

From the other end, if you divide the average number of applications for a position by the average number of interviews, then that should tell you how many applications you should expect to have to send out for an interview.  So if an average position gets 200 applications and interviews 20 at the conference, then you should expect a conference interview every 10 applications.  If you a re doing much worse than that, either something is wrong with your application materials, or you are simply not competitive.
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gcaye
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« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2012, 12:07:52 AM »

As a rough guideline, Zharkov's Law applies here too.

To get a job, you roughly need as many conference interviews as the average number of applicants a department interviews at the conference, and roughly as many campus interviews as the average number of campus interviews a department conducts.

So if in your field, departments regularly interview 20 at a conference and 3 on campus, then you need roughly 20 conference interviews and 3 on campus interviews to get a job.  If you are doing much worse than that, you might want to think about how you interview.

From the other end, if you divide the average number of applications for a position by the average number of interviews, then that should tell you how many applications you should expect to have to send out for an interview.  So if an average position gets 200 applications and interviews 20 at the conference, then you should expect a conference interview every 10 applications.  If you a re doing much worse than that, either something is wrong with your application materials, or you are simply not competitive.


Really??

So how many conference interviews do search committees go for in MLA fields?  20 seems like a lot no?
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pink_
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« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2012, 8:16:31 AM »


Really??

So how many conference interviews do search committees go for in MLA fields?  20 seems like a lot no?

Anywhere from 6 or 8 to 24 or 25.
The committee that hired me interviewed 20. From all accounts, it was grueling.
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janewales
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« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2012, 10:57:38 AM »

As a rough guideline, Zharkov's Law applies here too.

To get a job, you roughly need as many conference interviews as the average number of applicants a department interviews at the conference, and roughly as many campus interviews as the average number of campus interviews a department conducts.

So if in your field, departments regularly interview 20 at a conference and 3 on campus, then you need roughly 20 conference interviews and 3 on campus interviews to get a job.  If you are doing much worse than that, you might want to think about how you interview.

From the other end, if you divide the average number of applications for a position by the average number of interviews, then that should tell you how many applications you should expect to have to send out for an interview.  So if an average position gets 200 applications and interviews 20 at the conference, then you should expect a conference interview every 10 applications.  If you a re doing much worse than that, either something is wrong with your application materials, or you are simply not competitive.


Really??

So how many conference interviews do search committees go for in MLA fields?  20 seems like a lot no?

We've stopped going to the MLA, but we do about 10-12 phone interviews instead-- about 20-25 minutes each. Even in the MLA days, we seldom did more than a dozen interviews.
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seniorscholar
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« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2012, 12:05:12 PM »


So how many conference interviews do search committees go for in MLA fields?  20 seems like a lot no?

We always plan to do 10 and wind up doing 12 because we can't (as a committee) narrow the list to 10 -- everyone has their "must interview" favorites.

Three campus interviews is the max. And, since that question will come soon, we make the invitations as soon as we're back from the convention which, this year, may mean the probable campus interview list will be decided on Amtrak on the way home and phone calls to the candidates made very soon thereafter, now that we no longer have a Dean who goes skiing in early-mid January.
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ruralguy
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« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2012, 4:29:47 PM »

1. If you get zero phone interviews, you have gotten too few

2. If you can't fit current phone interview requests into your schedule, even at night or weekend, then, you probably have too many.

But, look, I think if you get a "handful" of phone or conference interviews, and a yield of zero for campus visits, you should maybe be a little concerned. It doesn't mean to freak out, but just try doing a dry run with a friend, or see if you can prepare yourself better, or adjust your answers.

However, I know a guy who a dozen of these last year. The first few yielded nothing, and then the last 4 or so all yielded campus visits,
with I think, multiple offers (he definitely got and accepted at least one!).  So, you might have to sit through a lot of these even to get a yield of one, as Zharkovs Law would estimate for many fields.

As for the opposite problem (akin to "oh no, too many supermodels want to bed me...what should I do!"), I wouldn't go complaining about it, but as in the absurd analogy, it does give you a chance to make a fine selection, hopefully.
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dr_freakout
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« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2012, 7:17:59 AM »

After all that clicking to refresh my inbox, only one new interview request has come in.

It's only December 4.  Calm blue ocean. 
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gcaye
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« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2012, 12:25:09 PM »

After all that clicking to refresh my inbox, only one new interview request has come in.

It's only December 4.  Calm blue ocean. 

If you already have had several MLA skype interviews and a conference interview scheduled please stop rubbing it in, you are on top, you will get many interviews.  The rest of us can't stand the silence (well, I'll speak for myself - I can't), and the chances are likely I won't even get one request for an interview.

The TT Asst. Prof. in English position advertised at the place I adjunct had over 450 applications.  If you hear back anything from anyone you are very lucky and very competitive, good luck to you.
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dr_freakout
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« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2012, 8:57:15 PM »

Dear Gcaye,  

I'm sorry -- didn't mean to rub it in.  I'm not on top, I'm just in a field that hasn't seen as much conversion of T/T jobs to adjunct positions over the past 10 years.  I guess my field is still in the 90s -- and if universities would hire full-time professors like they should instead of filling every position with adjuncts, every field would be like mine. If anything, I'm a medium candidate.

Plus (I mentioned this in another thread), I've been stumbling in my phone interviews because I get anxious on the phone, so I have moments of terror thinking there won't be any more opportunities.  I have no reason to believe that any of my interviews so far will lead to campus visits.  And I can't exactly drive my friends and colleagues crazy every minute with all my worries about the future.  That's why I've been posting on here.  

- DRF
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 8:59:51 PM by dr_freakout » Logged
highway61
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2012, 9:27:00 PM »

Wow, I find it amazing that ANY place has scheduled, not to mention already done, ANY interviews. It's way too early.

I remember trying to figure out statistics along the lines of watermarkup's in the 4 years or so I did the MLA full-on. My conclusion is opposite to the watermarkupian one: there is no correlation between how many applications you send out and how many interviews you'll get. There are just too many variables.

My first real year (around 1997-98), I applied for 15 TT jobs and got 5 MLA interviews, 1 campus visit, no offers. The next year there were 30 jobs in my field, and what with my extra year of a postdoctoral teaching fellowship and another good article under my belt, I assumed I'd get a dozen or so interviews. Got only 6, again 1 campus, no offers. The following year I got (only?) 4 interviews, but they were at the very top places: by this time, non-research places weren't interested. But no campus visits.

That was that--I moved across the world unemployed, got an admin job a year later, and adjusted my expectations. Fast forward a dozen years, I'm about to move to just about the most desirable location / university one could hope for in my field for a senior academic post. So, if somehow you're getting interviews the first week of December I think you'll be OK. And even if you're not, and even if you bomb out for 3 or 4 years, you might still be OK if the stars align.
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watermarkup
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« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2012, 11:55:48 PM »

For the two years for which you provide numbers, between 20% and 33% of your initial applications turned into interviews. That sounds a lot like what I experienced. Also, I make no claim that my experience is in any way predictive of what anyone else will encounter. I only claim that "about one in six" accurately describes my own interview history since earning my Ph.D. I would guess that most people in my own field or in other fields will have a higher response rate (for a variety of reasons relevant only to the poor health of my discipline), but I have only suspicions there, not data.

It's a good point, however, that not getting interviews is not the end of the road.
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highway61
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« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2012, 12:34:02 AM »

For the two years for which you provide numbers, between 20% and 33% of your initial applications turned into interviews. That sounds a lot like what I experienced. Also, I make no claim that my experience is in any way predictive of what anyone else will encounter. I only claim that "about one in six" accurately describes my own interview history since earning my Ph.D. I would guess that most people in my own field or in other fields will have a higher response rate (for a variety of reasons relevant only to the poor health of my discipline), but I have only suspicions there, not data.

It's a good point, however, that not getting interviews is not the end of the road.

True enough -- I suppose I was getting at how the psychology of this can play tricks on you, how I was certain I'd get 100% more interviews in '99 than I did, based on reasonable data sets as it were. But yes you are quite right. (And from what I've picked up about you, watermarkup, I think we're in closely related, if not identical, fields. Maybe we even know each other!)
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seniorscholar
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« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2012, 11:24:56 AM »

Wow, I find it amazing that ANY place has scheduled, not to mention already done, ANY interviews. It's way too early.

Two grad students I know about in recent years have been interviewed in early December and offered a job -- "take it or leave it within five days" -- by the 15th: the point, obviously, to grab someone satisfactory before MLA and (for the college) avoid the competition/bargaining/chance of losing the candidate they want. The two colleges involved were both ok but not terribly competitive; however, both were in attractive (for the candidates) locations.
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