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Author Topic: Mediocre Telephone Interview - How to respond to SCC  (Read 3167 times)
drsmarty
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« on: November 16, 2012, 6:51:24 PM »

Background:

I recently had a telephone interview for an administrative position with a small college. My initial reaction was that it was somewhat brutal. The committee was perfectly lovely and the questions were great, but my responses were somewhat inconsistent; I think I gave several excellent responses, a couple of mediocre responses, and a couple that were just awful (complex, multi-layered question and my answer was imprecise). Of course, it is difficult/impossible to gauge the response of the committee over the phone.

I received a thank you note from the chair. My inclination is to respond with thanks and mention that though some of my responses were imprecise (still working on a better description), I want to reiterate my qualifications and interest in the position (or something like that). 

My question: should I go with my gut or just respond with thanks?
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melba_frilkins
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2012, 7:44:46 PM »

Just respond with thanks.

Your performance may have been perceived as much better (or worse!) than you think. Judging that kind of thing is so subjective. I was reminded of this while recently on a search committee: it was shocking how differently we viewed the candidate's remarks.
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tuxedo_cat
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2012, 8:03:06 PM »

Just respond with thanks.

Your performance may have been perceived as much better (or worse!) than you think. Judging that kind of thing is so subjective. I was reminded of this while recently on a search committee: it was shocking how differently we viewed the candidate's remarks.


+1 on melba's advice.  I would say that all of us have quite a bit "Doh!" or forehead slapping after an interview, so what you're describing sounds entirely normal.  Sending the email you proposed, however. . . would probably not be seen as so normal.  And don't worry, I absolutely promise they will continue to assume that you are interested in the job until you email the SCC to say: "I am no longer interested in this job."

Good luck!
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prytania3
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2012, 4:23:41 PM »

Just send a thanks. Unfortunately, you don't get do overs for these things.
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yellowtractor
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2012, 4:25:34 PM »

If there's one--ONE--specific thing you want to extend or correct, I'd support doing that, but if there's more than one, or you want to reframe the entire conversation, resist the urge.  Just respond with thanks, as others have said.
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dr_freakout
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2012, 7:21:05 PM »

Self-assessment of your own interview performance is notoriously unreliable because the interviewee cannot see the criteria for scoring candidates and thus cannot determine what aspects of the performance are salient.  I teach a Basketweaving for Managers class where we spend some time reviewing the research on this, but I still wasted some time slapping my own forehead in agony after my first campus visit.  Slap once and move on.  
« Last Edit: November 17, 2012, 7:22:05 PM by dr_freakout » Logged
zuzu_
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2012, 8:04:35 PM »

ALL phone interview have a weird dynamic. You probably did a lot better than you think you did. Don't mention it.
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finallydone
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2012, 9:57:01 PM »

They may not have thought your interview was mediocre.  Saying so might give them start thinking that it was mediocre!  Don't mention it.
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drsmarty
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2012, 9:21:04 AM »

Thank you everyone for  your feedback ! I took a shot a responded the before I heard back from you. Turns out that I did just what you suggested! Now I wait to hear whether or not I will be invited to campus!
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edumacator
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2012, 1:48:34 PM »

Thank you everyone for  your feedback ! I took a shot a responded the before I heard back from you. Turns out that I did just what you suggested! Now I wait to hear whether or not I will be invited to campus!

I would've said what the other posters noted but, given the above, all I have left is: good luck!
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litdawg
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2012, 6:09:41 PM »

Imprecise responses to complex scenarios are sometimes called for since no good administrator would make a decision or firm course of action on the basis of a first report. The interview question will never be more than a first report. "I'd gather more information, talk to the parties involved, and consult with legal/contractual stakeholders" answers most scenarios, despite this response not doing much to set candidates apart. There's only so much that can be done in hypotheticals.

Resist the urge and just say thanks.
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drsmarty
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« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2012, 3:15:15 PM »

Thanks litdawg! Where were you the day before my interview (smile).  Seriously, that makes perfect sense and I will use that approach going forward.

Thanks also to the new good wishes!
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drsmarty
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2012, 8:27:37 AM »

What i described as my mediocre telephone interview resulted in an invitation to campus! Thanks all for your feedback and encouragement.
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pink_
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2012, 8:44:30 AM »

The thing is, while for you the performance might have been lacking, you have no idea, as others have noted, what the SC thought. You also have no idea how the other candidates did. Phone interviews are awkward by nature. Everyone flubs at least one question. Never let after-the-fact second-guessing interfere with the process. It's tempting, in no small part because academe is populated with perfectionists and over-achievers, but once it is over, you have to let it go.

Congrats on the campus visit!
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dr_prephd
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« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2012, 8:53:31 AM »

You also have no idea how the other candidates did.

This is the hardest part for me. When I did a phone interview for the job I currently have, I hung up feeling that some of my answers were quite mediocre. But they called back, I interviewed, and I got the job. Almost a year later, I heard about my "competition," and realized that I had probably knocked the phone interview out of the park compared to them. I think I was lucky, because I had just spent 6 months conducting phone interviews for a controversial research project, so I was generally feeling pretty strong on the phone, despite what I perceived as a few weak answers at the time.
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