I recently attended a panel on interviewing at my school. I want to share my favorite piece of advice: the people who interview you for an academic job are looking for a good co-worker.
Some ways to foster the impression that you will be pleasant to work with:
- Show genuine interest in the interviewers when appropriate (during pre- or post-interview chit chat, not in the middle of the interview).
- Speak concisely about your project and avoid overly specific jargon. Being long-winded and unclear is unpopular in every profession–yes, even academia.
- If you get a strange question (from your future socially awkward colleague), deal with it as gracefully as you can. Don’t make the interviewer feel bad by dismissing the question, but don’t be rattled either–likely the other interviewers are feeling embarrassed by the situation, too.
- Be yourself. Give good chemistry a chance to develop.
- Never, ever, say anything bad about any of your current or past colleagues. Even if you are a gossip, don’t let on!