Phone Interviews

Departments will sometimes conduct interviews over the phone rather than in-person at MLA or other conventions. They may do this to save money or to further narrow the interview pool for MLA.  These will usually be with a committee over some kind of speakerphone or, more and more common recently, by video phone. So only wear your pjs on the bottom half 🙂

The ideal situation is that you are contacted, by phone or e-mail, to set up a phone interview time so that you can be prepared. While I have heard of situations in which the candidate was called out of the blue, usually you have some notice. Obviously, arrange a time when you can be somewhere quiet and on a phone that is reliable and with a strong signal.

Phone interviews tend to involve the same kinds of questions as MLA interviews, though the institutions that conduct them are often more interested in teaching than in research.  Equally important, phone interviews tend to be more scripted.  The interviewer might actually be working with a list of questions. It can be helpful to have your own notes in front of you as long as you don’t let those notes slow down your answers or create any artificial sounding responses.