Thursday, June 11, 2009

Preparing for Interview

I've been preparing for my phone interview with the headhunter tomorrow morning. I'm not sure what to expect as I've always been interviewing with the people I will actually be working with before. I did some searching on the web about how to deal with such interviewers and came up with more tips from headhunters about how to interview with employers. The little I gleaned suggested headhunters are more likely to throw off the wall psychological questions and ask what you would do in different situations. Makes sense, because they can't ask you anything technical. Academic interviews at research universities are mostly technical discussions of your research with a few questions thrown in about what you would like to teach. At least at more junior levels. Anyway, I've done a quick analysis of the research weaknesses and strengths of the department in question as I've been told this position is to some degree to be a research coach/mentor/coordinator. They've mostly been pretty busy publishing research but generally they publish it in low ranked journals and don't get cited a lot. Maybe this is a product of the Australian government's past policy of rewarding research quantity over quality. When I worked here before in 1996-2002 universities received base research funding according to a formula that awarded one point to a refereed journal article and half a point to a book chapter in an edited book. It didn't matter how prestigious the journal was (the rest of the funding was based on how many PhD students they could graduate). This is still the case for the smaller part (10%) of research funding based on publications. The largest portion (60%) is now allocated on the basis of competitive research grants won. My impression is that in the near future the system will shift towards assessing research on the basis of citations. This is a positive direction.

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