Heading Out

Seeking the winds that help to sail on Shakespeare's tide.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Reality strikes

Maybe this is one of the reasons this is still anonymous. Today I had to review the initial 29 applications for a relatively senior position on campus. Bear in mind this is the initial screening and we are a relatively small committee. So the goal is to refine the pool so that we can meet next week and select the handful for interview.

OK here is the deal, as you may have noticed I don't have a huge amount of free time, so I set aside about 90 minutes for the initial screening. Figure it out - that is about 3 minutes for a resume. Here is a hint - sending in a note that says "I saw the ad in the Chronicle, here is my resume" unless the resume began with "After winning my first Nobel at the age of 15 I donated my inherited $15 million to your college and . . ." then it is unlikely that I even spent 2 minutes on it. (If you think that after years out of college that folk would know that then you are smarter than about a quarter of the applicants).

A nice relatively short (the range was I think between a page and a half and three pages) letter stating who you are, why you think you are qualified and what you might do with the job was pretty common to the applicants who were picked. Telling us at length how well you were able to teach French in Borneo is not exciting when we are hiring somebody to weld two halves of a ship together. Nor is sending in a thick report that proves how well you did your last job by requiring that we find and read the tables on pages . . . . (we have heard of cut and paste).

Oh and if you have changed jobs 5 times in the last 6 months it might be nice to explain that you really couldn't get your foot free from the caboose of the train, rather than letting us assume that you don't handle change well. We are really trying to find the best person who will fit the job and be here a while. And while we are going to spend a lot of time on individuals from now on that effort will be concentrated on the five or so folk left in the pile. If you don't have the time to put a little thought into making an effective presentation of yourself, don't expect the folk on the other end to spend even as much time on it as you, obviously, didn't commit.

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