Doing Interviews for Employment and Some Tips on Writing Applications for a Position in Academia

This week I will be visiting Umeå University and do interviews with people who have applied for a position as pedagogic developer. I have read their applications and done an initial ranking of the applicants before the interviews. I have done these kinds of interviews a few times before, and it is really a learning experience to listen to the presentations and to what their plans are for the job. Often it is also interesting to compare the impression you get from the application, and specifically the teaching portfolio to the impression you get from the person. However, often I am really nervous before doing interviews because I know that it is very important to the people that have applied for the job.

When doing my assessment I need to spend quite some time reading the instructions given by the university, and to create a rubrics that I use for the assessment. This rubric is unique for each assessment I make when it is for employments at different universities. The rubrics for titles such as “Excellent teacher” at a specific university are the same, and these assessments are often easier and quicker due to this. When the rubrics is done I start reading the applications to understand the competence and experiences of the applicant.

Here are some short tips for writing an application to a position in academia. Some advice are general and some more specific for the teaching skills assessment

  1. Use headlines that help the examiner find the information quickly and easily.
  2. Please read the job ad very closely, and also the instruktions for the position that you are applying for. See to it that you include the information needed for assessing your competence in the areas mentioned in the ad and in the job description.
  3. Please note that the assessment of the teaching skills requires you to write a text that reflects your experiences from teaching. A list of what courses you have taught is not enough. I cannot assess those who only add a bullet list with courses, independent of how long the list is.
  4. Provide evidence of your work in the form of letters of recommendation, course evaluations, descriptions of development project etc.
  5. If there are specific courses mentioned in the advertisement for the position, please mention why you would be a good teacher of those courses.
  6. Connect the teaching philosophy with your own experiences as a teacher, and reflect on them.
  7. Write something about how you plan to improve as a teacher. What would your future work be?