As search consultants, my colleagues and I regularly observe candidates doing counterproductive things during a preliminary (yes, I mean “airport”) interview, in the mistaken belief that they are scoring points with the hiring committee. But search committee have their own set of gaffes.
Last week’s column focused on the 10 most common missteps made by would-be presidents, provosts, and deans. In the spirit of turnabout being fair play—and with continuing props to David Letterman as master of the form—I offer here the top 10 things that search-committee members do (or don’t do) in interviews that backfire.
10. Don’t understand the job. Ironically, this happens all the time. The nature of higher-education leadership has changed radically over recent years. The jobs of president/chancellor and provost/vice president, for example, have become so distinct that a majority of the latter have no interest in becoming the former. Yet all too many people conducting interviews have little or no idea of the day-to-day responsibilities and accountabilities of these positions. That simple dearth of information does not stop committee members from deciding who is and is not capable of doing a job that they don’t know or understand. <Read the rest.>