Planning the Campus Interview

The interviewing process should meet the dual goals of selling the candidates on the merits of joining the University of Mary Washington community as well as offering a more thorough opportunity for evaluating candidates’ credentials. To make the most of the time-intensive interviewing process, advance preparation on the part of the committee should be utilized as much as possible. The following steps are useful in preparing for interviews and conveying a sincere interest to the candidates:

  1. Be as thorough in attention to detail as possible when making arrangements for campus visits; haphazard planning communicates a lack of real interest.
  2. Confirm arrangements for campus visits as far in advance as possible, and in writing. Even last-minute arrangements can be confirmed in writing by fax or e-mail attachment. The arrangements should include where the candidate will be picked up and by whom, where she/he will be housed during the visit (with a phone number that they can leave with family or office), and when she/he can expect the visit to formally conclude. An itinerary for the day should be included or made available as soon as the candidate arrives.
  3. Be thoughtful in determining who the candidates will meet; do not extend the interview unnecessarily by including numerous “courtesy calls.” Do include persons with whom the candidate may interact and collaborate in the future. Do explain to the candidate the relevance of each person on the interview schedule. Ask candidates if there are individuals with whom they might like to meet, or if there are particular questions that may best be answered by individuals outside of the interview process. The candidate should meet other members of the campus community with similar backgrounds, and the committee should be prepared to respond to concerns or questions that relate to the number of women or persons of color on campus and in the community, opportunities for advancement, the quality of life on campus and in the community, and professional, educational, and personal opportunities for her/his spouse and children where applicable.  The committee should think about these issues in advance and be prepared to answer them or to refer the candidate to others who are prepared to meet with the candidate to provide such information.
  4. Prepare a list of questions from the list of required and desired qualifications stated in the position announcement. These questions must be posed to all candidates. Review the questions in advance to be certain that they do not reflect any hidden biases or assumptions, and that they will not unfairly penalize persons from underrepresented groups.
  5. Avoid altering the agreed-upon itinerary. Confirm appointments with persons on the interview schedule the day before each interview to avoid no shows and, if necessary, to identify possible replacements.
  6. Avoid large unscheduled gaps of time; however, schedule breaks during the day for the candidate to breathe and reflect on the day.
  7. Plan to hold meetings in accessible locations.The on-line faculty application invites each applicant to notify search committees if disability accommodations are needed.  When contacting the applicants to arrange the interview you may ask ALL selected applicants whether they will need any accommodations during the interviewing process; however this is not required. If accommodations are requested either before or at the time of the interview:
  • Thank them for bringing their need to your attention.
  • State that the University of Mary Washington is committed to working with persons with disabilities.
  • Inform them that their request for a specific accommodation is sufficient for you to provide the necessary follow-up and that they should not share the details of their medical condition with you.
  • Contact the AAEEO Officer at x1046 as soon as possible to ensure that accommodations will be available in time.
  1. In order to facilitate full participation, it is useful to distribute a schedule, listing all interviews, dates, and times to all affected individuals including the dean’s office, the search committee, departmental faculty and staff and others on the interview schedule. If a candidate is making a presentation, invite all the faculty, staff, and students in your department or unit and send a notice to the college (or broader relevant group). Also, send a notice to any other departments, units, or colleges whose faculty might be interested.
  2. Provide candidates with information regarding resources available in the campus and local community.