§2. Interviewing for the job
§2. Interviewing for the job.
are two possibilities here, of course. You could be interview-
ing for the job as head at your current university, or you could
be a candidate at a different institution. I have never had the for-
mer experience, but I have had the latter more than once. There are
some things that are common to both situations and call for similar
approaches; other factors and questions are pertinent to only one of
these. There are issues here that will affect you personally and those
that will concern the future of the department you are about to take
I am not one to get involved in some of the game playing that
you occasionally hear about. In fact, I wonder how much of this really
goes on. Remember that you will be living with this dean afterwards.
If you lie or cheat or if (s)he even believes that you have, (s)he is
going to remember it, and it is likely (s)he will exact some form of
payment. Unless, of course, the dean is a saint (and, like department
heads, no dean is a saint). You may not get a raise, the department
may not get its share of resources. So be honest and forthright. This
is not to say you should reveal all. Remember, this is a negotiation,
not a group therapy session.
Before you start the interview process, there are a couple of ques-
tions you should ask yourself. How much do you want this job? How
much does the dean want you for the job? Clearly the answers will
determine how stubborn you will be and how quickly or slowly you
can anticipate the dean will respond.
I think it is a mistake to go into the negotiations with a long
shopping list. Decide what's important and how important it is. Be
aware of the difference between recurring and non-recurring budget
items. Deans are usually much more receptive to a request that will
be taken care of in a single year rather that an obligation that is
eternal. So $30,000 of computers may be more likely to be given than
an annual increase of $5,000 in the travel fund.
As in all things, you should do your homework. Do you really
think that the dean is going to agree to an extra two faculty positions
simply because you ask for them? Maybe you are such a hot commod-
ity that you'll get this. Maybe not. Maybe there is a recent review
of the department that shows that in the past 5 years the number
of mathematics majors at this university has increased by 30% with
no increase in faculty. You can't hire people with masters degrees to
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