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Search committees will reject anyone who appears immature and insecure.

Search committees are looking for someone who already speaks and writes like an employed colleague. They mumble and mutter and talk too fast, and above all, they ramble in an unfocused and evasive way.

Your work is important and deserves a serious delivery.

If a joke arises naturally in the conversation, though–run with it.

You may think that your dark insinuations of how “my project really offended some people in my department” make you look mysterious and desirable, but actually they make you look tiresome. And your future department wants a colleague who has a positive attitude.

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Provide those, and chances are your “radical” perspective will get a balanced hearing. This is understandable, because their status is insecure.

Your clothes must be new and must fit you at your current weight, and be hemmed (sleeves, pants, skirt) to the appropriate length.

Your clothes must be more formal than is customary in your department, because interviews require formal clothes. You must wear decent shoes that are appropriate for professional settings.

In interview situations, learn to talk about your dissertation in short, punchy bursts, no more than a sentence or two long.

This gives your interlocutor the chance to say, “How interesting!

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