Preparing to Interview at a Conference or Convention


For many, attending academic conferences or conventions is an important part of your professional development. It’s an opportunity to learn about recent research, present your own paper or poster, and meet peers. It also can be a place to interview for faculty and other scholarly jobs. Many associations include job placement or employment services as part of their convention, as discussed by Julie Miller Vick in Preparing for Conventions.

Miller Vick suggests finding out the date and how to participate in the association’s interviews. Then you should ensure your CV, research summary, and teaching philosophy are written and up-to-date. It also is a good idea to research job announcements in order to understand other required materials.

In preparing to meet with institutions, it’s critical to familiarize yourself with the school you’ve applied to. Miller Vick states, “Applicants must understand the differences between liberal-arts colleges, master's-level universities, research institutions, and community colleges, and then they must understand that every institution of higher education sees itself as unique.”For example, the culture of a small, liberal arts institution is probably very different from a large research university. Understanding why you would be a good fit for a potential employer allows you to present the qualities you feel make you the best match for the job. 

A mock interview with your department or others in the field will give you the opportunity to think about what you want to tell the hiring committee. This gives you experience discussing the qualities that make you a good candidate for the position and can help with your overall comfort level going into the conference interview. You should be prepared to talk about your research as well as the classes you would be interested in teaching.

With these tips in hand, you are now ready to head to the conference. Don’t forget to print multiple copies of your CV, statement of research interest, statement of teaching philosophy, and dissertation abstract. Bring copies of your published and unpublished articles as well as syllabi for courses you have taught.

Miller Vick also provides tips and advice from previous job candidates who went through the same experience you are faced with that are worth a look.

Overall, the best advice is to be prepared. If you’ve done your research on the institution, are comfortable discussing your skills and research ability, and enter the conference with confidence, your job hunt should end in success.


Miller Vick, J. (2004). Preparing for Conferences. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved June 10, 2012 from