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Know the Search Committee: Do Your Homework before an Interview

When visiting a campus for an interview, most candidates know to do research on the school. Do you stop there? Candidates can be given an added edge by knowing the search committee. Typically, a hiring university will share in advance the members of the search committee. While it’s not necessary to do extensive reconnaissance, a simple Google search and perusal of their LinkedIn profiles will allow you to have an awareness of who they are, what positions they’ve held at which institutions, and any group affiliations. Doing so will be an asset in three ways:

  1. Clarity. On a very basic level, in the high-pressure environment of the interview, you will not have to fumble for names. The more you can be at ease in an interview, the more they can get a clear picture of you as a candidate and competent leader.

  2. Questions. An awareness of a member's point of reference will assist you in understanding where their questions are coming from and answering in a compelling way.

  3. Rapport. Understanding the background of the members assists you in building affinity. Have you worked at similar institutions? Do you belong to common organizations?

When applying for a position, it’s understood that a search committee is doing homework on you, be sure and practice due diligence to do the same.