Interview etiquette

Mary Ann Sesma msesma at
Mon Dec 22 15:50:45 EST 1997


My aspect:   some roles that have to be understood:  employer versus the
potential employee within the interview framework.  Many of us do not
understand these roles even now..    Within the legal  framework the
potential  employee does not have disclose marital status, family,
ethncity, handicapp  and all the other things that we all know about.
However, if you have done your homework on your potential employer you may
be well advised to keep your mouth shut or respond with candor regarding
these   hotspots.   There are many employers that desire unique employees.
I have been on both side of the fence: the interviewer-employer and the
interviewee-prospective employee.    YES-- academia has a network. academia
is a very small world.   The quiet telephone call placed to the home
department or PI  by the interviewer is frequently used. without the
knowledge of the person being interviewed.  However, as a Principal  I had
to respond to the calls.   I  also let the individual know that I had
received a call and how I had reponded to the call.  If it was possible I
would call back after I had talked to the employee.

>In my (limited) experience, prospetive employers want to know, and usually
>do find out - especially in academics (which despite the size of the
>applicant pools still seems to be a small world).

You are so right.!!!!  It is our detective skills.   Put your self in the
place of the employer--you want the best.-  no bitter lemons, please.

>I've finally given up on keeping these things secret.

 Best tactic. because somebody will always snoop.
Couples tha t are in the identical discipline are often difficult to place,
because there may be legalities that prevent a higher status person who is
tenured from supervising a lower status person. and additionally there may
not be positions.   I have had this happen to me.

> "been there, done that".  I have never hidden my kids--only had to be
>deceitful regarding a pregnancy which was due in July well out of my
>academic year.  BTW this kid is now 35 years old   A bypass tactic:
>inquire re: Medical Plans and other benefits for spouse and family--that
>is a very legit  inquiry.

MY FIRST INTERVIEW ( DATE  1951)  was before a board of profs  and they
were absolutely miserable. horrid, obnoxious, all male.   I  was young,
newly married, stupid,  shaking in my shoes and we needed the money.
They asked the question regarding children:      I said I anticipated
having children--- they were unhappy--but I did get the job.     I think I
was lucky or maybe they did not have another candidate.

 HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED:   On the otherhand,   when hiring, I appreciated
the candor of the candidate but always discussed with the level of
activity(reading, etc, etc)  that had taken place during the maternity
leave.  I also told the candidates that  I was also a mother and I knew
that new mothers cannot really dig into Science Mag, etc.  when the kid has
the colic--Been there, done that  with three daughters,  1 husband., two
dogs, a cat and some other impedimentia too numerous to mention.

Another twist:   I was hiring a gentleman (Mathematics) and  an outstanding
teacher he revealed himself as a homosexual.  He also asked those same
questions re medical plan, etc.  I  could not answer because there  had
been no legal judgement.   Referred it to the "powers that be"-- it was not

Mary Ann Sesma

Mary Ann Sesma                          e mail
1621 Sunnyhill Drive                    msesma at (preferred)
Monterey Park, CA 91754                 sesma at
phone; (213)261-5860

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