“And don’t forget your flashdrive”

College classroom 3

Do you have an on-campus interview coming up?  Most likely you will be required to teach a class.  History teaching guru Kevin Gannon, aka @thetattooedprof, offers some tips as you prepare your demonstration.

Here is a taste:

Plan to use more than one teaching method in your demonstration, just as you would in your own classroom practice. Straight lecture for 50 minutes might demonstrate your command of the material, but it’s not going to engage the students or search-committee members in the audience. Conversely, devoting the entire session to, say, group work without providing any scaffolding or context for the material might also produce suboptimal results — you might have an engaging, interactive style, but the substance won’t necessarily be there.

If you’re not sure how to navigate this question of balance, talk to the more-experienced practitioners in your department. Their experiences might help you clarify your own thoughts about the task in front of you.

Ideally, the search committee and/or a departmental representative will share enough information and suggestions to make your planning process relatively easy. If not, though, don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions. An email — with wording like “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to teach a sample class for your department. As I plan the session, I was wondering if I could get a little more information about …” — is a perfectly acceptable step to take.

The teaching demo may be a different scenario from what you were prepared to encounter on the job market, but it’s an opportunity to make an extended and thorough case for your potential value to a department. If you’re in the fortunate position to be planning a teaching talk for a campus interview, I wish you the best of luck.

Read the entire piece here.  And check out our interview with Gannon in Episode 26 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast.

Skype Interview Nightmares

Skype

From Stephanie Hull of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation:

  • One candidate allowed her hamster to run loose in her home. During her interview, it ran up the back of her shirt and popped out on her shoulder, next to her collar.
  • During one candidate’s interview, a floor lamp toppled, spraying glass shards. She was cut and bleeding on camera.
  • Another candidate chatted with a committee while sitting on her bed, propped up by ruffled pillows. (Fully dressed, but it was still a little disconcerting.)
  • Then there was the candidate who was seated in front of a firearms-training target that showed several bullet holes grouped around the heart and the center of the forehead.
  • A candidate with a large dog failed to secure said animal in another room, so it came bounding in and leapt onto her lap mid-interview, knocking everything over — and howled loudly for the rest of the interview when finally forced to stay in the adjoining room.

Do you want to avoid these problems and look good on camera during your next interview? Check out Hull’s full piece at The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Have You Seen Claire Potter’s Advice for History Job-Seekers?

Job Center

Several years ago Inside Higher Ed published a few of my pieces on interviewing for jobs at various kinds of history departments.

Here is my piece on interviewing at church-related colleges.

Here is my piece on interviewing at teaching colleges.

I also took a stab at a post on interviewing at research universities, but it did not appear in Inside Higher Ed.  You can read it here.

We have also spent a lot of time posting about job interviewing at The Way of Improvement Leads Home.   Find those posts here.

It is now time to add Claire Potter‘s recent twitter thread on conference interviewing to my lists of posts on the job market.  It is excellent:

Great stuff! Thanks, Claire.

Don’t Text During a Job Interview

Text

Who does this?

Here is a taste of Karen Klesky‘s recent entry at “The Professor is In”:

During a recent campus interview at my university, a candidate met with department members for dinner and basically spent the entire meal texting. Is this really the new normal?

Let me take this moment to assure you: No, it is not. It might be tempting to think that it is because texting is so endemic in our social spaces, including professional ones. Tenured (and sometimes even untenured) faculty members text their way through department meetings (yes, I am looking at you!).

Read the rest here if you still need to be convinced that texting during a job interview is not a good idea.

The Next Step in the Humanities “Counterattack” is “Translation”

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In my book Why Study History: A Historical Introduction I wrote:

But there are also larger issues that history teachers and professors, and school and college administrators, must confront if they want to be effective career counselors.  For example, we must equip students to be confident in the skills that they have acquired as history majors….Rather than apologizing to potential employers about being history majors, our students should enter job interviews boldly, discussing their abilities to write, communicate, construct narratives out of small details, listen, empathize, analyze, and think critically.  As Stanton Green, a humanities administrator notes, “People find jobs where they look for jobs.”  We need to instill our students with confidence.  The ability to do this must somehow be embedded in a history department curriculum.

Over at Inside Higher Ed, University of North Carolina-Greensboro  Emily Levine and Nicole Hall describe this process as “translation.”  Here is a taste of their piece:

After years of being on the back foot, the humanities have launched a counterattack. A shelf of new books, including Scott Hartley’s The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World (Houghton Mifflin, 2017) and Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro’s Cents and Sensibility: What Economics Can Learn From the Humanities (Princeton, 2017), attest to the usefulness of the humanities for the 21st-century job market. Their fresh message makes the old creed that the humanities are a “mistake” or not “relevant” seem out of touch. Surveying these works in the July-August 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review, J. M. Olejarz dubs this countermovement “the revenge of the film, history and philosophy nerds….”

But where we go from here requires the hard work of identifying just what is the common denominator being learned in the humanities and how to parlay that knowledge and those skills into professional success. How do you apply Virginia Woolf to write better code or marshal your skills conjugating Latin verbs to execute an IPO?

At the University of North Carolina Greensboro, we have taken the next step of improving career outcomes for our students in the humanities by implementing the Liberal Arts Advantage, a strategy that articulates the value of the humanities to students, their parents and the community.

Directors of career development are realizing that they can’t do this work alone. They must engage faculty as their partners.

Jeremy Podany, founder, CEO, and senior consultant of the Career Leadership Collective, a global solutions group and network of innovators inside and near to university career services, says that helping faculty teach career development is part of the job. “I actually think we need to go to the faculty and say, ‘Let me teach you how to have a great career conversation,’” said Podany. The relationship between faculty members and career development offices — experts in the humanities and careers — is essential to preparing students for the job market.

Why? Because the central issue in realizing a long-term strategy for student career development is translation. That is, how students translate the skills they learn in the classroom into workplace success. This is particularly true in the case of the metacognitive skills that professors in the humanities can, and should, help contribute in their students.

Read the entire piece here.

How To Interview at a Teaching College

3081b-classroom

A few years ago I wrote a couple of pieces at Inside Higher Ed on interviewing for college teaching jobs.  I wrote about interviewing at a teaching college here and interviewing at teaching a church-related teaching college here.

Today at The Chronicle of Higher Education, Kevin Gannon of Grand View University offers some good advice on applying for a job at small liberal arts college that emphasizes teaching over research.

Here is a taste of his piece:

I work at a small liberal-arts college — also known by our charming acronym, SLAC. Colleges like mine are teaching-centric (a 4-4 load), largely enrollment-dependent, and quite different from research universities when it comes to faculty hiring and advancement. That’s important because the non-elite, teaching-oriented colleges are where a lot of the academic jobs are. Yet far too many advice columns on the faculty career act as if search committees only operate in one way — the way they do at R-1 campuses. You’re told how to be successful in your “job talk” — you know, the hourlong session where you publicly discuss your scholarly work, research agenda, and (typically) how kickass of a book your dissertation is about to become. That (and not getting drunk at dinner with the search committee) is key, you are told.

But that isn’t key in the hiring process at teaching colleges.If you’re in a field — say, anything in the humanities — where there’s a daunting ratio of candidates to open positions, being strategic and intentional about the application materials you send to different types of institutions can make a real difference in how you fare. A happy exception to the overload of R1 advice is Karen Kelsky’s recent column on job-searching at a SLAC (and, for once, you should read the comments, too). It’s a good start and my goal here is to go further.

At SLACs, a teaching demonstration is at the heart of our campus interview process. I had heard nothing about that when I was a Ph.D. student entering the market myself, even though all of my interviews were at small liberal-arts institutions. I quickly discovered that the hiring landscape at these colleges was much different than the one I’d been prepared for. Ultimately, I was successful, but only by adjusting on the fly to a new set of strategies.

Read the rest here.

Reflections on the Academic Job Search

job-searcvhWe are very happy to have William S. Cossen writing for The Way of Improvement Leads Home this weekend from the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association. William defended his dissertation, “The Protestant Image in the Catholic Mind: Interreligious Encounters in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era,” in October and graduated with a PhD in history from Penn State University in December. (Congratulations!). He is a faculty member of The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology in Lawrenceville, Georgia.  Below you will find some of his reflections on Day 1 of the AHA.–JF

Greetings from sunny Denver!

Well, a little wishful thinking can’t hurt.

After a smooth flight from Atlanta and a scenic train ride from Denver International Airport to the city, I made it safely to AHA 2017.  I’ll be presenting on Saturday at the American Catholic Historical Association’s conference as part of a panel titled “Catholicism and Americanism in the 19th Century: New Perspectives on an Old Debate.”  It will be nice to have so much time before delivering my own paper to enjoy the rest of the conference.

Following a quick, efficient check-in process (thank you, AHA!), I made my way to my first panel of the conference, “Deciphering the Academic Job Search,” which was sponsored by the AHA’s Professional Division.  With the market seemingly getting tighter every year, I was eager to hear opinions on the process from a recent candidate, a search committee member, and an academic dean.

The recurring themes I picked up in all three presentations were the necessity of flexibility and the need for candidates to be able to compellingly present their research – specifically providing a clear answer to the “so what?” question, a skill which is also useful in academic publishing and grant writing – to those outside their fields.

The first presenter, Ava Purkiss of the University of Michigan, provided helpful advice for how candidates can make themselves stand out in the initial stages of the job search process.  One tip was for candidates to shop their job materials around widely before applying, not only among their advisors and committee members but also among other professors and graduate students.  A second tip was for candidates to seek out search committees’ evaluation and scoring criteria for job applications.  This might not be easy to find, but Dr. Purkiss mentioned an example of one university posting this information online publicly.  A final piece of advice, which is especially useful in an era of online applications, was to print out all components of the application before submitting them to search committees to find and fix any glaring errors.

The second presenter, Paul Deslandes of the University of Vermont, counseled prospective job candidates to be self-reflective.  He urged job seekers to answer an important question: What do you really want out of academia?  He noted importantly that if one does not see themselves enjoying teaching, then academia is probably not a good fit.  Dr. Deslandes emphasized one of the panel’s key themes, which was that job seekers need to learn how to communicate their research to departments in their entirety, or as he put it, “Speak the language of other people.”  Regarding job opportunities, he encouraged those on the job market to “be expansive.”

The final presenter, Catherine Epstein of Amherst College, offered practical advice for the all-important cover letter: the letter must make clear “why your work is interesting.”  While Dr. Epstein noted that candidates are not expected to write a brand new cover letter for each job, the letters need to be tailored to specific schools.  Responding directly to the job requirements found in a job advertisement demonstrates true interest in the position and shows search committees that a candidate has actually attempted to learn about the institution to which they are applying.

The question-and-answer session following the presentations reflected some of the larger anxieties of the current history job market, but I think that panel chair Philippa Levine’s reminder that this is very much an impersonal process is an important point for job seekers to take to heart, as difficult as that may be, if they are disappointed by the outcome of their search for employment in academia.  One essential fact is that the number of job seekers far outstrips the number of available tenure-track positions.  However, these sorts of panels do a good service for the profession by partially demystifying what is for many an often confusing, frequently disappointing process.

I’m excited for Friday’s full schedule of sessions – and, of course, also for the book exhibit.  As with other conferences of this size, I have upwards of ten panels which I would like to see simultaneously.  This is ultimately not a bad problem to have.  More to come!

Are You Interviewing at the AHA?

aha-denver

If you are on the job market and have been fortunate enough to land an interview at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in Denver, you may want to check out a few pieces I wrote several years ago about interviewing at various types of institutions.

How to Interview for a Job at a Church-Related College or University

Chapel of the Resurrection (exterior), Valparaiso University

Chapel of the Resurrection (exterior), Valparaiso University

On Saturday, I wrote a post about interviewing for jobs in history departments at teaching colleges.  Today I offer some tips about interviewing for a teaching job at a church-related college or university. These also come from an Inside Higher Education piece I published in December 2012.

Here is a taste:

If you get an interview at the American Historical Association or another meeting with a church-related college, you need to do your homework. What kind of church-related college is it? A good place to start is Robert Benne’s Quality With Soul. Benne identifies four different types of church-related colleges. I have charted my own course in this post, but have relied on some of Benne’s classifications.

There are many schools that have historic connections with Protestant denominations. This, of course, does not mean that those connections will have any bearing on the hiring process or the AHA interview. For example, Duke University has a historic connection to the United Methodist Church, but this connection will play no factor in the search process. The same might be true of a place like Gettysburg College, a school with connections to the Lutheran Church. If you have an AHA interview with this kind of church-related school, there is no need to treat it any differently than you would an interview at a nonsectarian school or public university. You may not even realize that you are interviewing with a church-related school!

Other church-related schools take their church-relatedness a bit more seriously. Catholic schools, for example, might ask you if you have any problems with the Catholic mission of the university. In most cases, however, this issue will not be raised during the AHA interview. (It might be raised by an administrator during an on-campus visit). The only exception to this rule is the small number of Catholic colleges who only hire Catholic faculty. If these schools interview at the AHA (most will not), the committee will not only ask you if you are Catholic, but will want to know if you are a practicing Catholic. (Yes, a private school can ask such a question).

Read the rest here.

How to Interview for a Job in a History Department at a Teaching College

Messiah ImageA few years ago I wrote this piece at Inside Higher Ed. Perhaps some of my thoughts here might prove useful to graduate students and others preparing for interviews at the upcoming American Historical Association meeting in Atlanta.

Here is a taste:

This piece is about interviewing at colleges and universities that stress teaching over research. This, I might add, is the overwhelming majority of colleges and universities. It is important to remember that the phrase “teaching college” can be applied to a host of different kinds of institutions. Elite and not-so-elite liberal arts colleges, private comprehensive colleges, and non-flagship state universities, for example, would all find a comfortable home in the “teaching college” tent.

This may be stating the obvious, but it is still worth mentioning that committees from these colleges are looking for an excellent teacher. Some may want to hire a “teacher-scholar,” or a person who sees their vocation in terms of blending traditional scholarship and teaching. Others may want someone who is a teacher first and a researcher/writer second. Still others may not give a lick about your research or how many books and articles you hope to churn out over the course of your career. Whatever the case, all of the colleges in this category want a person who not only works well with students, but actually has a desire to do so.

As you might imagine, your “research” is not going to be as important to the search committee at a teaching college as it might be if you were interviewing with a research university. This does not mean that the search committee will not care about your dissertation or book manuscript. In most cases committee members will ask you about your research and, in some cases, may find it quite interesting. You may even find that many of these colleges have incentives in place, such as summer research stipends or course reductions, to help you achieve your research and publication goals. But always remember that teaching comes first.

Read the rest here.

And I’ll Also Take a College Car, My Own Personal Secretary, and a Fully-Stocked Wet Bar in My Office

Nazareth College

Over at The Inside Higher Ed, Colleen Flaherty writes about a woman who received an offer for a tenure-track job in the philosophy department at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY and then negotiated herself out of a job.  Here is a taste:


The worst they can say is no. That’s the advice a new Ph.D. receives about negotiating with a department that has extended a job offer. Sure, you might not get everything you want, but there’s no harm in trying. This may be your best shot at getting good pay or working conditions and, after all, they have offered you the job and won’t take that away.

Or maybe not, according to recent post on Philosophy Smoker. The blog, popular among philosophy graduate students and junior faculty, recounts a job offer negotiation gone wrong at a small liberal arts college.

The candidate, identified in the blog as “W,” sent the following email to search committee members at Nazareth College, in Rochester, N.Y., after receiving a tenure-track job offer in philosophy:

“As you know, I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of coming to Nazareth. Granting some of the following provisions would make my decision easier[:]

1) An increase of my starting salary to $65,000, which is more in line with what assistant professors in philosophy have been getting in the last few years. 

2) An official semester of maternity leave. 
3) A pre-tenure sabbatical at some point during the bottom half of my tenure clock. 
4) No more than three new class preps per year for the first three years. 
5) A start date of academic year 2015 so I can complete my postdoc.”
She ended the email by saying “I know that some of these might be easier to grant than others. Let me know what you think.”
In a reply, the search committee said it had reviewed the requests, as had the dean and vice president of academic affairs.
“It was determined that on the whole these provisions indicate an interest in teaching at a research university and not at a college, like ours, that is both teaching and student centered,” the email continues. “Thus, the institution has decided to withdraw its offer of employment to you.”
The search committee ended by thanking the candidate for her “interest” and wishing her “the best in finding a suitable position.”
Ouch!

Read the rest here.  The comments are also very entertaining.

Are You Interviewing at the AHA? Some Last Minute Tips

If you are on the job market and have been fortunate enough to land an interview at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association being held this weekend in Washington D.C., you may want to check out a few pieces I wrote several years ago about interviewing at various types of institutions. Several of these posts were picked up last year by Inside Higher Education.

Good luck!

Why You Should Say "Yes" To Any Job Interview

CAREEREALISM offers six reasons why you should say “yes” to any job interview (whether you want the job or not).  By doing that interview you can:

1.  Sharpen your interviewing skills.  You can read all the interviewing tips you want, but there is nothing like going “live.”  I would add one more thing to this.  If you are a history major, interviews are a great way to practice your talking points regarding how your history-major skills can translate into the marketplace.

2.  Discover what others in your industry are up to.  Use the interview as a learning opportunity.

3.  Build your network

4.  Learn what’s out there.  Even if you don’t take the job, you will get a better sense of what you like and don’t like about a potential employer.

5.  Gain bargaining power.  If you tell another employer that you are interviewing elsewhere they will see you as a “hot commodity.”

6.  Realize you never know what will happen?  You may interview for one job and they may offer a different job that you like better.

I encourage you to read the entire post here

Navigating the Academic Job Market

Eunice Williams (a pseudonym, but I am imagining she might be an early Americanist who knows the story of the Williams family as portrayed in John Demos’s masterful The Unredeemed Captive) shares her experience on the academic job market at this year’s AHA conference.  Here are a few things she has learned:

1.  Do not schedule interviews on the day you are presenting on a panel.

2.  The AHA conference requires willpower–“the will to get off the bed and out of your hotel room even when you’re exhausted, to motivate yourself to be ‘on’ for each of your interviews, to repeat your research points and teaching philosophy using concrete examples, and to juggle the names of departmental research colloquiums and faculty members just long enough to get through the interview….”

3.  Plan your meals.  Interviewees need proper sustenance.

4.  Reward yourself after a day of interviews.

For a full treatment of these points check out Eunice’s entire piece.

Do You Have an "On Campus Visit?"

I hope that many of my readers on the academic job market get calls this week inviting them for an “on campus” interview.   Over at gradhacker, Julie Platt has some good advice for those who will be traveling to colleges and universities for job interviews over the course of the next month or so.  I have listed her main points below, but read the entire post to see how she develops them.

1.  Be prepared to be “on” all the time.

2.  Be prepared to talk to the “bigwigs.”

3.  Be prepared to talk about everything and anything, especially during the job talk.

Interviewing at a Teaching College–My "Latest" at "Inside Higher Ed"

Are you interviewing at the AHA in New Orleans this weekend?  Today’s Inside Higher Ed is running an old “The Way of Improvement Leads Home” blog post on interviewing at teaching colleges.  Here is a taste:

This piece is about interviewing at colleges and universities that stress teaching over research. This, I might add, is the overwhelming majority of colleges and universities. It is important to remember that the phrase “teaching college” can be applied to a host of different kinds of institutions. Elite and not-so-elite liberal arts colleges, private comprehensive colleges, and non-flagship state universities, for example, would all find a comfortable home in the “teaching college” tent.

This may be stating the obvious, but it is still worth mentioning that committees from these colleges are looking for an excellent teacher. Some may want to hire a “teacher-scholar,” or a person who sees their vocation in terms of blending traditional scholarship and teaching. Others may want someone who is a teacher first and a researcher/writer second. Still others may not give a lick about your research or how many books and articles you hope to churn out over the course of your career. Whatever the case, all of the colleges in this category want a person who not only works well with students, but actually has a desire to do so.

As you might imagine, your “research” is not going to be as important to the search committee at a teaching college as it might be if you were interviewing with a research university. This does not mean that the search committee will not care about your dissertation or book manuscript. In most cases committee members will ask you about your research and, in some cases, may find it quite interesting. You may even find that many of these colleges have incentives in place, such as summer research stipends or course reductions, to help you achieve your research and publication goals. But always remember that teaching comes first.

Read the rest here.

How to Give a Job Talk

I have sat through some bad job talks and I have seen some great ones.  I have also delivered my fair share of jobs talks. Some of them have been successful, some of them have not.  Some of them I thought were successful, but apparently the search committee had other ideas.  Some of them I thought were terrible, and I was still offered the job.  Whatever the case, I wish I had Kathryn Hume’s advice about job talks in those days.

Here is a taste:

The incompetence of most job talks seems astonishing and depressing until one remembers just how badly conceived and delivered conference talks tend to be. If oratorical savvy is in such short supply, then the inventive job hunter has a shining opportunity to better his or her chances. To give an impressive talk, you need to understand 1) the basics of effective oral presentation; 2) the nature of talking to a whole department, not just to fellow specialists; and 3) tactics specific to the type of institution. Do these three things well and you will tilt the odds heavily in your favor.

An article is not a talk. A thesis chapter (even shortened) is not a talk. The kind of language that projects your masterful arguments in written prose is indigestible sludge when spoken. Learning through your ears and learning through your eyes are different, so you have to adapt your material to different mental processes. For the ears, you want an exaggeratedly clear roadmap and short sentences. Close to the beginning, you want to say “I shall address three problems: a, b, and c.” You make sure that you mention a and b and c at the beginnings of their respective sections, and you remind us at the end that you have solved these three problems. Whether you solve problems or answer questions or trace an unusual development, get it up there in plain English, and remind us from time to time where you are in the trajectory of your argument.

Read the rest here.

Goodbye Meat Market, Hello Skype

More and more history departments are using Skype to interview job candidates.  Over at Inside Higher Ed, Lynn Lubamersky of Boise State University argues that Skype interviews are not only cheap (they’re free!), but they put job candidates at ease in a way that the traditional AHA “meat market” interview does not.

My favorite part of the piece is Lubamersky’s description of the job candidates who strategically placed books in the background of their video feed so that the committee could see what they were reading.  (Or at least what books they owned!).

I have mixed feelings about using Skype for interviews.  As a department chair, I see the benefits of being able to save money on interviews–for both the committee and the candidates.  On the other hand, it is hard to beat a face-to-face encounter.  Whatever the case, I think Skype will the be the wave of the future for conducting first-round interviews.  What do you think?

While you are thinking, here is a taste of Lubamersky’s piece:

It was striking how beautifully some of the candidates communicated with us, filling the screen with their laughter and wit, and showing real enthusiasm and capacity to bridge the digital space between us. I think that students today prefer to communicate via their electronic devices rather than in person, so these candidates showed that they were already doing that in a big way. Some of the candidates staged their interview so appealingly — with artfully placed key titles in the background — that their image gave the impression that it was the book jacket photograph on their first published book. Other candidates were interviewing between classes, standing before 12-foot-high European casement windows of their university offices while gray northern light streamed through, projecting their competence and professional experience. And one candidate who was living in an 18th-century farmhouse delightfully scanned the camera 360 degrees so that we could enjoy a view of the rustic space in which she was living.

Interviewing for a Job at a Religious College

A couple of weeks ago we did a post on an Inside Higher Ed essay by Susan VanZanten on the prospects of teaching at a religious college. 

VanZanten has followed that piece up with one on interviewing for a job at a religious college.  Here is a taste:

Interview processes at colleges and universities typically cover three areas — scholarly goals, teaching abilities and collegial potential — but if you land an interview at a religiously affiliated institution, you may find some additional emphases, unusual twists, and unexpected encounters. Here’s what to expect and how to prepare:

Questions about faith: Perhaps the most surprising experience for some candidates occurs when they are asked personal questions about faith and religious life. At religiously affiliated colleges, these kinds of questions are legally permitted, although inquiries about spouses, marital status, and children are off-limits. If religious faith is deemed an essential part of an institution’s mission, a right to raise questions of personal faith and practice is recognized in law, by accrediting agencies, and even by the American Association of University Professors. It’s controversial but true; religious institutions are allowed to discriminate on the basis of religious faith.

So at some point during the interview process, you will probably be asked about your faith commitments and activities. If the application process involved writing a spiritual autobiography or faith statement, you might be asked to elaborate on or to explain further these comments. You also face questions about your church participation and involvement, or what kind of volunteer and service work you’ve done. Other queries might concern the religious tradition in which you were raised, if any, and how you currently view that tradition.

Some of my faithful readers will remember a post I did a few years ago about interviewing for a history teaching job at a church-related school.