Searching For Your First Job
A useful strategy in preparing for interviews is to have a mentor or faculty member provide a mock interview for you. This is important, at least prior to your first few interviews.
At all times, be professional, collegial, confident, but not arrogant, to everyone. You will present a seminar so search committees and interested faculty can evaluate your research and presentation skills firsthand and see how you handle questions and discussions of your work. Prepare the seminar well beforehand and have peers and faculty listen to your presentation and ask questions. Make sure you bring the appropriate format to present your talk, along with a backup plan, so as to avoid a technical problem arising during the presentation. Offer to set up your talk and check the AV equipment beforehand. An essential feature of your interviews is to clearly understand and be able to articulate what you want your job description to be. Even have it written down in your own notes. Know where you can be flexible and where you cannot. A tactic to be avoided is to modify your job description during your interviews to suit the need of the institution. This is not useful since it questions your motivation. An attitude that conveys the notion that "I will do anything to get a job at your institution" is not a strong selling point at all.
Know as much as you can about the department you visit and the overall institution as well. The same applies when interviewing at companies, scientific agencies, or organizations. Review web sites. If you receive an itinerary before your interview, review the research programs and publications of the faculty with whom you will be meeting. Be familiar with the research that is ongoing and know who is doing what. Know which programs are the priority of the department and the institution. Identify potential collaborators before your visit by reviewing information on websites. Even before you arrive, have a set of questions that you need answered in this first visit. Remember this is a first visit so not everything needs to be covered and specifics are not always necessary. Your main objective is to determine whether the institution is potentially a good fit for your career and quality of life. The search committee wants to know if you have what it takes to set up an independent productive research program, if your program fits well with the department's research, teaching, and, if appropriate, clinical care goals and objectives, and if you yourself will fit well into the collegial group of faculty in the department. Show enthusiasm for the position and convey a sense that you are very interested in the position, even if you have moments of uncertainty during the interview process. This is best conveyed by demonstrating that you are well prepared for your visit.