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Inside Higher Ed: Killing the Conference Interview

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/09/09/economists-end-single-hotel-room-interviews-and-historians-end-conference-interviews

The American Historical Association recently has stopped the practice of interviews at their annual meeting. The American Economic Association ended single hotel room interviews at their annual meeting.

While I understand the convenience of offering interviews for job openings during our annual meeting for the Society for Music Theory, I believe our organization should look into ending the practice as well. There are a couple of compelling reasons why we should not continue this practice.

First, not everyone can afford to travel to the annual meeting. Air travel is increasingly expensive with decreasing options at regional airports. Furthermore, some people (especially those in adjunct roles) may not be allowed to take the time off to attend the conference due to their contractual responsibilities. 

Second, there is the possible for an uncomfortable dynamic in these interviews, especially depending on what rooms are available for the interviews. Single hotel room interviews are just unacceptable in 2019. I am under the belief that this is an incredibly uncommon practice for the SMT, but I would like to see the society formally stop this practice. 

Third, it takes time away from the conference itself. I generally go to the conference to see some papers and socialize with peers. Again, as convenient it is to host an interview at the annual conference, it actually takes away from the purpose of the conference which is to openly share scholarship and build long lasting connections.

With the ubiquity of video conferencing, there is little need for in-person interviews for the first round these days, especially at an event that everyone cannot make (for whatever reason). In the pursuit of fairness and to also curb any possible venue for misconduct, I would advocate that SMT should consider ending the practice of interviews at the annual conference meeting. 

Devin Chaloux

Indiana University

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  • 2 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  •  

    Thanks for these important points. I just wanted to add the official SMT Policy on Interview Rooms at the Annual Meeting Hotel (which I only knew about because I've been migrating content over to the new website):

    The Society for Music Theory does not condone the practice of conducting job interviews in private non-suite hotel rooms. Candidates asked to interview in hotel bedrooms or other inappropriate spaces are requested to report such incidents to the SMT (by contacting the President, Vice-president, or Executive Director) and are guaranteed anonymity.

    https://societymusictheory.org/administration/interview

    Megan L. Lavengood  |  Assistant Professor, George Mason University

  •  

    Thanks for these important points. I just wanted to add the official SMT Policy on Interview Rooms at the Annual Meeting Hotel (which I only knew about because I've been migrating content over to the new website):

    The Society for Music Theory does not condone the practice of conducting job interviews in private non-suite hotel rooms. Candidates asked to interview in hotel bedrooms or other inappropriate spaces are requested to report such incidents to the SMT (by contacting the President, Vice-president, or Executive Director) and are guaranteed anonymity.

    https://societymusictheory.org/administration/interview

     

    I didn't know that - but that is a great start. IIRC, it didn't seem like there were too many interviews these days happening at the conference, but as the AHA did, now might be the best time to move on from allowing them at the conference.  

    Devin Chaloux

    Indiana University