I simultaneously like and dislike the Faculty Recruitment Conference. I like meeting people, reading the scholarship of professors-to-be; talking to candidates about their interests in teaching and scholarship; seeing friends from other faculties; spending time with my current colleagues (ok, most of the time); finding myself in an elevator with a scholar whose work I admire, but I’ve never met in person, and wondering how I can introduce myself without sounding like an academic stalker (I’m thinking that “May I please have your autograph?” would be a little too much, right?).
What I dislike is the runway that is the hotel lobby and bar — nervous candidates trying to look busy during the day, appointments committees rehashing interviews (sometimes too loudly) during evenings. I can’t help the flashbacks of prior years’ less-than-stellar interviews (some as interviewer, some as interviewee). And I’ve never been a fan of the conference hotel and its (apparent) custom of allowing used dishes, trays and cutlery to accumulate in the hallways outside interview rooms. Blech.