How Not To Video-Conference

As explained in “Ready for Your Close-Up?” in the Chronicle of Higher Education, some institutions can’t afford to reimburse job applicants for travel to their campuses. So for initial interviews at least, they resort to video-conferencing. Queue some funny stories:

“You might think that today’s Ph.D.’s — many of whom have grown up with video as a part of online communication — are already masters of self-presentation on camera. Sadly, you would be wrong. Here are a few cautionary tales from some of the selection committees I have worked with:

  • 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 midinterview, knocking everything over — and howled loudly for the rest of the interview when finally forced to stay in the adjoining room.”

And don’t forget this viral one.