Monday, January 9, 2012

ITCS Graduating bits: a big hit

As I am typing students and postdocs looking for jobs are giving 5 minute presentations. It was absolutely great for the first hour. For each speaker I quickly checked
- their web page (if they kept their name on the screen long enough for me to catch it),
- the DBLP page for their publications,
- their Facebook page,
- checked whether they were applying for a job at Brown,
and jotted down for myself a few notes on their presentation and on whether I thought their interests might be a fit.

What a great way to get a quick first impression! Also a great way to get a quick sense of the pool of theory-inclined applicants this year. If I see other applicants in our database, then, even if they are not here today, this session will make it easier for me to evaluate them.

The room is full and I saw some people standing in the back.

If only this had been split into two sessions, it would be easier to pay attention. As it is, early speakers had a big advantage. If I was staying around, I would compare impressions with other Brown people and try to corner a few of those applicants to chat with them. Unfortunately I've about had it with traveling (I've logged close to 80 hours traveling in the past 22 days and only spent 12 hours at home since getting back from France), so I am not taking full advantage of this great opportunity to get a first look at job candidates; but it is a great, great idea.


  1. How ere the chair rants?

  2. I only saw Bobby Kleinberg's (was late for the others). It was very nice, I thought. He talked about an application of the "winner's curse" to job applicants being overrated unless the department hiring relies on other departments' decisions.

    I'm not sure it really helped put papers into perspective relative to one another, but it did wake people up, raise their spirits, and get them in the mood for the session.

  3. Why not just pay attention to what people have to say, how they present themselves, instead of browsing the web? I don't understand why people bother to come to talks and presentations and then spend most of their time looking at a computer screen. Sometimes I think that using smartphones, tablets and laptops should be restricted to the people who give the talk.

    Moreover, what does Facebook have to do with hiring someone? What if someone does not have a Facebook account?

  4. Facebook has nothing to do with hiring anyone, but it sometimes gives me a little piece of random information that helps me fix the person in my memory.

    How people present themselves is also very superficial in just 5 minutes. The most relevant information that might be possible to figure out so quickly is their research area, their topics of interest, and whether there's a chance that might be a fit with my department.


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