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I have been working at University of Cambridge full-time
Academic freedom, great colleagues and mentors
Low budget sometimes makes it difficult to carry out computationally ambitious research
I applied online. I interviewed at University of Cambridge in April 2020.
I originally applied for this post online and was invited for an interview, which was then cancelled as the Covid-19 pandemic forced the country into lockdown. As far as I was concerned, this interview might or might not happen until after the end of the lockdown or when restrictions have been partially lifted. Imagine my surprise to get told six weeks later that they wanted to do it over Zoom. Two written tests were also asked for, all while stuck in the house. I thought surely, this institution would be seriously considering me, it was a foregone conclusion given the trouble that they were going to while in a lockdown.
As a result, I agreed to the Zoom interview and spent several hours working on the written exercises. The interview lasted a miserly 30 minutes, comprising a "panel" of three, each in different rooms in their homes. It came across as quite casual. Questions were asked relating to the role - these were supposedly competency based but I don’t think questions like “Can you do this [particular task]?” really count as that. They did not ask anything connected to my work history or discuss my application in depth. Wondering how it would work and why the role was needed to be filled at this point in time, I later questioned why they needed someone given that universities are shut. It seemed odd and I was given a vague answer, almost like “we don’t know what is happening at all either but, hey ho, we’ll muddle through.” I was informed at the end of the interview that other people were being interviewed, but this wasn’t setting off alarm bells as I have been told that before when offered posts and as mentioned, the circumstances surrounding the interview led me to be overly confident. A few days later I was rejected - they’d bagged their ideal candidate and it wasn’t me. Getting a rejection was bad enough to stomach in the current climate but to realise that they actually went through the motions of interviewing a range of candidates as if it was normal times - this left a very bad impression and was actually depressing. The feedback also implied right from the onset that they had their ideal candidate - so given the circumstances, it would have been wiser to just interview them if filling the role was that urgent, which, quite frankly, it wasn’t. Hopefully, it will be my first and only lockdown job interview. What a joke, but it seemed the joke was on me.
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