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Bargaining and Negotiating for Academic and Non-Academic Jobs. Kofi Lomotey, Chancellor, Southern University and Zeb Kendrick, Associate Dean, Temple University . Interviews: What you See and Do Not See. Types of Institutions Size Ethnicity/ Diversity Teaching vs. Research

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Bargaining and Negotiating for Academic and Non-Academic Jobs

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Bargaining and Negotiating for Academic and Non-Academic Jobs

Kofi Lomotey, Chancellor, Southern University


Zeb Kendrick, Associate Dean, Temple University

Interviews: What you See and Do Not See

Types of Institutions


Ethnicity/ Diversity

Teaching vs. Research

Geographical Region

Academic Ranks


Assistant Professor

Associate Professor

Full Professor

Distinguished Professor

Professor Emeritus

Careers in Academia

Order of the Presentation

  • Initial Considerations

  • Interview & Offer Decision Making Process

  • What to Bargain For

  • Tactics and Strategies

  • Publishing

  • Summary/Conclusion

  • Questions and Answers

Prepare your résumé and your business card

Listen to your voice mail greeting

Ask yourself if your e-mail username is appropriate

Check your Myspace, Facebook, etc.

Dress in business attire suitable for a formal interview

Err on the side of conservatism and formality

Be aware of dining etiquette when at meals

Initial Considerations

What Happens Before You Come

  • Roles of Department Chairperson, the Search Committee Chairperson, Faculty and Dean

    • Job description

    • Interview meetings

What You Must Do Prior to Arriving for the Interview

  • Search the website of the institution

    • Learn the structure of the Department, College, and University

    • Read the handbooks

  • Know the names of faculty and their research

    • Web of Science:

    • PubMed:

  • Request meetings with the individuals who can help to advance your research agenda

  • Be prepared to address collaborative research possibilities

  • Know the courses being taught

  • Request to meet with students if possible

  • Academic Interview Tips:During the Interview. . .

    • Give complete answers

    • Be confident

    • Do not negotiate at the interview

    • Emphasize your philosophy

    • Focus on your theoretical strengths

    • Maintain eye contact

    • Be prepared with your own questions

    What You Should Ask During the Interview Process

    • Expected timeline & when you’ll hear from them

    • Discuss with Chairperson: teaching load & start-up

    • Learn about expectations for Tenure and Promotion

    • If you are an underrepresented ethnicity or gender in the department, ask what thenear future and 5-year plan is faculty and student diversity

    How to Blow an Interview

    • Arrive late

    • Be rude to the receptionist

    • Answer questions with trite responses

    • Don’t ask questions

    • Answer the standard “Tell us about yourself” with “What do you want to know?”

    • Use poor table manners/drinking behavior

    How to Blow an Interview

    • Use inappropriate language

    • Trash-talk your former boss

    • Ask the interviewer to not contact your former employer

    • Exaggerate your accomplishments or credentials

    • Do not thank the interviewer

    What to Do Within a Few Days Following the Interview

    • Follow-up thank you correspondence with all members of the search committee, department chairperson, Dean/Administrator

    • Follow-up correspondence with faculty with whom you may collaborate

    What Happens After You Leave

    • Roles of Search Committee, Department Chairperson, Faculty, and Dean

    • Deadline Process

      • Typically 1-2 weeks after formal written offer

      • Can ask for more time

      • Controlling the pace

    Should You Ever Initiate First Contact After the Interview?

    • Initiate first contact if you:

      • have a new interview somewhere else (?)

      • Received a job offer

      • Major change in your vita

    What to Bargain For

    Dean/Administrator’s Perspective

    • Most Assistant Professor applicants lack the essential conceptualization of the process

      • Start-up packages are to begin a program of research or to move a productive lab from one institution to another institution

      • Perception is that the start-up package is an entitlement

    Must Clearly Articulate to the Dean/Administrator

    • What you add to the unit in terms of research and teaching

    • What grant proposals (funding sources) you plan to submit

    • What support you need to be successful (equipment and personnel)

    New Faculty Member’s Perspective

    • Many junior faculty are more anxious to get an offer and feel awkward negotiating for more than the standard offer

    • Need to be comfortable with ambiguity and should not accept an offer too quickly out of sense of desperation/relief to get an academic job offer

    • Express enthusiasm over the offer and ask for a week to think things over

    New Faculty Member’s Perspective

    • Negotiate for SPACE! Real and anticipated space as the research agenda develops

    • Have a well thought out and a justifiable position on your needs

    • Prepare a list of start-up requirements with justification and approximate price

    • Get start-up package in writing including the teaching load

    Joint Appointments in Departments or Centers

    • May request an appointment to a college center or a research group

    • Joint appointments may be an asset for research purposes

    • Joint appointments have drawbacks

      • Who provides the funding?

      • To whom does one answer?

      • What are the time commitments?

    Master and Doctoral Students

    • Teaching responsibilities should involve a graduate class so you can interact with graduate students

    • Maynot want to rush into a doctoral advising role, perhaps a year or so serving on committees before beginning to advise doctoral students

    • Be sure to determine the importance of undergraduate teaching for tenure and promotion

    Tactics and Strategies

    The Institution

    Your Job Title

    Job Responsibilities

    Start Date

    Reporting Relationship


    Non-Salary Compensation

    Professional Growth Opportunities

    Work Environment

    Quality of Life

    Evaluating The Initial Offer

    Negotiations Overview

    • The nature of your negotiations will depend on level of appointment, e.g., assistant, associate, or full professor or administrative.

    • Negotiate for all that you can before accepting a job; it is often extremely difficult after acceptance.

    • A desired item may be inappropriate; determine whether it is important to you; if so, make the request.

    • Salary is important, but sometimes negotiated perks can offset a lower than desired salary.

    Negotiating A Salary . . .

    • Research the average salary for your rank at the receiving institution and accept no less than that.

    • In some instances you can negotiate for the maximum salary for that rank.

    • Some institutions acknowledge that there is a separate salary scale for African-American faculty because there are significantly fewer A-A faculty and A-A are desired in most institutions.

    Negotiating Relocation Expenses. . .

    • It is fairly standard for universities to pay a percentage of a new faculty member’s moving costs; get as much as you can!

    • Percentage is usually relative to the rank of employment.

    • If the institution claims that they are prevented from providing moving costs by institutional or state policy, ask for summer funding with no employment responsibilities or to be put on the payroll early.

    Negotiating for Equipment

    • Items should be prioritized and well-justified

    • Cross-over value to others may help

    • Match research paradigm to equipment

    • Software needs may be as important as hardware needs

    Teaching Load

    • At research Universities ask for a 1 and 1 or a 2 and 1 combination for first 2 or 3 years

      • The first 3 years are critical to begin ones research agenda and submit for external funding

      • Negotiate for at least one graduate class, This will expose you to potential graduate students to work with you.

    Negotiating for a Research Assistant or Lab Technician

    • Should negotiate for a RA or lab tech

    • Temporary term of RA or lab tech should be for 2 to 3 years depending upon likelihood for funding

    • After 3 years, grants should fund the RA and/or lab tech

    • If no full-time RA or lab tech is available, negotiate for a part-time person


    Computer equipment

    Employment for spouse



    Teaching load

    Travel money

    A center

    Summer teaching/ research salary

    Bringing students

    Bridge loan

    Campus/city visits

    Other Items Up for Negotiation

    Final Thoughts on Negotiating

    • Know what is most important to you & prioritize it

    • Avoid making the first offer; wait until you have a verbal offer

    • “Grudgingly” but tactfully give away what you don't care about

    • Ask for time to think about it, even if it is everything you want

    Final Words

    • Be well informed about the department and the institution

    • Dress in business attire (formal or casual) at professional meetings as well as the interview

    • Be honest and true to yourself!


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