If you are in Washington D.C. and have decided that you want to teach, chances are you are at the AALS Meat Market at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.  I’ve been where you are at.  Many times.  So much so that I hate the hotel and try to stay across the street at the Omni Shoreham just to avoid seeing people.  Sometimes when I walk into the hotel I go fetal in the lobby.  PTSD.

Regardless of whether you are visiting or just local to the area, here is some advice for you:

  1.  Do not hang around the lobby bar by yourself.  This isn’t dating.  So stop thinking that hanging around the bar alone signals anything other than “I’m desperate.”  The hiring committee can smell desperation like a pig smells out truffles.  Do not send that signal (in dating or hiring conferences).   Alternative:  Throw a party at the hotel bar.  Invite your friends.  Assure that they all stand in a semi-circle around you so that you are clearly the center of attention.  Seem relaxed, fun, and like you are the most popular kid in school.  Because, while this isn’t dating, hiring committees sometimes like the popular people regardless of merit.  Make sure they are all wearing blue so they impersonate fellow interviewees.  Have one dress like a homeless person to impersonate a hiring committee chair casually talking to you after hours.
  2. Remember that it is the SECOND number that tells you which tower.  The Marriott is a perfect place to torture aspiring faculty candidates.  There are two towers, yards apart, and only a limited number of elevators to get candidates to their respective floors.  Thus, if you are in room 2009 and have to go to room 2109, you have to go down two floors, then to the other tower, then up two floors.  Don’t spend your time confused in one hallway.   Alternative:  Train as if you are training for the marathon. You should be able to run up and down 8 flights of stairs, in full suit (and heels depending on gender and/or personal preference) and not appear winded before the hiring committee.
  3. Be a scholarly geek.  The hiring committee usually asks you at the end whether or not you have questions for them.  At this point, people usually ask about what the school does to support scholarship, what the school is looking for in a candidate, etc.  Do that when you get the flyback.  What I think you should do instead is ask questions about the committee members’ scholarship.  For example, if the committee is comprised of an IP scholar, a labor law scholar, and an environmental law scholar, you can read their work and find some commonalities. Example:  I notice you all write about the trials and tribulations of regulatory regimes in your respective areas.  Is it just a coincidence that you all have similar views on Chevron deference?   Bad example:  I have read all your articles.  It seems like you are all from the same school.  Is that true?
  4. Optimize your answer.  We don’t want to hear you drone on for all twenty minutes about one article.  Give a one minute answer, giving the high points.  If the committee seems riveted, go on for another minute.  In other words, don’t monopolize the conversation.  It’s not all about you, you know (even if it is).
  5. Do not wander around the hotel after hours hoping to bump into someone who will interview you.  It rarely works that way, and you seem kind of creepy.  Especially if security is escorting you away in handcuffs. If you’re going to do anything remotely creepy, it should be in a cool way.  Like maybe this.  That would be cool.
  6. If the interviewers are mean, call them on it.  I once had an interview where the interviewers made it clear to me that interviewing me was a huge mistake (apparently, their colleagues, who didn’t show to the meeting, were the ones who wanted to interview me).  I tortured them for twenty minutes, asking the interviewers questions, making jokes, and assuring them that I was fine spending awkward time with them.  They looked unhappy that I didn’t just walk out of the room.  One caveat:  Keep in mind they might just be testing you, so be poised, even as you are calling them on it.
  7. If you are out on the town between interviews and need to get back on time because you are late, do not take the Red Line Metro.  There will be a delay.
  8. In case you didn’t know, Mei Xiang, the baby Panda, passed away in September.  I tell you this now because you should not cry during your job interviews due to your weakened, exhausted, and overly emotional state.  Do not visit the zoo between interviews!
  9. Do not mention the name Brian Tamanaha.  If you don’t know who that is, do not find out.  Feign ignorance if you already know.  Too controversial.  I won’t even provide a link here to ensure you avoid temptation.
  10. Remember that law schools have massive inferiority complexes.  If you are wanted by higher-ranked schools, they may want you more.  But don’t go boasting too much.  If you act as if the interviewers are your third choice for prom date, they might grow resentful.  It might bring back images of their proms (or lack thereof).  No one likes a show off (except the person showing off at the time).

Good luck, relax, and have fun!