First interview completed—hopefully one more to go?

I had my phone interview this morning.  It was a conference call with the three members of the search committee.  One of the things that I am usually pretty good at is anticipating questions that are bound to come up during interviews and seminars.  I was able to prepare for several of the questions and give relatively cogent answers despite being ridiculously nervous.  There was one question that threw me for a loop though—a question that I wasn’t expecting until I got further into the application process.  They asked how much start-up funding I would need to get my research going.  Usually, they don’t ask about stuff like this until later in the interview process when they are gearing up to start salary negotiations, so I was totally unprepared.  I told them I didn’t know.  Honesty can’t hurt in this situation.  (I later found out from a mentor that I should request no less than $50,000 in start-up costs just to begin my research program).  The search committee also told me that they would only have 3 questions for me.  In the end, they asked around 7.  I don’t know exactly how I feel about how it went.  Phone interviews are nerve-wracking because you don’t have the usual feedback (e.g. facial expression, etc.) to let you know how your responses are being received.   They indicated that they are selecting the finalists to give job talks within 2-3 weeks.  So I imagine I will know very soon about whether I will be called for an additional interview.  I feel decent about it, but I don’t feel as if I nailed it.  It’s easy to second-guess things that you said or to want to add things that you felt should have been mentioned in the first place.  My sympathetic nervous system has been through the wringer for the day and my 2nd round of post-interview coffee isn’t exactly helping me to calm down.  I feel like so much is at stake right now.  It was exciting and surreal to be telling the committee how much space I would need to conduct my research, what sorts of equipment I need, and how I will introduce students to the lab.  After 10 years of doing lab research, I feel like I am on the brink of finally becoming more independent with it—I am so close.  And I will be crushed if it doesn’t pan out.

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