Request for Faculty Interview


My name is [Name Here] and I am a [My Title Goes Here] facilitating programming in both [Administrative Unit One] and [Administrative Unit Two]. My position is an assistantship through the [Office of Something] program at [Nearby University]. In my [Title of a Class Here] class I have a project where I am to interview a faculty member who does not have any close relations to [My Field]. Basically, the interview is to help us gain a faculty perspective on [topic 1], [topic 2], and [topic 3].

I was given your name by some [position title goes here] as a ?good fun professor who would be easy to talk to and interview?. I would like to conduct this interview sometime Thursday the 30th or the afternoon of Friday the 1st. This Friday the 24th also works for me and would help to give me more than enough time to turn the interview into the 4 page paper for my report but I figured it might not be enough notice. I picked these days and times thinking that you would have a normal 9-5 type schedule on campus. If this does not work for you because of classes but you would be willing to interview after 5 pm on Mon, Thurs, or Fri that would work for me as well.

I emailed all 4 of you just to simplify the email contact part. If you are available any of those 3 days or multiple nights and would not mind an interview that shouldn’t take more than an hour, just email me back and . I appreciate you help in advance and understand if you have too many previous engagements to be able to conduct the interview.

Thanks for your time.

I look forward to hearing from you and meeting you.Request for Faculty Interview (Jerz’s Literacy Weblog)

There’s a difference between “fun… easy to talk to” and “doormat”.

I and three other “fun” professors got this message earlier this week. I checked my schedule, decided where I could fit this person in, and sent a reply.

I got no response.

Maybe I’m over-reacting, but since this message came on a very busy day, I’m irked.

It was a very good rhetorical strategy to mention that my name came up as “good fun professor who would be easy to talk to and interview.” Of course, I don’t feel particularly “fun” as I use this (carefully anonymized) message as an example of how not to write effective professional e-mail.

The message lacks the “you” attitude — that is, the extra bit of effort that an author of professional correspondence invests in order to craft a message for the benefit of the receiver. While the title (“Request for Faculty Interview”) was good, “Name Here” spent far more time than was necessary talking about him/herself.

Note the warning, “I will probably just go with the first person to email me back.” This sender asked for four people’s attention, knowing that he/she only needed a positive response from one, and planned in advance not to respond to each individual response. Isn’t that essentially the same thing as spamming?

Since the sender put my name in the “To” line, I can see the names of the other 3 “good fun” professors — one of whom was obviously chosen over me.

It would have been far more gracious for this author to send a single message to a single recipient:

When would be a good time to schedule an hour for an interview, for my [Title of Class Goes Here] class, sometime between now and Oct 1? I am free anytime Thursday or Friday afternoons.

I’m interested in learning more about [topics 1, 2, and 3]. I’m asking you because, according to some of my [associates], you are a “fun and good professor who would be easy to talk to and interview,” so I look forward to meeting you.