I just came back from an on-campus interview (for a job I won’t get, because they clearly have an inside candidate), and I think I pretty much nailed it. That’s mostly because I wasn’t trying too hard; after all, the search is cooked, so I just relaxed and talked about my work. But I couldn’t help myself from making it damned clear that I would really, really, really love the job. I was as effusive in my professions of love as a middle-schooler in heat. Much of it came in response to the question I was asked a billion times: “So, how do you like it here?” “Like it? I love it!” But of course I love it, because I want the job. And the search committee knows that. What they don’t know is whether they love me, and that’s the point of the on-campus: for the committee to decide which of three people they want to spend the rest of their academic lives with. I’m not sure there’s much that I could have done to make the search committee love me — in this, a job hunt isn’t all that different from the pursuit of human affection. I suppose I probably should have been more coy, maybe played hard-to-get. But not too much, though; the trick is to make them want you, but not think that you’re so far out of their league that they might as well not even try. This takes a particular kind of personality, a certain sort of self-assured-ness that I don’t possess. After all, I’m still astonished that I’ve gotten this far; the thought that I might actually be a desirable candidate is hard to fathom. Again, this is as in life — I certainly don’t deserve my partner, and I’m constantly amazed by my great good fortune in that area. On the whole, I think this is a good thing: my humility has kept me working hard as an academic and as a partner/friend. But a little more confidence might not be a bad thing on the job market.