What do you imagine when you think of someone giving a talk about their research as part of a job interview.
I think of someone at the front of the room, pointing to slides, explaining the new things that they have uncovered.
I'm on a committee to hire a new art history faculty member, and apparently they do things very differently.
For example, the talk was in a tiny little room. I sort of feel that the room should be chosen to reflect the importance of the talk. If you're hiring a new faculty member, it should be in a significant room, not a windowless interior classroom. The speaker just sat at a table in the midst of the audience and spoke from there. Again, I don't really know that the front of the room is about giving someone authority, but I do think it's something of a position of honor. It's the college saying "We're interested in you, please show us what you can do." Apparently, that's not how art history does it.
It was particularly interesting because the artist being discussed always put a separation in his paintings between the subject and the viewer. And then to have there be no separation between the presenter and the audience, it seemed that there really should have been an analogy.
And for anyone reading this blog, if you do ever become a faculty member, don't be too quick to agree to be on a search committee. It'll eat your left, even if for only a few weeks.