No one wants to meet an OMDB candidate, but every pool of candidates includes at least one of them--and sometimes more.
The OMDB candidate inspires Search Committee members to proclaim, "We'll hire Candidate X Over My Dead Body." Sometimes Candidate X becomes Candidate OMDB within nanoseconds of the start of the interview, but the rules of the game clearly state that the interview must continue to the bitter end even after the Search Committee has relegated Candidate X to the OMDB file.
What causes an otherwise hire-worthy candidate to assume OMDB status? Here are some sure giveaways (although circumstances have been changed to protect the guilty):
1. Candidate OMDB expresses a fervent desire to teach her dissertation texts and only her dissertation texts in every class from now until the end of time.
2. Candidate OMDB believes that American literature begins with Washington Irving and, when pressed to consider earlier authors, cannot envision ever teaching a text dating from before 1800.
3. Candidate OMDB oozes smug self-satisfaction while saying, "I don't know if you know anything about American literature, but..."
4. Candidate OMDB expresses a fond desire to teach just about every course in the curriculum, most especially those taught by Search Committee members, and then coyly suggests that his administrative experience would make him a prime choice for department chair.
5. Candidate OMDB name-drops shamelessly: "Maybe it's obvious that I studied with [Big Name Scholar]...."
6. Candidate OMDB transform the interview into a personal monologue, causing Search Committee members to lean back and take mental refuge in their Happy Place, so that when he finally stops chattering long enough for anyone else to get a word in edgewise, no one is alert enough to notice.
We have one more day of interviewing and we are very pleased with the quality of our candidates so far, with a very few exceptions. We've already encountered more than enough OMDB candidates for this search, so I'm hopeful that we've filled our quota and tomorrow's candidates will all be stellar. Then we'll have another kind of problem: why can't we hire all of them? That's when the provost steps in to say "Over My Dead Body."