Continuing my description of the faculty search process.... Candidates come in for interviews. Each interview is a two-day affair. The candidate is scheduled to meet pretty much everyone on the search committee, and maybe a couple of other people in addition if there's time. Usually at 4:00pm on the first day, we have the candidate give a departmental colloquium. We point out to them when we invite them that the audience for our colloquia is very general - it can include undergrads, and the areas of research of the faculty members in the crowd can range from astrophysics to biophysics to high energy to AMO and CM. The point is we want to see how well the candidate communicates to a general audience about their work (usually their postdoc results, with a slide or a few at the end on future directions). After the talk is dinner with a couple of members of the committee. There are more visits on the second day. In the late morning (usually), the candidate sits down with the committee and gives a shorter (say 20 minutes) research plan talk. This is where the candidate tells us what they want to do in the near and longer term, and what kind of resources they think they'll need to do it (e.g. a big laser system, or a dilution refrigerator, or access to fab and microscopy tools, etc.). This is generally less formal than the colloquium, but it needs to be taken seriously, since this is really where the committee gets a sense of how the candidate approaches planning research. This is also where discussions about teaching happen. Depending on travel plans, there either is a second dinner, or the candidate heads out at the end of day 2.
Once the candidates have all visited, the committee sits down, compares notes, and comes up with a recommendation for the department to vote on. Once the department has made a decision, the department chair is the one who talks with the candidate about offer details. An unofficial offer letter is then prepared and sent out by the dean. Those in the game know what I mean by "unofficial": full-on offer letters come from the office of the president or the board of trustees, depending on the institution, and are essentially only prepared at the very last minute. The candidate is invited to come for a second visit - to look at lab and office space, meet the dean, bring the spouse or significant other if that's relevant, get a look at real estate, etc.
I'll write a third post about faculty searches with a few generic tips for candidates sometime soon.