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SLAC chair

As per usual, this will depend on where you are applying. As chair of a SLAC philosophy dept, I can tell you that we would not mind the lack of publications *if* you have teaching experience, show interest in a teaching position, and have letters attesting to your ability to finish in the spring. I can also tell you that we will get a bunch of applications from folks at top-15 schools with publications and teaching experience.

The Other Side

I work at a 4 year state college. It is a decent place, but not spectacular. I cannot imagine a person without a publication in a recognized journal, (not Phil Review, but Erkenntnis or Philosophia, or something of that sort), even getting on our list of 10 to get a Skype interview. I think it is terrible that graduate students are finishing their PhDs without being able to place a paper in such a journal.
I think things are quite a bit easier for graduates from top 15 programs, though. Some committees (not here, though!) say "he/she has promise, let's give them a chance."

anonymous person

I (recently) got a job without any publications coming from a "top ten" program. I have since been on search committees in my own (Leiter ranked R1) department. Despite succeeding in getting a job myself without a publication, I would strongly suggest trying to publish before going on the market, especially if you have a possible sixth year of funding. There are just too many ways to weed people out of a pool with tons of stellar applicants in it, and that is one of them. (You could also perhaps apply selectively to tt jobs, and apply to good postdocs, many of which seem more ok with a lack of publications.) I have a vague impression that for the most part, the only departments willing to still hire on "promise" are themselves very elite departments. So if you have the sense that you will otherwise be competitive in those searches, you could try just applying to elite R1s.

Only Wednesday

"I think it is terrible that graduate students are finishing their PhDs without being able to place a paper in such a journal."

I think it is terrible that graduate students are publishing so much so fast.

Roy T Cook

It seems to me that in recent years departments are far less likely to do the "he/she has promise, let's give them a chance" thing than they were in the past. This likely has to do with more limited resources, and thus a higher risk involved in gambling on future promise in this way, rather than hiring someone with an established track record. And, if this is the right analysis of at least part of the cause, the trend will likely only get worse in the future.

Also, the whole "HE/she has promise, let's give them a chance" reaction looks worrisome to me in terms of how such choices might be biased in ways that are well-known and well-discussed hereabouts.

Philosophy Adjunct

This is somewhat off-topic, but I bring it up here as a comment/response to some things said in this thread.

It would be great to know if there is any data available on how many people hired for their promise (= no publications + pedigree + contacts + `lets given them a chance'?) actually ended up living up to it?

I can think of at least one instance of someone from a top program who got their /second/ job an at ivy league department without publishing anything, and who has published only one peer-reviewed article - in a top journal, granted - since graduating just short of a decade ago.

It would be interesting to know how typical/atypical this is.

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