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Immanuel Kamment

If one has a website like the one described, what valuable information is a search committee gaining from it that is not already in the application packer. One worry: they are gaining what they take to be valuable information, but which is actually misleading. For example, if one includes a picture of oneself on one's website, a search committee might gain the "valuable information" about the race, sex, gender, etc. of the applicant, which will make them *feel* as though they know that person better, but which will actually only feed into their implicit biases.

Helen De Cruz

I worry about this too, but I do think that the search committee can get more information in this way. For instance, in Europe application packages are quite minimalistic (no research or teaching statements, in my experience), and the personal website is a place where you can put those. Also, they allow search committee members to quickly look through some of your work to get a sense of the broader corpus of work, not just your writing sample.
I fear that you are right that the personal website gives information about race, gender etc that you might not want disclosed at that point. But you can still then alter the website to make that kind of info inaccessible (e.g., only placing your initials, no personal photo).


“Well, it’s not much, but my paper just got accepted in Nous"



The link mentioned in the sentence about designing your own website seems to be broken.

Helen De Cruz

Oops! it should be http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_css.asp (Marcus will fix the link).

Marcus Arvan

Different website hosting services (Google, Wix, etc.) have easy-to-use interfaces for creating websites. Some of them are far easier to use--and look far better--than others. I'm not a fan of Google's platform. I use Wix, which is not very expensive, and I am very happy with how easy it is to make a good looking site.

Axel Gelfert

Here is a little personal anecdote on the topic of Facebook, which points to a perhaps unexpected source of awkwardness. A while ago, I was shortlisted for a senior position in Europe (which, unfortunately, I didn't get). Immediately before my job talk, the Chair of the search committee -- a kind and entirely well-meaning colleague -- went around the room introducing the various committee members to me (a total of 12 people or so). No doubt in an attempt to break the ice and make things a little more personal, in two cases he introduced the colleagues as my "Facebook friends". What made this a little awkward was the fact that, in one of the two cases, I wasn't actually connected with that colleague on Facebook (or on any other social network site) at the time, and in fact had never emailed with or even met her (except as a member of the audience at a rather large conference where she had given a keynote). Obviously, given the circumstances, I couldn't very well correct the Chair on this (minor) point, which in any case almost certainly made no difference (though, of course, one might wonder whether the opinion of an -- alleged -- "Facebook friend" of the candidate will be accorded ever so slightly less weight in the committee's deliberations). So, at least in settings like these, it might be best to refrain from commenting on people's putative online connections (unless they are of a more public nature, as when two colleagues are co-bloggers or some such).

Helen De Cruz

Alex: this is indeed unpleasant and awkward. A good reminder to be cautious about this


Just out of curiosity, how many people on search committees have looked at job candidate webpages *during* a search?

I have not looked at any while acting on a search committee, though I don't have a considered opinion about the issue. I just look at the documents we've requested as a committee. But some others I've been on search committees with have talked about things they found on webpages. I just wonder if this is a common practice.

This is not to say that I never look at webpages. If I read something interesting (book, journal, blog) I'll often look at the author's webpage to learn more about them.

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