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UK Postdoc

Hello all,

I've been flogging myself again this year applying for jobs. Feel the pain!

Anyway, every now and then I come across a job that wants a ton of specialized materials. It seems immoral to make an applicant spend an entire day trying to apply for your job. Also, sometimes jobs ask for redundant materials, which is confusing and stressful.

This UK job does both. It asks for all the below in addition to answering a redundant series of questions about your teaching experience, publications, and so on that they make a point of insisting you answer. So, when applying, presumably you'd end up repeating yourself constantly.

A cover letter which includes the following summary information: Area(s) of Specialisation, Area(s) of Competence, start date of graduate work, PhD completion date (or expected completion date), number of publications in peer-reviewed journals or edited collections;
2. A standard cv;
3. A research writing sample (maximum 10,000 words);
4. A publication list, with peer-reviewed publications starred, followed by a descriptions of future plans (max 1,000) words) eg. future article or book plans, elaboration of research themes or projects, possible grant applications, future speaking invitations, conference or workshops plans;
5. A teaching statement (max 1,000) words) eg. modules you might like to teach at Leeds, experience of teaching, statement of approach to teaching, experience of teaching in different formats or evidence from course evaluation questionnaires.

Regarding the teaching statement for a UK job. UK jobs seldom give you much room to teach the way you want, having to follow the department's assessment policies etc. So, a US style teaching statement seems to be the wrong sort of statement. I wrote a US style teaching statement for applying to US jobs, but it would be useless here I think. Also, teaching statements are never asked for in the UK. So, it's not like UK applicants will be used to this or have one prepared. It'll take them hours and hours!

Notice the 'description of future plans' isn't a simple research statement either. It's also not simply a research proposal or project proposal. It's a custom thing they want.

I suppose all the redundancies have something to do with the bloated out of control admin in the UK. Anyway, no thanks! I might be a masochist, but I'm sore enough already!

In this extraordinarily bad job market (if 'market' is even the right term for the mess we have to deal with), can departments please work to streamline applications? Don't force us poor underemployed or unemployed philosophers to spend entire days working on single applications that we have 1% chance of getting interviews for anyway!



I agree with you UK postdoc, this is completely immoral. Granted, I am sure most of it is due to administrator demands, but in that case the administrators are being immoral. And I believe the faculty have a duty to try and resist this to whatever extent they can.

I applied to two jobs in Europe last year (non-uk) and each took me almost an entire day. In addition to a CV, they asked for like 10 individual documents listing things that are obviously included on a CV. For instance they wanted a separate document with publications, with presentations, teaching experience, education, etc. Completely pointless. I also had to answer two pages of random questions, and there was specific instructions to *NOT* tell them to refer to your CV, personal statement, or research statement etc.


I ran into a job at Oxford once that required you to mail in your application. Yes, paper and ink, and a postage stamp. I actually did it, but to no avail.

Come to think of it, I remember a US university requiring a snail mail application a few years ago. I didn't bother with that one.

About 10-20% of UK jobs seem to ask for tons of redundant materials. I personally feel I don't understand how to apply for those kinds of jobs. Do they really want me to copy and paste the same stuff from my CV over and over in addition to supplying my CV?

I wonder whether there is some secret I don't know?

Everlasting Godstopper

The Leeds requests are rather dubious anyway: specifically, asking for the start and (expected) end date of graduate work is a nice, convenient way to weed out those who have had a non-linear path through no fault of their own. Beyond that, I think you are both exactly right about the ever increasing redundant time consuming demands.

The U.K job 'market', if you can call it that, is absolutely shocking. It now seems that the best most of us can hope for - at least, if we are not well-connected - is a temporary teaching contract that, even if advertised part time, will very likely become much more than that (see the recent UCL ad for which the pay is appalling). I've made the choice *not* to apply for such things this year since they are unlikely to lead to anything whilst eating into research time. Better to have a non-academic p/t gig and research around that as far as I can tell.

But .. we all know how bad it is. I'm just grateful we have a blog like this where we can commiserate, and be open about the situation, without fear of any sort of reprisal.

Number Three

Is this anyone else's last attempt to land a permanent job? This is my third attempt at the job market, and I promised myself that I would leave academia if I couldn't land something tenure track this year. No VAP's, no post-docs. I'm not even applying for those. I have already applied for some specialized non-academic jobs.


I ran into two US jobs last year that required snail mail applications. One of them I did not apply. The other I sent everything by email anyway, although I'm sure it was ignored.


This is my last year trying to obtain a decent job in philosophy. Been a long and tiring process. I’ve paid for it psychologically, physically, and financially.

Recent Grad

Second and if unsuccessful last run at the job market. Applied to 60+ last year, 1 interview on Skype (AOS not in demand). Applying to significantly less now. Have to avoid committing the sunk cost fallacy.


It's my last year on the market. I have a CV that would suffice to get tenure at most research universities. If this isn't enough, nothing will be.

Judging from the studies and how last year turned out, it seems like being a white man is just too big a hurdle to overcome.

Postdoc Quinns

JobSeeker: Ditto, ditto, ditto, and ditto.


Except of course, for all the white men I know who got jobs. I know several personally.



It would be nice if we could talk about these issues with a little sympathy, and cool it with the snark.

The point you make is not a good one. The question is not whether there are white men who got jobs, or whether white men got a certain proportion of jobs. The question is whether it is possible for a white man, like me, to get a job. The answer appears to be no. If you are a woman, it is highly likely you will get a job. If you are a man, it is highly likely you will not.


I am the one who is snarky? Kinda rich coming from a person who said, "being a white male is to hard a hurdle to overcome". Like clearly, that must be the reason you are not getting hired. It is amazing that you say it appears it is not possible for a man like you to get a job, when plenty of white men get jobs every year. So, um, it does appear possible. (you didn't say likely, 'possible).

And I am supposed to be sympathetic, because clearly, women have it easy these days. If you pay attention to my comments on here, I almost never talk about being a woman. That is not something I think about much. But to act like you know the reason you are not getting a job is because you are white man, based on the fact that it is slightly more likely for a woman to get a job, is just making yourself feel better. Women are getting hired almost in exact proportion to the number they are graduating. (I think slightly higher). Not to mention, we make a tiny proportion of the overall tenure track market, especially elite schools. Maybe you should think about the best way to market your CV, because having a publication record good enough to get tenure at a research school will put you out of the market for like all teaching jobs. Not sure if you went to an elite school, but the research market is usually only for those at elite schools. This very well could explain why you have not gotten a job. Not being a white man, having a publication record that means it is likely you are to jump ship.

By the way, women are MUCH more likely to specialize in ethics rather than MandE. Schools are hiring much more in ethics rather than MandE. That alone could explain the slightly higher chance that women are more likely to get hired. So don't act like you know it is because a woman is a woman. Maybe that happens sometimes. But to claim that I should have sympathy toward you, like it is some kind of fact women are getting jobs just because of their gender, well that needs a better argument. Because there are a lot of things that can explain the slightly higher rate of women getting hired. If you want to have a real discussion, and set forth a hypothesis, then do so. I don't have an issue with that. I don't have an issue with saying women AT TIMES get hire unfairly. But I do have an issue with acting like its an obvious fact your race and gender explain why you didn't get hired, and therefore we should all feel sorry for you.

So let me repeat myself. White men get jobs every year. So it would not appear the fact you are a white man is not what is stopping you from getting a job, full stop. That is not a sufficient condition. But it is good to know that people like you will assume that if I get a job it is because I am a woman. I would ask for a sympathy, but I'm not that kind of girl. Nonetheless, every time a man (or woman) attributes my success to being a woman, it kinda sucks, fwiw.


It’s an established fact based on Jennings data that women have an advantage on the job market. That doesn’t mean all women have it easy. Amanda has had a tough time of it. I think the women plugged into the ‘more women in phil’ community get networked into jobs. Not all women are part of that community or agree with it.

A white male from a non-prestigious program who works on core philosophy is probably in the worst position in this market. But not all women are in a good position. I think that’s important to understand. I think only those women with the right connections are going to have an easy time with the market.

Everlasting Godstopper

Hi Jobseeker,

I'm sure I saw some data on the discrepancy between male and female hires recently, any ideas?

The only caveat I would add is: if you have a certain background. At least in the U.k, where it's extraordinarily rare to see someone from a non-traditional background, and/or someone who has taken a non-traditional path through their studies, secure a permanent post. Then, if you are not well-connected, it's more difficult still.

We have also reached an insane situation where we're (usually) expected to have a research profile rivalling that of a more senior academic. Many academics simply would not be competitive in the current climate yet somehow see fit to pass judgement on those who do not get jobs ("work hard and you'll get a job" says one 'academic' in my dept. who was last seen publishing in 2006 - there should be repercussions for those on the gravy train like this).

There are massive issues in the discipline, and I am continuously baffled by the silence from those who can genuinely effect change.

jolyon wagg

Riiiiiiight. That's why the list on PhilJobs of new appointment has only women's names on it. You keep telling yourself that, champ.



You are not the only job candidate who has a CV that would get them tenure at research schools. Many women and people of color have CVs just like yours and do not have jobs. The problem is the market, which is terrible for everyone. (And, in your case, the problem might be arrogance and your attitude if you express these sorts of things in public.)

Women and people of color (along with members of other underrepresented groups in the discipline) have to work extra hard to be where they are. The profession is waking up to this issue - if you want to be in it, you should too.

I am truly sorry that you have struggled on the job market. I feel for you and everyone else who has worked so hard to get a Ph.D. and follow their dreams. But, the system is not fair and not everyone will get a job. Blame the system, not women and colleagues of color.


“The odds of women obtaining a permanent academic placement within two years is 65% greater than men when all else is held constant,” according to an analysis discussed by Carolyn Dicey Jennings, Patrice Cobb, and David Vinson (UC Merced) at the Blog of the APA.


Marcus Arvan

Everyone: It's fine if you want to discuss this issue respectfully. But please, no snark. I'm not going to allow any more snarky comments. The Cocoon is a supportive forum. Please respect its mission.

Number Three

Contra JobSeeker, it might be the case that women have a higher probability of obtaining a job than men, while the claim that "[i]f you are a woman, it is highly likely you will get a job" is false. Everyone's chances are low.

Having been privy to hiring procedures a couple of times, I do know that at least some schools have a bias in favor of hiring women and minority philosophers for several reasons. Often, it is simply because it is the only way they can actually make a hire, given certain bureaucratic structures within their colleges and universities.

In any case, holding the belief that "I won't be hired because I am a white man" is irrational, at least practically if not epistemically. Do you think holding this attitude and stewing on it is going to make it more likely that you get a job? Perhaps it makes it more likely that you will plan for a career outside of academia, which would be a rational move in my opinion, but everyone should be doing that anyways. As I said, everyone's chances are low.


To change things up a bit, has anyone heard back from any jobs? I know it is stipl quite early, but I thought I would ask.

Round two

I couldn't agree more with Number Three's sentiment: it's a crap job market for everybody, and most people come out disappointed. I'm a white dude on the market for the second time, and I sometimes find myself tempted by the small comfort that some kind of discrimination explains my lack of success. But though that thought is tempting, it's also a recipe for racist and sexist resentment, and that's just not who I want to be, job or no job. So instead, I think about how I know plenty of people who eventually left philosophy and are doing perfectly fine in their non-academic jobs. It's not the end of the world if we don't get permanent jobs in philosophy, and the frustration of the job market isn't worth turning yourself into a worse person. The job market sucks, but we don't have to.


I would also add that, one of the criticisms of the CJ report is that it treats postdocs like "non-permanent" positions. The thing is, many people from elite schools, many men, take 2-5 years in a prestigious postdoc and then get a research job. The CJ report would act like these men are simply not getting permanent positions, when really, they are taking a bit longer to get a research job because they are spending years at a prestigious research post. Women are more likely to be in hot fields like feminism and ethics and focus on teaching. Why that is is an interesting question too. But when you look at the numbers of faculty at top research schools, they are overwhelming men. (Which arguably, could have something to do with the specialties that research schools lean toward).

Do sometimes schools have a preference for hiring women? Yes. Does that mean that women overall have an advantage based merely on thier gender? No. Simply women getting hired more is not enough to say that, because other things about women (like their AOC) could explain that. So it is not true that we know women have an advantage, full stop. There are various advantages and disadvantages that women have, and it is hard to weigh them all. I am beginning to think it is a big disadvantage that so many men I know assume women have it easy. I am told that a lot.

People of every race and gender get hired every year. And I know women and non-white persons who struggle year after year to get a job. The market is tough for everyone. I know people from top schools with amazing records that do not get hired, while their MALE colleagues with much less impressive records do get hired. It is hard to understand, no doubt.

I have a permanent job, btw. It started out as non-tt and I just recently (last few weeks) negotiated to tt track.I knew when I took it there was a good but not guaranteed chance this could happen. It took me two seasons and I had a research post first. Many people have told me I got the job because I am a woman, as opposed to my publication record, interesting area of research, teaching experience, other experience, letters, etc.

another postdoc

I haven't heard anything back interviews-wise. But committees seem to be moving: one that asked only for contact information from my references recently received my letters from interfolio. This was about 3.5 weeks after I submitted my application. Though perhaps that was just a bureaucratic delay and they ask from everyone.

On another front: a search committee (not in a philosophy department, with a much earlier deadline) asked for a copy of my full dissertation. Anyone had something like that before? I'm >3 years out at this point, and I have newer (better, I hope!) things published on the topic, so I'm a bit curious about this request (I sent it, obviously).

Number Three

The chance that someone will want to see my dissertation fills me with dread.

Marcus Arvan

Thanks to those of you who have continued the conversation respectfully.

One person did attempt to post a comment that I did not approve. I did not approve it, because in my judgment it was snarky (see my earlier comment). If you'd like to make your argument without the snark, I'm happy to post it.


The dissertation-obsession of search committees irritates me. It smacks of head-in-the-sand faculty members who haven't recognized that (a) most people who are going to apply for their job are >3 years out from their PhD, and that (b) everyone is publishing like crazy to try to get a job.

Same story for transcripts. (Looking at you Fullerton.)

recent grad

I think that the original commenter complaining about not getting hired due to the fact that he's male was, as Amanda explained, saying something that he was not entitled to. Nevertheless, I think that the following comment by Amanda is unhelpful:

"People of every race and gender get hired every year. And I know women and non-white persons who struggle year after year to get a job. The market is tough for everyone. I know people from top schools with amazing records that do not get hired, while their MALE colleagues with much less impressive records do get hired. It is hard to understand, no doubt."

Imagine telling a person of color who was upset that there is a huge achievement gap between black and white Americans that "people of every race and gender get hired jobs every year; that you know women and non-white persons who struggle year after year to get a job; that the economy is tough for everyone" and so on. That person would be right to mention that s/he is concerned about the way that being a person of color affects your chances in the U.S., even if some people of color do well and some white people do poorly.

So, the most relevant info is the group statistics. Now, there might be ways to explain those statistics that are compatible with their beings no injustice. But anecdata do not seem very pertinent.


I have no problem with the suggestion that sometimes white males are not treated on merit alone, because sometimes there is a preference to hiring a woman. My objection was the suggestion that someone knows the reason that they personally are not hired is because they are a white male. Nobody knows that, or even has very strong reason to believe that. That are far too many compounding factors. Men are treated unfairly sometimes. So are women. And so are minorities. The latter two of course have a much longer systematic history of such unfairness, but it is understandable that anyone is upset at being treated unfairly.


Hey Amanda, I'm sure you deserved your job. And congratulations! However, putting that aside, I believe the data we have has tried to account for research area and other things. Nothing is perfect, but our best evidence does seem to suggest women have an advantage. Not every women, but in general.

Although it's always good to question empirical findings and look for alternative explanations, I think it would be irrational to be to quick to explain away the findings in question as anomalies, especially given that there is a strong movement in philosophy to increase the number of female philosophers. It wouldn't be surprising if this movement were having an impact on hiring, in fact, the opposite.

From reading your posts it wasn't clear to me whether you agree with the program to increase the number of women in philosophy through preferential hiring. Some people aren't. I think rational and moral people can disagree with this program. However, if you agree with it, I wonder why you are so eager to explain away the findings showing that the program is working?

Only Wednesday

I recently had two video interviews for schools that had mid-October deadlines. That struck me as very early and fast. I won't complain but I'm not even done submitting half of my apps.


I only know of one case in which I was not hired because of my race/gender, and a white woman, with a much worse CV, was chosen instead. I suspect that this happens more, but I do not know.

In any case, it is eye-opening to look at who was hired last year, especially at top schools.


Pendaran I do not agree with preferential hiring. Although it does happen, and I have seen it happen.(And I agree with you that rational people can disagree with it)

Again, my disagreement is not that preferential hiring doesn't happen, but I would say that the extent to which it happens is not enough evidence for anyone to claim the reason they did not get a job is because they are a white male. The effect of preferential hiring is not strong enough for such inference to be reasonable.

The reasons I do not agree with preferential hiring are not because I don't believe women don't have it rough in philosophy. I do think there is some discrimination. But for the most part, I do not think this discrimination explains the low number of women in philosophy. Moreover, I don't think affirmative action is the right answer in this instance. I think some of the disparity in total numbers between men and women in philosophy is explained by a woman's tendency to like other disciplines more. I don't believe we should try to correct this.

I have spent a long time looking at the statistics, and I think it shows an overall very slight advantage to women, when everything is taken into account. But I disagree that everything was taken into account. I know, for instance, several people at my own university that were not included in the survey. I think it did weird things when people did not have an AOS. I do not think the AOS was accurately taken into account. There is no way to really distinguish between research and teaching people,etc. So I think it is messy, at best. Notwithstanding, I do thank CJ for the job and I think there is a lot to learn from her survey, and if she continues doing it I'm sure it will improve each year.


Oh, one more thing I was trying to say. The fact that women are overall more likely to be hired does not mean it is because of preferential hiring. It could be that women happened to have the right CV's for the positions. My guess is preferential hiring played a small role in the already small advantage.


Hey Amanda,

I can't say I agree with you that there is only a very slight advantage for women. The data seems to suggest women are 65% more likely to obtain a permanent job. Yes, I get that you have some issues with the data. However, I guess I am more prone to believe it, for I've seen and heard of so many examples of preferential hiring. If you look at philjobs appointments you can easily find many examples of it too. It seems widespread. Now, I agree this isn't the best data to use. I'm just saying that my best attempts to collect evidence seem to be more or less in agreement with the more scientific data.

You have more than once said that perhaps what explains the data is that women happen to work on areas that are more popular/in demand at the moment. In reply, this may very well be true, but what's in demand is not separable from the program to increase the number of women. The discipline is changing the subjects it studies so as to increase the number of women. What was core philosophy now seems to be peripheral. Maybe those against preferential hiring would be more in favor of this approach. However, it has a similar effect. Men are excluded from jobs that they would otherwise be able to apply for, interview for, etc, and so have a harder time on the market.

Having said all this, I do not think that preferential hiring for women is the only non-merit based aspect of hiring in philosophy. Prestige bias is a big deal. There has been data on this as well. Basically you have to get a PhD from a top program if you want a research job. It's almost impossible to work your way into one, no matter how good you are. Whereas people from top programs are hired with no publications all the time. Totally unfair. Cronyism is also a large part of who gets hired I suspect, at least I've seen that dynamic at work in the UK BIG TIME. Others have posted on this website and elsewhere saying that cronyism is a bigger issue in the UK than the US, because the UK is a small country where it's easier for networkers to be widely known. Sounds plausible.

So, yes I do think there is quite a bit of preferential treatment of women in today's market. But no, I don't think that's the biggest/only issue facing job candidates. Thus, if you have a good CV but no job, you cannot know for sure what factor is working against you the most. So, here I do agree with Amanda in a sense. Also, it would be a mistake to just blame the system for your predicament and not try to improve your CV, well at least up to a point. I think eventually one does really have to move on and probably the way to do that is to tell yourself it's not your fault, that there are just too few jobs and too many dynamics working against you. As for me, my deadline is Jan.

Round two

The Phylo jobs wiki seems to be defunct this year. I'm partially grateful, because it was just one more think to check neurotically, but it did provide some arguably useful information about when to give up hope on a place. A replacement thread on the meta-forum page popped up recently, but I'm loathe to get any information from that troll-filled cesspool. I know I would trust this information more if it came via this blog, but there is also an argument to be made that it's better to ignore such things altogether, for the sake of one's mental health. Marcus, any thoughts on this?

Recent Grad

Round two,

Yes, there's a strong argument to be made that it's (psychologically) more healthy to ignore the job wiki. This is my third year on the market. The first year I made extensive use of the wiki. The second year I didn't look at it--except in a few instances of akratic weakness. I found that looking at the wiki caused me a lot of unnecessary pain and distress. You don't need to be reminded every day of every job you're being rejected from. Far less painful to gradually come to the realization you're not getting a job after a month or two. I also found it easier not to get my hopes up for certain jobs when I wasn't constantly checking their status on the wiki. That being said, the wiki can be useful for people in some circumstances, e.g., you get an offer and are waiting to see if you'll get another one. But unless there's a good reason why you need to get job information sooner rather than later, I'd avoid it.


Hi Pendaran,

Yes, you are probably right that the tendency to hire in feminism and related areas is connected to the other general desire to increase women in philosophy, diversity, etc. I wouldn't say the same about ethics. I think the tendency to hire in ethics has more to do with what will bring students to classes and increase enrollment numbers.

I completely agree with you about prestige. And I think the problem many men have is they do not come from a prestigious program, but yet they attempt a job strategy which tends to only work for those in prestigious programs. (women who try this have trouble too, but less women do) That strategy is writing a dissertation in MandE and publishing in top journals.The original "job seeker" I responded to said that if a publication record good enough to get tenure at a research school is not going to him a job, "then nothing will." This isn't true. What is more likely to get a job is less prestigious publications and more teaching experience, among other things. Now it might be true that affirmative action like measures are making it more difficult for an MandE AOS to get a job than would be otherwise, but even in ethics it is very possible to publish oneself out of teaching jobs.

Now to be clear, I don't agree that the way things work is right. I think prestigious bias is awful, and very hypocritical of a profession that pretends to be egalitarian. I think it is unfair that persons with great publication records often get pushed out of teaching jobs. (although I get why some search committees are hesitant of this). I would like things to change. But until they do, certain job strategies just work better than others.

At the end of the day, there is simply far more talented philosophers than permanent jobs, especially TT jobs. Now hiring is far from merit based, but even it was merit based this would be true. I think there should be a push both to have more generous non-tt track positions (that make living a decent life possible) and also a push for the profession to prepare people for jobs outside of academia.


I also wish the wiki was being updated though I echo the ambivalence about its value.


"I completely agree with you about prestige. And I think the problem many men have is they do not come from a prestigious program, but yet they attempt a job strategy which tends to only work for those in prestigious programs. (women who try this have trouble too, but less women do) That strategy is writing a dissertation in MandE and publishing in top journals.The original "job seeker" I responded to said that if a publication record good enough to get tenure at a research school is not going to him a job, "then nothing will." This isn't true. What is more likely to get a job is less prestigious publications and more teaching experience, among other things."

To get more teaching experience, one has to first get a job. Absent that, there isn't much obvious to do other than try to publish. However, I agree that too many publications in good places can have an impact on ones ability to get teaching jobs. The profession isn't very clear about what it values, and what students are told seldom has much connection with the reality of the job market.

Anyway, nice having this chat with you.


What's deeply frustrating is that having publications in fact seems to *cancel out* any amount of teaching experience one might have. I've got a fair number of good publications. I've also taught well over thirty courses (taught; not TA'd or whatever.). But I've been told (by people I trust) that my publications have cost me jobs. I've considered sending teaching schools a CV that simply omits some of my publications.

Actually, what do you all think of that strategy?


Pendaran, in the US it is often pretty easy to get teaching experience. Yes you need a job of some sort, but often it is not a great job and one a grad student could get. I know in the UK it is a completely different story, and people who are considering a UK PhD should take that into consideration.

Tim, you might be a good fit for prestigious slacs. They are a type of teaching school where publications don't hurt and actually help. But yes, for many teaching jobs prestigious publications could work against you, even with teaching experience. I don't know about leaving them off your CV though, it would be easy for them to google you and maybe find them. But I don't know, ethics aside it might work. Something else is to be selective with what letters you use. Like, if you have letters from research stars talking about your research, you might not want to use those. When I was applying to certain teaching jobs I was very aware of the situation, and while I never did anything directly dishonest, I certainly made strategic choices.


"But I don't know, ethics aside it might work. Something else is to be selective with what letters you use. Like, if you have letters from research stars talking about your research, you might not want to use those. When I was applying to certain teaching jobs I was very aware of the situation, and while I never did anything directly dishonest, I certainly made strategic choices."

In my view, given how unjust the market is, we have very little obligation to be honest with employers. The question is can you get away with it.

Italian anonymous

Yet another rant.

Re: Amanda first comment in this thread (1 day to apply to EU-jobs).

I am currently applying to a job in Italy. I am pretty sure one day will not be enough. The bureaucratic requirements are so annoying.

(For those interested in Italian jobs, the website for all faculty jobs is this: http://bandi.miur.it/profcalls.php/public/cercaJobs )


Perhaps the discussion should slightly alter in terms of the "job market". Since the market is obviously terrible, maybe some interest should be devoted to alternative non-academic jobs that might actually be preferable to the standard-run academic job. I say this as an individual that was on the market for a number of years who landed a TT job two years ago. At present, I'm happy that I have a job, but having an academic job is not necessarily my first choice. The pay is terrible. I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere. The crew (department) are great--so no complaints there. All said, my academic job is a crappy job with nice people. Personally, I would abandon academia given the right alternative. I have a rule of thumb that I now follow -- "The right (academic or non-academic) job in the right place" and I'll take it. How about a research position in government? Or working with secret service (they hire academics, esp., with logic-language-linguistic skills)? Other than that, there should be discussion of other non-academic opportunities out there that people are choosing to take. I have a number of friends from grad school who (intentionally) took different routes. Some landed middle of the run jobs. Others landed really interesting jobs (that I'm even jealous of at some levels). In other words, academia "ain't all that" so we should stop idolizing the academic job and start looking at BETTER jobs. I think this job market blog should thus be expanded to include such options, searches and success stories.


Tim, I think that Amanda makes some good points. If this is truly an issue then you might consider some additional ways of emphasizing that you really are committed to teaching:

Move your publications section down on your cv.
In your discussion of your research in your cover letter, focus on how it connects to your teaching.
Make sure that your teaching statement is as kick ass as it can possibly be.
Incorporate pedagogy and teaching oriented items in your service as much as possible.
Join the American Association of Philosophy Teachers and add that to your organizations if you haven't already. Also try to get on one of their programs and/or publish something in philosophy pedagogy.

These are just some ideas that come to mind, but I have no knowledge on whether they would help or not.


Sorry Italian anonymous, it is very annoying indeed. But with the rough market, often it seems there is no choice but to jump through the bureaucratic hoops. I have some friends with EU academic jobs, and I guess in day to day academic life the bureaucracy can be pretty rough as well. Funny, because the US bureaucracy is plenty bad enough, amazing it can be even worse!


"In my view, given how unjust the market is, we have very little obligation to be honest with employers. The question is can you get away with it."

Seems alarming.

Is the reasoning something like the following: (i) When engaging with unjust people or systems one no longer has a duty to act morally. Or perhaps it is this: (ii) it is not immoral to be dishonest in one's dealings with unjust people or systems.

The first seems obviously wrong. There might be something to the second. In any case, B. Williams argues for a similar thesis in Truth and Truthfulness.

UK reader

Italian anonymous,

It once took me about 4 hours (spread over several days of back-of-and-forth) to apply to a workshop at an Italian university, so it's unsurprising to hear that it takes even longer to apply for a job! An absolute joke.


Cite your publications as "select publications".


I served on search committees at two very different institutions, one a state college, and one a research institution. Let me give my perspective.
1. There is preferential hiring, especially at some institutions. This is supported by the data from the APA study. Deans and other administrators create hiring goals, which includes goals about having faculties that represent society. That is a reality. Even for those who object to this, it is the only way to get a position in the department sometimes.
2. There is NO penalty for publishing in excellent places, or even publishing a lot in good places. What I find is that people have an exaggerated sense of what an excellent journal is. Assume there are at most 20 excellent journals. I have talked with junior people who said they have four articles in excellent journals. When asked where they were published it turns out ONLY one of the journals is excellent. In one case, one of the journals was a liability (it was almost a predatory publisher - that shows very bad judgment and ignorance).
3. Teaching statements are not taken very seriously. They are most often too long. They all look the same. They sound like crap - they are laden with the latest lingo. Instead just provide evidence that you care about teaching, that you want to teach, that you are a good teacher (and if you want to go all out, that you are a reflective teacher).
4. There is a lot of prestige bias. I have sat on committees where people were passing over candidates from unranked programs for people whose accommplishments were no different, but who came from top-20 programs. The people on the committee who do this the most are those who have nothing but their prestige (an Ivy league degree and shitty publication record after 20 years). As a member on a search committee it is hard to push against all injustices. You pick your battles, and you have to work with these same turds for years to come.
5. The killer for most people's application is their letter of application. I do not think most people are getting any help with their letters. Marcus has talked about getting a consultant. You do not need to pay for that. You should either get a faculty member to help - they owe it to you. They are paid to help. Or ask Marcus - I have even helped people from this site before, mediated through Marcus in one case.
People put very odd things in the letters. They go on and on about their research and nothing else. What does that say about your priorities or your balance? They mention irrelevant things, like computer skills. Pitch yourself as a serious academic. They provide exaggerated assessments of their accomplishments. They say they have 4 papers in great journals, when they have four paper, and one is in a great journal. They say too much about teaching, and often quite silly emotional things. The committee wants to know if you are going to go into the classroom and do your job, and be professional about it. That is they key thing we need.
6. In general, I think you are judged on the basis of your best accomplishment. So, your publishing potential will be evaluated on the basis of the best journal you published in. This is why prestige of school ends up counting. It indicates how good you are (or were at one time). Is that fair? Surely not. But that is the reality. If he/she got into Harvard she must be good ... we will just give them time. The many others from elsewhere do not get that chance.
7. In publishing what does count against people are long lists of publications in obscure journals. It looks like the person just wants to publish. I see journals listed that I have never ever heard of before. And sometimes you see a list of 10 publications and you have only heard of one of the journals. It is better to slow down, and start trying to publish in more selective and recognized journals. You do not need to be in the number one journal. But you should try to publish in the top-20 sometime. After that aim for the top-10.

I had a hard entry into the profession. I was 5 years in VAP-type positions. So I am not speaking from some vantage point of privilege. I am now routinely invited to speak at good places.



It's ii that is much closer to the proposition I assert. Ask yourself what obligations you have to be honest about your race in a system that discriminates based on race, for example. Anyway, I think ii is pretty intuitive. However, it should be modified slightly so that it is stated thus:

ii*. It is not immoral to be dishonest about things which an unjust system will treat you unjustly for, e.g. race, prestige, age, etc.

Marcus Arvan

Tenured: Thanks for weighing in. However, I'd caution against drawing general conclusions about the job-market in general on the basis of your experience. My last two years on the market, I interviewed at exactly 20 schools, most of which are liberal arts universities (and about 30 schools over my 7 years on the market)--and I've served on two search committees at a liberal arts university, as well. Here is my (very different) experience:

(1) There CAN be a penalty for publishing in top-ranked journals. Most of the faculty at the liberal arts universities I interviewed at did not have publications in top-ranked journals. They did not have publications in Mind, or Nous, or Phil Review, or Phil Studies, etc. They tended to have publications in lower ranked journals. They also did not ultimately hire candidates with publications in top-ranked journals. When I went to on-campus interviews at these schools, I was routinely complimented for my "amazing" publishing record...though I have no publications in top-20 journals. On a similar note, despite having no top-20 publications, my publishing record was "better" than many of the people who were interviewing me. I have also heard people express caution about candidates with publications in top-journals, on the basis of "flight risk" concerns.

(2) Teaching statements ARE taken seriously. Many teaching-oriented schools are not just looking for someone to show up and teach competently. At such schools, when it comes to tenure and promotion faculty may be primarily evaluated on the basis of their teaching--and T&P committees can care a great deal about commitment to teaching, innovation, etc, things that teaching statements can quickly demonstrate. As you note, many teaching statements say similar things, making it immediately clear whether someone is a really committed teacher or whether their priorities are elsewhere. At liberal arts universities, people care about these things--and a teaching statement can make a real difference.

(3) If there is prestige bias at all, it is INVERTED. The vast majority of schools I interviewed did not have faculty from 'Leiterific' programs. They did not have faculty from Harvard, or from Princeton, or NYU, and so on. Their faculty instead appear to come from mostly lower-ranked or unranked programs. There are good reasons for this. First, the priorities of people coming from top-programs (e.g. research)--as demonstrated by their CVs and teaching materials--may not fit the priorities of the hiring institution (e.g. teaching). Second, there is the flight-risk problem. Someone coming out of NYU with publications in Phil Review may not be happy with a job with a high teaching load, and might leave such a job for greener pastures. Finally, the ADPA report bears this out. When it came to full-time placements at research institutions (with PhD programs), highly Leiter-ranked programs had the best placement records. However, when it came to placement records on the whole, many low-ranked programs and unranked programs fared far better than highly ranked programs. This data supports the hypothesis that prestige is an advantage for research jobs, but not an advantage (and perhaps a disadvantage) for teaching jobs.

(4) I agree with you on cover letters. Many cover letters and other materials have altogether the wrong tone. The biggest errors are self-aggrandizement ("I have X publications in the best journals") and trite, emotive phrases ("I am a passionate teacher..."). It is absolutely VITAL to come across professionally. This is especially something I've noticed in mentoring people, as well. Many people do not appear to have received good advice or mentoring in terms of putting together good, professional materials.

(5) Candidates may not be hired on the basis of their "best accomplishment." At smaller liberal-arts universities, departments can have all kinds of NEEDS that are important for them to address. The department may need someone who can teach course X. The department may also desire someone who has administrative experience, or who has demonstrated an interest and willingness to engage students outside of the classroom. Given how many candidates have similar publishing records, it can be these SMALL things that make the difference in the end.

(6) Only publishing in journals no one has ever heard in can of course be a disadvantage. But, this bears repeating: at teaching-centered institutions, no one may care a bit about whether a candidate has published in top-20 journals. The places I interviewed at were not stocked with faculty who published in top-ranked journals. Many of them didn't have many publications at all, and the publications they did have were often in lower-ranked but not obscure journals.

(7) Hiring a job-market consultant is not for everyone. Though several people I know who used one (including myself) got a job immediately after hiring one--which is why I myself recommended it--the vital thing is that people actually get sound job-market mentoring *somewhere*. This is why the Cocoon offers a free mentoring service. In my experience, the level of mentoring some job-candidates receive from their PhD programs is abysmal. I've met candidates going on the job-market for the first time in mid-September who've told me they don't have any materials together and received no guidance from their advisors on what their materials should be like. This is unacceptable...but my experience is that it is shockingly common--and, from my experience mentoring people myself, lack of mentoring shows up clearly in job-candidates' materials (and not in a good way).


“Many cover letters and other materials have altogether the wrong tone. The biggest errors are self-aggrandizement ("I have X publications in the best journals") and trite, emotive phrases ("I am a passionate teacher...").”

The first part of this goes explicitly against a lot of advice I’ve been given.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Postdoc: Let me clarify. My sense is that it is good to list some of the journals one has published in (viz. “I have published articles in journals including Philosophical Studies, Analysis, and Nous”). What I think does not come across so well is self-aggrandizement (viz. “I have published in some of the highest ranked journals in the field”). In other words, I think it’s a matter of tone. It’s good to show that you’ve published in good places. It’s not good to look like you are full of yourself or trying too hard to impress. Understatement is a good thing.


I’ve been told that given search committees are having to go through hundreds of apps that the more self aggrandizement the better (I guess up to some point?). You have to stand out. But here lies the problem: there is little agreement on what makes a good application. I’ve heard x and not x so many times as to make it impossible to know what to do exactly. My hunch is just as is the case with publishing that there is little aggreement on what is good. I agree there are different job markets (teaching, research, etc), so might make sense to have different cover letters for teaching vs. research schools. But we should be careful with how fine-grained we make our advice. That goes for tenured and Marcus.

Marcus Arvan

Postdoc: fair points. I think the fact that ‘tenured’ and I apparently have such different experiences supports your general point. Different search committee members can look for very different things in an application. While I have a hard time believing that most search committee members would respond positively to set-aggrandizement—and the people I know who followed my consultant’s advice not to be self-aggrandizing did very well on the market after following advice to avoid it—it is of course possible that I’m wrong. It might be good to hear from more search committee members here, to see if there is any kind of consensus. Perhaps I’ll post a new thread asking them!

Curious George

Does anyone know if we are going to use the Phylo wiki or if the Philosophy Smoker Blog will post a job market thread again this year?

I am going to go add a few jobs to the wiki later today. You should too. If we all contribute, it can be a great tool (or a terrible time waster as you nervously check it a million times a day).


Marcus Arvan

Curious George: no idea, but you can use this thread to report those things!


Questions about being a "flight risk"

I understand that search committees worry that some candidates fresh out of a PhD program might be flight risks. But I wonder if search committees would have an equally strong worry about other kinds of job candidates, e.g. candidates applying from post doc positions, or VAPs, or other assistant professorships.

If so, are there any non-obvious ways to communicate that, while you have decent pubs, you just want the damn job for which you're applying for its own sake?


I am a mere first year assistant professor. However, I had a lot of interviews in my two years on the market. And I have close friends at both research and teaching schools who have talked to me about their experience on search committees.

Anyway, my overall impression is much closer to Marcus's than to tenured. While tenured describes what sounds like what goes on at a research schools, the stats do not bear this out at all for other schools. Actually, I have recently been looking at people who have been getting hired at research schools, and have noticed a pattern. There are often people with much better publication records (i.e. publications in top journals) who get passed over for someone with a less impressive but more focused record. For instance, someone who is known as a player in field X, and has maybe one top publication, lots of chapters in edited volumes, and a number of publications in good specialty journals.Prestige for PhD granting institution is still a thing. Now this is just what I got at looking at maybe 10 recent hires, but I thought I would mention it.

As for the cover letter, I think the advice to aggrandize yourself is bad. I know it is given, but people who say things like "I am an amazing teacher" or "I have an amazing publication record" really do not come out in the best light. Just state the facts like a professional.

Lastly, I was complimented on my teaching statement a number of times, so it seems at the least some search committees notice it.

slac chair

I'm chair at a decent not-so-small liberal arts school with a 3-3 load. I've been on two searches and chaired two more. No one on any of these committees has ever penalized a candidate for having stellar publications. Some of my colleagues like seeing publications in Phil Review, some don't know that Phil Review has such a lofty reputation, and some don't really care one way of the other. Relatedly -- even though we recognize that many applications have a fuller c.v. than some of us, we *appreciate* our good fortune in this respect. And we don't have prestige bias either way. We have extended offers to folks from unranked and top-5 schools.

For most of us the teaching statement is important. There isn't any one right way to do it, just try to provide concrete evidence that you are an effective (or at least reflective) teacher.

The worst mistake I see is in cover letters. Some folks -- usually but not always from top programs -- write very minimal letters. Those will do you no favors, as we make our first cut on cover letters, CVs, and letters of rec. There is a lot of advice out there, some of it likely contradictory, but if you're applying to a teaching school, talk about your teaching!


Thanks for the perspective slac chair, it is great to hear from a variety of people who have done a search. I am shocked some of your colleagues don't know that phil review has a great reputation though. Interesting.

slac chair

Some folks think that journal rankings do not track anything of merit and so don't pay any attention to such things. Others are in their own corners of the philosophical world and, unfortunately, don't get out much, and so have no opinion on journals beyond their subspecialty. Yet others work primarily in history, etc. etc.

The relentless emphasis on journal prestige can give candidates the impression that all search committee members are super impressed with pubs in Nous, Mind, PPR, Phil Review, etc. But it's not true across the board. (Though it's surely true in most cases.)

Marcus Arvan

Slac chair writes: “The worst mistake I see is in cover letters. Some folks -- usually but not always from top programs -- write very minimal letters. Those will do you no favors...”

Back in my grad school days, I was told this is what grads from highly-ranked grad programs were coached to do: write really short (1-2 sentence) cover letters--ostensibly, if I recall, to project “confidence” and let their CV, program prestige, and writing sample do the talking.

Perhaps this is how they are still coached? If so, seems they are receiving bad advice, at least when it comes to applying to teaching schools.


Two sentences? Wow. I am curious if ANY schools like a 2 sentence cover letter. Maybe they do. But then why even bother asking for one? Do schools really need a piece of paper that says, "Hi I am X and I am applying for this job..."?


Honestly, I have no idea why employers require so many materials. They're just making us jump through hoops for the privilege of applying.

1. Whether you have a strong cover letter has more to do with how well you've been coached to write cover letters than how good of a philosopher you are, or on whether you can afford to hire a job market consultant. There is a reason why PhDs are not awarded based on cover letters!

2. Teaching statements strike me as again having more to do with whether you've been coached how to write them than anything else. It isn't obvious what a teaching statement is supposed to be, what a good one is, how long they should be, etc. Outside of coaching you'd have no idea.

3. What does the research statement really add over your publication list? Anyone looking at your list can see what you research. If you have a long list of publications, it's pretty clear you can publish no problem. So, the research statement just seems to be a useless cog in the machine. I think more useless than the others. They also force a degree of certainty on your future plans that's artificial.

4. Teaching evaluations? If done right (I mean done empirically, with questions designed to track useful things) these would probably be worth having a look at. However, as it stands, every school has their own versions, some good, some bad, and few based on any empirics.

In sum, the current job market makes young unemployed or underemployed or overworked philosophers spend weeks (even months maybe) working on application materials. Every job seems to want something slightly different on top of it. However, none of these materials have much to do with anything.

If they want us to jump through hoops, why don't they just literally make us jump through hoops. We can include in our applications a video of us doing this or other exercising.

Arguably, this might actually help with the obesity epidemic!

another postdoc

Seems that this is a holdover from not so long ago when you actually mailed your application? So you needed a sheet of paper on top explaining why you were sending this package of documents to the department for the unfortunate person opening all that mail. (When the application is to be sent to an email address, the body of my email is essentially just that: two sentences explaining why I'm emailing them.) And of course, then, a holdover in terms of advisors giving more recent applicants advice based on the peculiarities of their own application experience.


I got my PhD at a high-prestige program, I wrote extremely short (3 sentence) cover letters for R1 jobs, and got a reasonable number of interviews at R1s. Also, I now teach at a R1/PhD granting program, and we don't ever read cover letters when we are hiring. (Or at least, no one who I've been on two different hiring committees with reads them.) (Amanda: in our case we wouldn't ask for them, but the program we use for applications requires a cover letter. It's a mere formality in much the same way that journals will often require these things when submitting.)

Also, the strategy we were advised to take (in the program I got my PhD in) is to write longer/more detailed cover letters for teaching schools/slacs and shorter ones for R1 schools. I suspect this is fairly standard advice across "prestigious" programs. Marcus I get the sense that you think that people at these programs are completely out of touch with the teaching-centered-school job market, but in my experience that isn't true at all. Students from my program had trouble getting jobs at teaching institutions, but it wasn't because we didn't know what we should be doing in order to be appealing to those institutions--it was because it was extremely hard for us to develop an application that actually was appealing to teaching institution (lack of a lot of opportunity to teach, flight risk fears, etc. etc.). And the department was actively trying to change some of these things (e.g. find us more ways to get teaching experience), and we were constantly given advice to figure out outside ways to get teaching experience.

Marcus Arvan

Hi anonymous: Thanks for chiming in!

I wouldn't say I think people at those programs are out of touch. I guess I just found it a bit disturbing that slac chair was reporting receiving very short cover letters from graduates of such programs. That made me wonder whether graduates from some of those programs may not be receiving the cover-letter best advice (given that I had heard in the past that graduates at some such programs are coached to write short letters).

It sounds like your program did a very good job mentoring its grad students in this regard. Unfortunately, I've met students from other programs in recent years who clearly aren't receiving such good mentoring (I've even met some whose programs give little or no job-market mentoring, if you can believe that!).


Hey everyone,

How frequent is it for schools to skip first round straight to flyouts invitations? I know some top departments do it but I'm curious.

UK reader

Is it just me, or are there lots more epistemology jobs this year than usual?


There are so few jobs that after you divide them into all the specialities it's kind of a joke. So, I'm not sure if there are more epistemology jobs. There certainly aren't many metaphysics/mind jobs. haha!


Duuuuude. This whole applying to things bit is really getting me down.

I am very tired of doing it.


Did anyone else get an email from Stanford requesting information about gender/race/disability/vet status, etc?

Why do some schools include this in the application and others ask for it by email?

Is it generally safe to assume that schools that gather the information via email do this with virtually every candidate rather than at a long list stage?


Most universities are obliged to collect data on race and gender. They have to show that efforts are being taken to ensure that such people are not victims of bias. At some places, the institution may be aggressively trying to meet hiring targets, and will ensure that some minority (under-represented) candidates are given a fair shot at the job. HR departments review these data, and even follow up on it at some places.

Only Wednesday

If anyone was wondering why the job ad at Nevada, Las Vegas was so specific, check out their current VAP. Good for him. It's almost obviously a fake search so should we even bother applying?


I think if a school wants to hire a VAP they should be allowed to just hire them. It does no one any good that they are required to pretend to do a search. Rarely an outside candidate will actually win over the VAP, but it is rare I think, and I also think that is unfair to the VAP who was probably lead on about getting the job.

Marcus Arvan

Amanda: I too think schools should just be able to hire people they want to hire. However, it is not at all clear to me that "Rarely an outside candidate will actually win over the VAP". I've known a few "inside candidates" get passed over for outside applicants, and have heard this can be because a search committee can become unexpectedly enamored with someone else. In fact, I've even heard some say that this can happen precisely *because* the "inside candidate" is a known quantity, whereas an outside applicant can stoke the imagination of a committee about how great they might be (viz. a "grass is greener on the other side" effect).


Hi Marcus,

I think in general, a VAP doesn't have a better chance of getting hired. In fact, for reasons you say, I think in general they have worse odds. I should have been a bit more clear. It is only when the faculty have indicated that they want to hire the VAP, and arrange a job ad that clearly favors the VAP, that I think the advantage is to the inside candidate. But maybe you meant in even these cases there really isn't that advantage? If so, then I think it is pretty messed up for search committees to give their own VAP such hope and then crush them down. The market is emotionally hard enough. And while rejection is never fun, I imagine it is a lot harder when it is by people you know and especially when they have indicated you are some sort of shoe-in.

Only Wednesday

Okay, so it's worth trying. I agree with you guys it would do everyone a favor to not pretend this is a genuine search and to hire the person they want to directly. Or else just put up a job ad that is not specifically tailored to the one person in the world who is a fit.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Amanda: Thanks for clarifying. You write,

"But maybe you meant in even these cases there really isn't that advantage? If so, then I think it is pretty messed up for search committees to give their own VAP such hope and then crush them down. The market is emotionally hard enough. And while rejection is never fun, I imagine it is a lot harder when it is by people you know and especially when they have indicated you are some sort of shoe-in."

Fwiw. I've heard several stories of exactly this sort of thing happening.

The usual way it goes, or so I've heard from others, is that the committee can go into the search preferring the "inside candidate", but then become infatuated with a different candidate. In other words, even though no one intends any harm, at the end of the process the committee can support hiring someone else because they become convinced another person would be a better hire, and they feel obligated (either to their department, institution, or themselves) to "hire the best person for the job." Seems heartless, I know...but I've heard more than a few stories.


Yikes, that must be rough. But I guess I can see how it happens. Everybody has some flaws. So if you are around they can see them. With people you don't know you can pretend they are flawless.


I went on a flyout last year and didn't get the job. I later found out they hired a 5th year assistant professor who was basically an associate. He really wanted the job for location reasons. It is a weird situation when you are interviewed and a committee already has a strong preference for another candidate. I even heard of one case where they offered the job to another candidate and still flew out "backups". This surely feels deceptive. On the other hand, most of us would choose to interview anyway if we knew we only had a small chance of getting the job. So maybe there is nothing unethical about it? I'm not sure.

Only Wednesday

I see one potent reason to play this fool's game—even if you odds are nil, getting a fly out might give you some leverage for other potential offers. Maybe.


A question about VAPs:

My department all but guarantees a 7th year of funding for folks who don’t land a job. We like living here for the most part. My partner has a career here and there’s reason to believe that they might have leave that job if we move. Is there any circumstance under which it would make sense to take a one year VAP?


You mean a one year VAP instead of a 7th year of funding? Would you have to teach in your 7th year? If it is a research year I would for sure take advantage of that funding and spend a lot of time working on applications. In your circumstances, I think the only reason I would take a 1 year VAP is if it was at a prestigious place, or a place where there is a chance of it turning into a tt position.


I think maybe the only circumstance under which it would make sense would be if you lack much teaching experience and couldn't get more variety during your 7th year. For instance, at my PhD program, there isn't much teaching opportunity and the students you do teach are not your average students. I had some flyouts last year where this was clearly part of the concern: that my experience wasn't extensive enough or with a broad enough student population. I got a VAP this year with a broader student population (and luckily, one I didn't have to move for) and although it has been rough doing that and being on the job market, I definitely feel like getting the extra experience will be beneficial for me (usual caveats apply since I am on the market myself). It's also forced me to be a lot more efficient on the job market than last year as well.

anonymous TT prof

I'm about to lose it with these schools that require transcripts. Even undergraduate transcripts. Sometimes, OFFICIAL transcripts. Should I send my GRE scores? SATs? How about I go home and copy my report cards from elementary school too. Seriously.


I know I shouldn't be looking at the wiki; but given that I have no self-control, I figured I'd at least ask for clarification about this one thing: What does "applications acknowledged" mean? Some places I applied to sent emails confirming acceptance of the application. Surely that can't be what "applications acknowledged" means, since that doesn't really tell us anything useful about where they're at in the process--especially since some of these places sent those notes out prior to their own deadline. But if it means something else, like the committee reached out to particular people to say "Just wanted to let you know we're looking at your appllication", then that might be useful info, but I'm curious how relevant that is to the overall process.

Any clarification would be helpful here. Thanks in advance.


anonymous TT prof

Confused: Generally it means that they sent out some kind of email to candidates (e.g. "We've received your application") ... sometimes this is from an automated system. *Sometimes* it means that they have come up with a "long list" and asked for additional materials (letters or more teaching materials or something like that), so it *might* represent a cut. But it might not. I wouldn't read too much into the separation at the bottom of the page there, between "applications acknowledged" and "past deadline". IMO it can mean so many different things to different users of the wiki, so it's no use guessing what it means in a particular instance.


When a school holds skype interviews and moves to flyouts, do they usually notify those who were interviewed by skype but do NOT make it to that next round of on campus interviews? Or is radio silence to be expected?


It could go either way anon. I would say 50/50 chance, and I have a fair bit of experience with this. It might actually lean a bit toward the not notifying. Also, even after the flyouts they don't always notify the persons who didn't get the job. Both I think are really rude. But not notifying after a flyout is beyond the pale. I think there is just no excuse for this kind of disrespect, unless it is some weird administration rule. I know I have had schools that have contacted me and said, "We offered the job to someone else, but if they decline you will get the job." This type of thing is easy to do and very much appreciated.

Marcus Arvan

Anon: my experience is that more often than not, you’ll get radio silence if you’re not invited for an on-campus interview...followed by a PFO email a few weeks or months later. I think it’s a terribly callous practice, but not uncommon.


So yesterday I got a PFO from a 2016 season job. lol, thanks I thought I was still on the short list....

slac chair

One reason for a long period of radio silence is that schools sometimes dip back into the first-round pool if none of the flown-out candidates work out (bomb the interview, take another position, etc.). We've done that in the past. So we don't want to tell folks they are out of the running, since they are not. Imagine you are Skype interviewed in December. Flyouts are in Jan-Februrary. The school won't know it needs to return to the pool until late February perhaps. I'm not suggesting this is a *common* occurrence, but it does happen.


In my (unfortunately) relatively limited experience, every school that has skype interviewed me ended up contacting me more or less personally (the email was never sent from HR, always from the SC chair or contact person). But I have had to wait insanely long periods for some jobs (including once after a campus visit). Sometimes they waited until someone accepted the offer to contact first-round interviewees (at least those that were still in the running). Sometimes they just waited for incomprehensible reasons (before fly outs even took place). But I have to say that, in general, I find excessive delays rather unpleasant and disrespectful. I'd be totally fine with them being honest and telling me I'm not their first choice but they might contact me if anything changes.

This whole process is so inhumane anyway.


Another gem in WTF studies: the Penn State Altoona job posted just TODAY on Philjobs with a NOVEMBER 16 deadline.


Post skype interview thank you notes. Do you do them? What do you say?

Anonymous TT prof

Slac chair--- it's still a terrible practice, and that's no excuse. You can tell people exactly where they stand: "we have agreed on a short list and you are not among thefinalists for the position at this time. However, ..." etc. . To do less than that, after a first round interview, is inconsiderate in the extreme.

I was a hire that was not an original finalist. I appreciated that the chair was upfront with me throughout the process. And if you dip into the first round interviewees again, it's not like they're under any delusions. They know what's happened. So why not just send them an email update?

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