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SLAC tenured professor & chair

We always aim to get 10 people for skype interviews, but end up extending to include 12-14 because its easier to include extra people than it is to come to an agreement about how to narrow it down.

We always start with 3 on campus interviews and only get permission to bring out more if they aren't viable candidates.

Job seeker

Agreed with Anon, roughly. I'd say for skype interviews 12-15, and for on campus, 3-4. (I've never known a school to do more than 4, but my experience isn't super extensive.)


We only Skype interview 6 or 7, and our administration has a policy of only approving 2 on-campus visits.


I've hard 10-16 for skype and 2-4 for flyouts. Most of the flyouts I've gone to have had 3.


Original anon poster asking about the numbers on Skype interviews. Thanks to all for the responses! Helpful to know, if for no other reason than just to gauge how one is doing if one makes it into at least the first round..

Mercado Ubër

If the Barnard job had 580 applicants and it was an open job, does anyone have a sense of how many applicants there will likely be for the R1 phil race jobs?


What does it mean when a job has sent out formal rejections and skype interviews but I have heard nothing (online application still says it's under review)?

Marcus Arvan

davidlewis: hard to say. However, it’s possible in principle for a committee to keep someone on their list in case none of the people they interview first work out. If that happens, a committee might go back to the pool of applicants and choose additional people to interview. I don’t think this is very common, but it can happen.


What do you all think constitutes a memorable and good kind of answer to the interview question, "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" The job in question is TT at a research school, so it's not much of a leap to think that one of my 5-years-hence aspirations is being on the tenure track at that institution - but does that even bear mentioning? I suspect part of the point of this question for this particular search committee is to get a sense of who I am, and how I see philosophy fitting into my life as a whole, but it seems wise to keep the focus on philosophy-related ambitions, and to be as specific as possible, within reason. What else should I be keeping in mind? Thanks, all!


interviewing: at an R1 I always interpreted that question as a research question and answered giving plans about my research projects. For instance, "In my AOS my hope is to have a contract with a top press on such and such topic. I also hope to have a few articles out about such and such in my AOC." I don't think they are trying to ask you anything personal or about "philosophy fitting into my life as a whole." Guess I could be wrong but the answers seemed to work for me.


Amanda, thanks for this! I totally agree it makes a lot of sense to interpret it as a research question, but there are a few reasons (based on a conversation with the SC chair) behind my thinking the question might be sort of personal. Perhaps a better way to put it is I think they might be trying to gauge who's a flight risk (it's an R1 but not a Leiterific one), and are looking for a colleague's who's a great researcher and is also genuinely interested in the kind of life available in that location.


Mercado: I can tell you some numbers I know of for recent years. A job in a desirable location (not R1, but low teaching load, large urban area) that had an AOS in phil race (only) a couple years ago had about 80-85 applicants. An R1 job in a large urban/desirable area in social or political philosophy had about 270 applicants. Neither of these are this year. But both in the past couple of years.


p.s. I didn't see any R1 jobs in (only) phil race this year, which is why I gave numbers for both the narrower and the broader versions of your question.


@interviewing -- I would see it as an invitation to show that you are ready with a research program that goes beyond "publishing out of my dissertation". Talk about what's next.

Mercado Ubër

Anonymous, thanks for the info on these applicant pools!

Do you know roughly how many of the applicants for the phil race job (not an R1) seemed like they actually specialized in philosophy of race?

I've heard that many phil-race-applicant-pool members are, say, ethicists or political philosophers who are presenting themselves as philosophers of race. So, I guess, I am trying to get a sense of how deep the qualified applicant pool is?

Sissy Fuss

What do you do when you get the "how would you teach intro" question? I can see at least three ways of answering this:

1) give the "classic" intro syllabus, heavy on M+E and historical texts, with some value theory thrown in

2) an intro syllabus substantially based around your AOS/whatever teaching needs they have advertised

3) a bold thematic or topic-based course on something that you've been thinking about but isn't necessarily represented in your AOS/AOC. I'm thinking something that might be really cool but also might seem completely off-the-wall to some, e.g. an intro course that has a weekly viewing of a horror film and organizes readings and discussions around the themes of these films.

These aren't the only strategies, but these are the ones I'm considering (I'm not considering the horror film one seriously...yet.) There are benefits and drawbacks to each strategy it seems, and a lot will depend on who is interviewing you. But in any case: thoughts on what strategy is best? Experiences with the "intro question?" Or other thoughts about how to answer that question?

Vampire killer

Sissy Fuss,
At many places, your horror film suggestion would be the nail in your coffin. Some questions are asked during interviews that give unstable or ... candidates a chance to tip their hands. This saves the department from having to deny them tenure later.

Big Brother Applicant

My web analytics (both for Academia.edu and my personal webpage) will sometimes show that someone from a school that I had applied to has found my page via a Google search. (Strictly speaking, I don't know that the searcher was from the school. Rather, I see that a searcher from City X as searched for me. And I know that I applied to a job in City X and that my website normally gets zero hits a month).

I know that it is probably best to just ignore these and that it does not mean anything definitive. But I was curious if I should consider this a positive sign (even if only a small one)? To those who have been on hiring committees, does doing a Google search on a candidate typically occur after the candidate has made some sort of initial cut? I'm speculating, but I doubt they do a search on every candidate when there are hundreds.

On a related note, why might a school do a Google search? Are they typically looking to make sure the candidate doesn't have some controversial online presence?


Big Brother - when I was on the market, it was very common for me to get hits on academia.edu from University X right before an interview from University X. Of course, on occasion I would get hits and no interview.


Sissy Fuss,
When people ask that question I think it is easy to hear it as 'what would you cover'. I don't think that is the way it is typically met. That's not how my previous institution meant it and when I was a first-time job seeker I asked a number of SLAC friends about a question like this. I think something like the following is a better strategy. Do mention some of the topics you might cover but use this as an opportunity to talk about your values and methods as a teacher. In my own case I talked the fact that I wanted students to come to question their own beliefs and come to the realization that issues are deeply complex and interconnected. Then I backed this up by talking about the ways in which I use topics in the philosophy of mind, free will, and religion to show these interconnections. Surely there are lots of ways this could go but the idea is, this isn't a question about what would you teach but rather what are your pedagogical values at the intro level and how do you achieve them.

Cleverly Disguised Mule

Does anyone else look at their materials after they've submitted and notice egregious typos? I just looked at one that had a very noticeable typo *in the very first sentence*. Oof.

This led me to wonder whether committees care about this sort of thing all that much. On the one hand, typos make an applicant look sloppy; and as Marcus has already said, they're often making decisions on the 'little things'. Obviously, we should all avoid typos whenever we submit applications for jobs, etc. etc. But on the other hand, I can't imagine that a single (even egregious) typo among many documents makes all that much of a difference. Plus, it strikes me as petty to count those sorts of things against a candidate, particularly when many of us are applying to ~75 jobs a season, each of which has a customized cover letter, etc.

I wouldn't say I'm stressed about this, so this isn't me crying out for folks to allay my concerns. (At any rate, the committee for whom I wrote the app I'm referring to has, I believe, already made their choice not to pursue me further.) I'm just curious if others had thoughts on this.

non-leiterific grad student

Big Brother - I just looked at my Academia analytics. I received hits from two universities to which I applied, and I didn't receive an interview at either place. That said, I suspect it means I was in the top 25 or so. Hopefully it means something better for you!


My guess is whether typos matter varies be search committee member. It will bother some and not others. And if your application materials are otherwise wonderful, it probably won't be disqualifying. But in such tight competition, sure, it can make a difference.

another postdoc

Jumping on two points:

As in past years, I've had hits from several places I applied to. I've been invited to interview by about 50% of the places that've checked my website, maybe more when there are repeat visits.

Re: typos, I was interviewed by a place this year where I forgot to replace the name of the SLAC for my placeholder in my cover letter template! So it said, "I'm writing to apply for the position of Assistant Professor at [XXXX] University". That's pretty egregious and they got over it, although other committees might be put off by that.

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