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« Reflections on my upcoming 40th birthday, hitting targets, and our relevance in the profession | Main | Job-market reporting thread (2018-19 season) »

08/13/2018

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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.)

Anon

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

Amanda

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

yetanotheranon

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?

davidlewis

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.

interviewing

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!

Amanda

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.

interviewing

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.

anonymous

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.

anonymous

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.

J

@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?

Amanda

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.

Al

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!

Amanda

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.

David Lewis

Is it standard practice to update a search committee if you publish an additional article or if you receive a grant or something of the like? If so, what's the best way to go about doing this?

Mercado

Dear David Lewis,

Faculty advised me that if I get a publication or something similar, I should send the chair of the department an email asking her to inform the search committee.

Amanda

David Lewis: yes, I would inform them - if it is a research school. If a teaching school I would only inform theme if you are short on publications, as it might send the wrong message about what you care about. And I would just send a quick email to the chair of the search that says, "I just wanted to let you know that blah, blah. Not sure if it will be of relevance for your evaluation, but just in case, I would appreciate you informing the rest of the committee.

postdoc.1

I was recently notified that while I am not invited for a campus visit, I am in a group of three "alternates." I never heard of this practice. Can anyone explain why search committees would do this, and is it anything but extremely unlikely this would result in a job?

Another Unlucky Waitlister

postdoc: I've experienced that twice--once last year and once this year. I don't think it's super common, but it happens. It's basically like being waitlisted for an interview. I simply view them as a bit of disappointing encouragement (since I at least made to a shortlist), but I wouldn't hold my breath for an interview. My understanding is that it's very unlikely that jobs need to draw from their backup list of interviewees.

Correction

postdoc: Sorry. I misread your comment. I thought you were waitlisted for an first-round interview. I see you're talking about a campus visit. Coincidentally, I have also experienced that, too. For one job I interviewed for last year, I was told that I was not selected for a campus visit, but that I was still under consideration. And as it happened, someone backed out of their campus visit at the last minute and I was invited to take their spot. Again, it's unlikely that they'll need to turn to their alternates, but it can happen.

a human being

I got my job this way, and I know another person who was on the market the year I was who got her job this way. It happens. I wouldn't bank on it though! (In my case I wasn't notified of being an alternate, and I think she wasn't either--we both got what seemed like vague rejection emails, and then later got invited to fly out towards the end of the job cycle.)

anon

Oxford (Ancient) did the shortlist. (and I am not on it).

67 candidates.

Endless Apps

Here's something that may not seem like it matters, but I've been wondering whether it actually does: if you apply very close to the deadline, versus right when the job ad comes out, does this ever make a difference? I often apply with only a day or so before the deadline (though never after the date at which they guarantee full consideration).

Do early-applying candidates get any advantage? Or could there be an advantage in applying late? I'm completely in the dark on this one.

SLAC Tenured Professor & Chair

another_postdoc

Hahaha I think the XXXXXX comment was to my school. Yeah we got over it ;). I'd prefer applications to not have such errors, but people who'd seriously hold that against a good candidate seem crazy to me.

SLAC Tenured Professor & Chair

Endless Apps:

Not at my institution. The reality is, we expect a WHOLE bunch of good applications to come in at the last moment. That is just how things work.

The only people who apply very early are people who find the job on other sources than philjobs and who are generally, not particularly savvy or well qualified.

In short, keep doing what works for you and you'll be fine.

anon

I have an interview question. What kind of answer is suitable to the question "how would you balance teaching, research, and service?". Is this a question about time-management, priorities, or something else? Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

anon

Re: an earlier question by big brother.

Would there be anything on one's academia.edu page that would discourage any further pursuing of a candidate?

Should it be taken as a good sign that they are googling me or?

Don't Hit Refresh

anon (and Big Brother Applicant),

I wouldn't read too much into academia.edu or Google Analytics website visits. And when I say "I wouldn't," I actually mean "you shouldn't." I get my hopes up on the basis of such analytics all the time, and it's never panned out.


Anecdotally: Google Analytics indicates 40 visits to my website from 24 identifiable cities in the past 30 days. Of these, 9 are cities in which I applied for jobs--and a few of these are small, obscure towns with exactly one major college. 0 of the schools in these cities contacted me for jobs. In contrast, the 3 schools that *did* contact me for Skype interviews aren't in cities or towns anywhere near my academia.edu or Google Analytics hits. Oh, and there's nothing on my sites that isn't in my application materials, except a professional-looking of me and 8 extra publications.

anon

"In addition, a writing sample and three confidential letters of recommendation MUST BE MAILED to the Search Committee (Political/Law 2018), Department of Philosophy, 24 Kent Way, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716."

Most recent ad. from U of Delaware.

Two questions:

Are they serious?

If so, why?

significant other

At this point, if we have not heard from schools directly, but no results have been posted about that school on this page or phylo, should we assume a rejection from those schools? I have not heard from several schools who have not been reported yet on either of those pages, but it feels late to hear back. Any insight?

Anon

My own preferred strategy is to assume rejection. (Of course, it's possible that for various reasons a school might be moving slowly. But it's also possible that none of the people who got news posted about it online - if a school goes right to fly outs, for instance, fewer people are getting news overall, and not everyone posts to these sites.)

Amanda

1. It is not late to hear from schools. The last two years the majority of my first round interview request came after Jan. 5th. I had my last request for a TT job first round in March.

2. Everyone has their own way of dealing with the market, but I just can't wrap my head around the idea that some people keep a list of every job they applied to, and cross it off once they hear someone has an interview. This seems like an emotionally horrible way to have your hopes crushed again and again. I always assumed rejection as a default, and an interview request (or a job offer) was a happy surprise.

Michel

anon: Given the use of caps, I imagine they're serious, yes. As for why: couldn't say, except that it'll weed out the pool a bit. I certainly wouldn't go to all that trouble (and expense) unless I really wanted that particular job.

significant other: I'm with Anon. As I'm tailoring my cover letter and other materials, I assume I'm getting an interview/the job. As soon as it's sent, I assume I've been rejected. It's worth noting that it's still early to hear from applications due in December (or January, for that matter), though.

Amanda

My guess is Delaware is indeed serious. Maybe Michel is right about wanting to weed out people, or it could just be some silly administrative rule.

anon

re: I made the words in caps because the request appeared fairly ridiculous. That did not appear in the original.

I suspect they were serious. This post was somewhat in jest as I thought such a request was overly burdensome on candidates.

Anon

It definitely seems odd to me too - I've submitted just a couple paper applications in the past three years of many applications.

But just to give people a heads up if they didn't know, Interfolio can do paper deliveries too, so it's just as much work as an email delivery on the applicant's end - you don't need to go find some stamps etc.

anon

Does anyone have any thoughts about giving co-authored papers at on campus interviews? If so, does it make a difference if the writing sample for the application was sole-authored and/or if the candidate already has multiple sole-authored pubs?

Amanda

anon: there was recently a post on this. The consensus was, whether fair or not, using a co-authored paper for a sample or job talk is a really bad idea. Many search committee members have an extremely negative reaction.

anon

amanda: Thanks! I suspected this might be the case. I find it so strange that collaborative work is penalised in this way.

Amanda

Yes, it is unfortunate :(

During

It's because it's impossible to judge who did what. One candidate I remember had a lot of it but it turned out he was mainly the editor and writer, the other person had the ideas. It's like the Beatles - you want to hire Lennon or McCartney, perhaps maybe George, but not Ringo if what you looking for is a composer.

Amanda

Perhaps the market is different, but in general I hope people assume both authors contributed to the paper fairly equally, unless there is reason to think otherwise. If everyone is going to assume con-authored papers should have no career credit because you can't tell who did what - well, then those who need tenure should stay away from co-authoring until they are an associate. And I think that is bad for our profession, because co-authoring is good for the profession as a whole. People working together to come up with ideas often come up with better ones.

During

I think co-authoring is OK but not so obviously. It's not the same as in sciences, where, for example, the first name is the leader and so on. In any case, for many people, both historically and currently, philosophy and philosophical writing is a very personal experience. Obviously not for all, but much of great philosophy has a personal tone to it. So it would be like co-authoring a novel. In any case, it's one thing counting it for matters of tenure and promotion, another when you advertise yourself as a candidate. Great for CV, not for writing sample or talk

George

Perhaps search committees will tend to think like this:
Unless a co-authored paper that one presents is (a) truly groundbreaking or at least very strong, and (b) the committee has very credible evidence (what? a self-report from an author? from the letter of a biased recommender?) that a candidate is responsible for the groundbreaking nature of the work, it's safer to default to favoring someone who has presented interesting and novel single-authored work, even if the latter is not robustly groundbreaking.

Will (a) and (b) both usually be satisfied? Not obviously. If so, then perhaps one should present a single-authored paper unless the co-authored paper is way better (which, if known to the committee, perhaps might raise a red flag about why it is).

See it this way: Suppose you're on a committee and can take a person who presented a strong single-authored paper or someone who presented a stronger (but not much) co-authored paper. All else equal, whom would you favor? Though YMMV, probably the former, I'd think.

All else equal -- surely there are exceptional cases -- I don't see favoring a single-authored paper over a co-authored paper as clearly penalizing a candidate. It seems more like trying to account realistically for why the candidate didn't present one of presumably a few really good papers the candidate has rather than a paper of which the candidate presumably wrote roughly half.

Cleverly Disguised Mule

I have a job market question/issue that I suspect others have encountered as well.

How should one approach an application--in particular, the cover letter--for a school that has people working on issues *very, very close* to one's own research?

So suppose I'm applying to an ethics job at Cocoon University and I work on, e.g., naturalism in meta-ethics. But Professor X at Cocoon U who works on that same topic. My hunch is that this makes me less desirable to that department; but maybe not. Given that I'm applying either way, what should I do to make myself look more desirable? Do I emphasize my interest in future collaborations/discussions with Professor X? (How presumptuous of me to assume that Professor X wants to collaborate with anyone! Plus, doesn't this risk emphasizing my overlap with what their department already does?) Or do I try to illustrate the way my project is different from Prof X's? (This might involve going far into the weeds in a cover letter, which might turn off other committee members.) Or do I emphasize my other projects and interests? (This might make me look less serious about my naturalism project, which might look odd to some readers.)

I'm guessing the best approach lies somewhere in between these, but I'm not really sure how to navigate what seems to me to be a possible minefield.

If anyone has any specific ideas, I'd be very grateful.

Marcus Arvan

Cleverly Disguised Mule: I actually have some experience with the issues you raise. If you're cool with it, I'll run a new post discussing it--as I think it might benefit job-candidates.

Cleverly Disguised Mule

Of course. Thanks, Marcus!

Anon this time

3 people for on-campus interviews in my personal experience.

living in limbo

How long should someone expect to wait to hear "the news" after a fly out? What about after Skype interviews? I'm thinking it varies widely, but I'd love any info that might help me set reasonable expectations.

Relatedly, why are hiring departments so hesitant to give information about this sort of thing? What is the drawback to providing candidates with more information about when we can expect to hear?

Amanda

For flyouts it all depends if you were the first or the last person to come out. If you were the first it could be over a month. Skype usually two weeks or so...but there is a lot of variance. Also, if you didn't get the job (or didn't make it to the flyout) often you will not hear from them at all. I had this happen a lot, as rude as it is.

Apparently not a "preferred candidate"

Notre Dame just posted a very strange job advertisement (https://www.higheredjobs.com/search/details.cfm?JobCode=176899030). The job title says "PLS, Visiting Assistant Special Professional, Bugyis, Eric-Preferred Candidate." I was confused, so I googled "Eric Bugyis" and it turns out he's a current fellow at Notre Dame. Did someone mess up and literally name their "preferred candidate" as part of the job title? That's the only way I can make sense of the job posting title. This is incredibly discouraging for us on the market who worry about "inside candidates" for job postings.

Apparently not a "preferred candidate"

I'm open to other explanations about the Notre Dame position, but I can't think of any. I think we should all apply to that job, but write cover letters where we explicitly compare ourselves to this Eric guy. Haha. (FYI, I don't blame him. Please no one give him a hard time about it. He's one of us--just a philosopher [or theologian] trying to make it in this crazy market.)

Apparently not a "preferred candidate"

Link correction:
https://www.higheredjobs.com/search/details.cfm?JobCode=176899030

Nh

Lol job posting has been pulled.

Nh

I take it back -- posting is still up, but the link above is faulty.

anon

I've seen institutions in my area post lists of "expected hires" and seniority rankings of various adjuncts at the same time as posting job ads (all of this in accordance with a collective agreement.) But I haven't seen that sort of ad go to websites like Philjobs etc.

Amanda

hahaha that's really funny. Wow. And yeah, obviously they plan to hire Eric and it was a mess up. If schools were just allowed to hire who they want instead of forced to do a search this stuff wouldn't happen.

Michel

I doubt it was unintentional. I've seen the preferred candidate named in a few ads over years.

Amanda

Michel why on earth would they embarrass themselves and their candidate like that? To get less applicants? But they are already going to ignore them, anyway.

uncertain

A bit of a longer strategic question from an ABD, if anyone can/wouldn't mind to offer advice:

I'm finishing my PhD at the end of this academic year. During the course of my doctoral program, I taught a pretty substantial number of courses (~20). In order to really get my head down and focus on the dissertation, I took a humble non-academic job (far away from my grad institution) which turned out to be an even luckier find than I'd imagined, since it allows me to write uninterrupted for the vast majority of an 8 hour workday. The job, which is permanent and there as long as I want to work it, gives me at least enough to live on--a bit more than I would be able to pull down if I were teaching even 3-4 courses a term as an adjunct--plus benefits, and clearly allows me to be very productive in terms of scholarship. This on the one hand makes for a good situation in applying for jobs in that I'll have lots of time (and mental space...) to work things up to send to journals, to say nothing of putting together job applications themselves.

On the other hand, though, I'm worried about my teaching experience going "stale." While there is a sizable state university nearby, their philosophy enrollments crashed so badly a few years back that they can't even fill their tenured faculty's schedules, so there is pretty much no chance of any adjunct work either there or at any other school within about 80 miles. Can anyone speak to how recent teaching experience needs to have been before it starts raising questions? I'm trying to figure out if it's essential that I get myself in some other location to adjunct, or in a full time teaching position through a VAP, in the very near future. My worry about taking a VAP, though, is that in my current circumstances I at least have health insurance, job security, and so on, while it seems that there's a pretty good chance I might find myself completely out of luck at the end of a contract position, subsisting by draining my savings/adjuncting/working minimum wage/etc, and wishing I had the safe job again. Basically, I don't know how important it is to make the gamble here. Can anybody, say people who have been on committees or been in similar positions themselves, offer a bit of perspective and guidance?

Many thanks, Cocoon.

Amanda

As far as teaching experience going stale, I think you have a couple of years. My teaching experience was a few years stale and it didn't hurt me. You already have a lot of experience, and that should be what matters. The bigger worry is simply being out of academia. Now if the job is something you could sell as somewhat relevant to academics, some type of government research, then you would be okay. But it sounds like you have some type of minimum wage job where you don't really do anything, which while great for writing, might raise worries on the job search. It's really hard to say as each search committee member will react differently, some will have issues and some won't. I would think you should have at least a year where it doesn't hurt too much. You could try to get some teaching work online, remotely.

Michel

Amanda: I think it's just required by HR advertising regs or state law or whatever in some places if you want to convert a NTT line to a TT line.

Uncertain: I've had a few interviews at teaching-heavy schools despite my experience being a few years stale (and not especially extensive). It probably doesn't hurt that I develop several new syllabi every year, though.

uncertain

Amanda and Michel, thanks for your input. It sounds like I have a little bit of time post-dissertation to figure something out, at least.

elisa freschi

uncertain, in my experience it does not hurt as long as you are ABD, whereas people will start asking questions as soon as you are done with your PhD thesis and have one or more years away from teaching and academic life.

Recent Grad

Uncertain,

I'd be hesitant to give up your current job for anything short of a permanent position. Given the atrocious state of the market, the odds aren't good (for any of us), and it sounds like you've managed to find a job that provides you the freedom to keep participating in the world of Academic philosophy (if you so choose) without sacrificing stability, retirement, and affordable health-care. I'd consider that a lucky find these days. Just out of curiosity, what line of work is it?

uncertain

Elisa and Recent,

Thanks, also, for your responses. My hope was that my ABD years wouldn't count, especially since a good number of grad students barely do any teaching at all in their programs, and are often on some kind of fellowship at the end.

Recent, technically I do work for a university, but in its library, doing "research support" -- interlibrary lending, mostly, but some consultation with students and faculty. It's honestly accidentally turned out to be a great gig for my purposes, as I have faculty-level library privileges and a ton of time to do research. One's mileage will surely vary academic library to academic library, but this has treated me well so far, and it might be something for others to look into as a fall back which, as you say, still lets them do some of what they actually want to do with their lives.

William of Baskerville

When a job is advertised for a multiple, (e.g. 2 or 3-year) visiting assistant prof job, non-tenure track, can you apply for tenure track jobs the fall of your first year (for the following academic year)?

Is there a standard practice about this?

Is this something to ask during the interview process if it is not addressed? Or does doing so hurt your chances of getting the job?

What are the ethics of taking such a job if you want to keep applying to TT jobs for the next year while holding that position? Thanks!

Marcus Arvan

Hi William: there is no obligation to stay in a multi-year visiting job. It is pretty much assumed you will be applying for TT jobs from day 1, so don’t worry about it!

Ms Manners

Baskerville,
Marcus is absolutely right. You leave a contract job whenever you get something better. You really only owe them the basic courtesies.

Anonymous

Any thoughts on whether to contact committees one Skype-interviewed with to ask about the results??

Amanda

Everyone knows everyone applies. And *do not* ask about this in an interview - it can do no good!

wants to move to Europe

I teach at a North-American state university. I would like to move to England for family reasons. I didn't do my PhD/Dphil in either Oxford or Cambridge, nor I have any (significant) connection there.
How many chances do I have to get a lectureship in either Cambridge or Oxford? (Both of them are advertising jobs in my AOS).

William of Baskerville

Great, thanks Marcus and Ms Manners for this feedback re multi year job!

elisa freschi

@wants to move to Europe,
most universities in Europe are what would be called R1 in the US, so that you are not expected to have connections with Oxford or Cambridge in particular in order to get a position there. But you need a strong profile (many publications, good research profile, etc.). Good luck!

anon anon

I have a question that may have been addressed before, but I'll go ahead and ask it anyway.

I have two campus visits coming up. I'm quite nervous about them. I wanted to know if anyone had any general advice about approaching these campus visits. Are there specific questions I should be prepared to answer? Any general or specific advice would be greatly appreciated.

One thing I was wondering about was whether I should prepare syllabi for courses they might have me teach. Or is that overkill?

Dr. Job Seeker

anon anon: My thoughts are that, if you're at the campus visit stage, almost nothing is "overkill" when it comes to preparation. If you have time to prepare syllabi, go for it. However, it's essential to be prioritizing what's most important. I suspect having completely prepared syllabi is low on the list. So you'll need to consider whether your time is better spent polishing your job talk and (if applicable) your teaching demo. But there is a decent chance they could ask you about how you would teach a particular course, so you should at least have given thought to it. And having a syllabus ready demonstrates your preparedness well. (Disclosure: I'm a fellow job-seeker so take my advice with a grain of salt).

Also, here are a couple questions I remember having at a campus visit last year:
1. If you could teach any course you wanted, what would it be and how would you teach?
2. What are some specific things you do to make sure you are teaching equitably and being sensitive to the diversity of your students' ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds?

Random job market person.

Im actually I’m actually not sure about the claim that there is no such thing as overkill for flyout prep. I think I screwed up my first flyout by being, in one sense at least, over prepared. I had spent most of the preceding month focusing on researching everyone, coming up with loads to say about the syllabus, smart questions to ask, exactly how I wanted to present my research and come across etc. But I ended up with total tunnel vision on the version of myself I wanted to present. When the questions I was asked didn’t align perfectly with what I was expecting (i.e. when I didn’t get the chance to say all the amazing things I had planned) I panicked. I was too tied to my prepared script and ended up just coming across like an idiot. Flyouts where I prepared a lot, but didn’t go completely overboard with some vision of how I wanted to present myself (i.e. flyouts where I was more prepared to answer random questions on the fly) went far better. Maybe the lesson here is that there is no such thing as overkill, but only if you prepare well. It may also be very dependent on your personality/ adaptability.

Also so far none of my flyouts have yet been successful. So take what I say with a large pinch of salt.

SC member

anon anon, I'd also be prepared to talk about why you're interested in that job/university in particular, and be able to say thoughtful things about how what you're doing could connect with other stuff happening in the university - either in the department or outside of it or even in the community beyond the university.

And you probably can't prepare fully for everything, so try not to think about that as the aim. Think about the things you can prepare for, but also think about the things *you* really care about and want to know. So if you get a curve ball question and answer in a less than stellar way, you can then just pivot to something you do care about and are ready to talk about - and that, I think, shows you're a thoughtful, engaged person who a department would want to have around.

My department is currently hiring, and obviously I want a good researcher and good teacher. But there are a million of those, and I'm pretty confident all of our fly outs fit those boxes. So one thing I am really looking for is evidence that candidates would be good departmental citizens, and I think you can show that by being thoughtful and having questions and ideas to bring up yourself.

Dr. Job Seeker

I could use some interview prep help. "Do you have any questions for us?" This is probably the only questions I know that I'll get in an interview, but I still hate it. Do you all have any suggestions on what sort of questions to ask them (in either a first round or second round interview)? I'm open to hearing low-hanging "stock" questions, but would also like to hear your more creative suggestions.

I know that what one should ask depends on the school. But I'm browsing the school's website and I'm getting very little info about the department itself. The school is a teaching-focused state university that appears to value research. And the student body is likely very culturally and socioeconomically diverse.

Chris

Dr job seeker:
As you say, it can depend on the school but also on the kind of person you are.
1. What is the culture of research like in the department? Are there informal reading groups? Do people live close or far from campus? Do people tend to work at home or in the office?
2. What is the department’s relationship to other departments at the university? Is interdisciplinary work encouraged or challenging?
3. Is it possible to co-teach courses? How many and what varieties of courses are possible to teach?
4. Ask about your potential future col’eagues research. Many candidates - esp on campus visits when there is time - don’t take the opportunity to ask: what are you working on currently? (Obviously less relevant if applying to a teaching oriented school. But at most schools faculty do some research)
5. How are the humanities treated at your university? Does the admin seem supportive of research? Do they encourage or expect you to apply for grants?
6. How many philosophy majors are there? What are the most popular classes? Majors? What are the students like?
7. What is the city like to live in? What if any are the relations with nearby philosophy department at university x? Do you ever organize conferences or talks together?

Many of these are more appropriate for campus visits, but some are adaptable to first round questions. Try to pick questions where you actually care about the answers.

Rory

@ Dr. Job Seeker

Yes, yes, this is job specific of course. When it comes to first round interviews, I would suggest that it is perhaps NOT good to ask questions that put the department members on the spot or in a potentially negative light: i.e. 'how many majors do you have' or 'what do other departments think of the philosophy department' or 'does the university support the humanities?' If they have four majors or a bad relationship with other departments or the college of liberal arts is struggling with admin, you've just forced them to talk about that when you are still in the position of being interviewed by them. That's like a bad first date where that might be enough to give a bad impression. Maybe don't ask questions where the answer could embarrass them or such. These questions would be more appropriate for an on-campus, where it is not just them interviewing you, but also you interviewing them and genuinely considering if you'd want to work there specifically.

I think the 'what questions do yo have for us' is generally a chance to show that you have taken the time to look at the college and department. Do they have any concentrations or minor tracks that you could contribute to? If so, ask them about it. Do you do interdisciplinary work? If so ask them if there are opportunities for it or it is common at the college. I'm saying this from the perspective of a more teaching focused school. I'm sure others can speak to research focused departments and everything is said above might be void in that case.

Regardless, I think Chris is spot on in saying pick questions where you actually care about the answers. It's hard to do, but it does come across in interviews.

Dr. Job Seeker

Chris and Rory: Thanks to you both! I agree that I need to be sincere. But those questions are a helpful place to start.

Dr. Job Seeker

I think it's insulting that so many schools keep applicants in the dark for so long. Some don't send out any PFOs at all or if they do, they send them well after a candidate has already been hired. (The most egregious example last year was a job that had an application deadline of October 2017 and I received the PFO in August 2018.) This year is no exception. I have crossed more than 40+ jobs off my application list because I have seen on forums that those schools have already scheduled first or second round interviews. I suspect that I will not get an official PFO from a majority of them. I understand that they do not want to prematurely reject people. But how often does a school actually end up going back to their applicant pool of people beyond their top 20 candidates? Why can't they send PFOs to the remaining couple hundred candidates sooner?!

It is even worse when schools fail to communicate effectively after you have been selected for an interview. Last year I had a first round interview with a school and then I never heard back from them. And in another case I had a second-round interview (campus visit) where it was down to me and one other candidate. They said they hoped to make one of us an offer within the next couple weeks. A couple weeks went by and I reached out to them. It turned out that they had made an offer to the other candidate (and he/she accepted) only days after my visit. They admitted that they had mistakenly forgotten to inform me! This year, I have had at least one first-round interview where I know that the school has already scheduled flyouts. But they have not said anything to me. It would be nice to get an email saying, "Hey, we've scheduled second-round interviews. You were not selected, but you are still under consideration and we will let you know if anything changes."

Ok. Sorry for the rant. I'm mostly just venting. The market this year is taking a toll on me--even more so than it did last year.

anotheranon

Out of pure curiosity, I have a question. I've heard from some friends that they were able to negotiate later start dates with TT offers in order to take postdocs. My question is related, but the reverse: has anyone successfully negotiated early salary (to allow one more paid time to prep courses one will be teaching in the fall). I'm imagining one month of early salary, so nothing extravagant.

Amanda

anotheranon at a research school you might be able to do that. It can be called, "summer research pay."In that case it will probably all be a matter of administrative rule. I wouldn't dream of asking that at a teaching school.

Amanda

Dr. Job seeker - I think not informing people after a flyout is just inexcusable. It takes so little effort on the search committees part, and is just basic manners. I feel more or less the same way after skype interviews, although no notice in this case isn't as bad as after a flyout. However, in cases where one didn't get a first round, most of the time it is administrative rule. Search Committees simply aren't allowed to send pfos until a certain date. A

SLAC Tenured Prof & Chair

Dr. Job Seeker

A good deal of HR's won't permit the sending of PFO's until a contract is in hand. This has been the case at multiple institutions I have worked at.

At my institution, people who were neither brought to campus nor skype interviewed wouldn't find out until the Spring. People who were interviewed at some point will be told informally by the chair.

I understand the frustration, but please don't think it has anything to do with there department or the people within it. These things are simple regulations that are required for some reason or another by administration. My school does eventually send formal PFO's though.

At any rate, good luck, and keep your head up.

T

There's something about the claim "we can't, HR won't let us" that doesn't sit well with me.

I guess it's this: we all (Ok, probably not all, but many of us) acknowledge that what the HR people are demanding is bullshit. We recognize it would be better to email candidates. So why aren't we (a) asking HR to do better, and/or (b) just saying 'eff the HR folks; I'm emailing them anyways'? I mean this seriously: what methods of enforcement do the HR people actually have that are keeping you from just doing the right thing?

I suppose I should say that I ask this as someone who has systematically ignored BS rules governing academic crap. I did this as a grad student, have done it in all three jobs I've had post-phd, and so far as I can tell most of the enormous number of `rules' universities have in place have zero enforcement mechanism.

Number Three

I still fondly remember last year when I did a flyout, which seemed to go pretty well, and then I just never heard from anyone at the college again until I got a PFO from the HR department at least four or five months after the fact.

Seems like a really healthy, ethical organization.

HR pal

T and others,
believe it or not there are HUGE assholes out there who love to make legal trouble for universities. As a result, administrators have gone on the defensive. They are holding their cards so close. The result is this type of behavior. But realize that all they need is one complaining person, and it can cost the institution lots of money.

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