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Some of the best advice I had when I was on the market is to realize what your part of the process is and realize what someone else's part is. So once you have got your materials in, then just forget about it. It is now someone else's turn to do their part. There are too many reasons for why they might not be keeping to a schedule. And some of them are good ones. But applicants should concentrate on those parts of the process that are in their control.
And good luck to everyone this year!

Alex Grzankowski

I wish I would have *actually listened* when I was told I'll need to be patient. I had a rough guess as to how things would go (this was 2012-3) and I was simply confused/wrong. I had a Skype interview in December. I thought some news would come in January indicating whether I was still in the running. I heard nothing until mid February at which time I was invited on campus (that was good news! but I spent about 8 weeks very very stressed). After being on campus, I heard nothing until mid April. I did get the job in the end. But that was a time of stress and misery.

Why did all of this take so long? I was able to learn a few things.

As Marcus points out, some stages were held up by the dean and other offices that the department couldn't control. But the biggest explanation was that there were other candidates that the department was more interested in. I was not the first choice. So I was held waiting for other people to turn various offers down (fly out in Jan, actual job offers in the spring). You just don't have control over this phase and I wish I could have wrapped my head around the fact that I might have to sit tight for many weeks. I was not in a good place through all of this because I was checking emails constantly and practically having an aneurism any time my phone rang (and more often than not it was just some crap spam call adding insult to injury).

So, I think it's important to do one's best to just let it go and let the process unfold (easier said than done).

But that said, I don't think departments are as open with people as they could/should be. I think departments tend to think something like "if we tell this person they are our 4th choice, we will lose them', "if we tell this person we are waiting on the dean we will seem disorganised", or maybe they just can't be bothered to craft an email... Whatever the reason, I wished then and I advocate now for being as absolutely transparent as possible. I was desperate to stay in philosophy. I got 50+ PFOs. I would have been elated to hear I was still in the running! Departments - give as much info as you reasonably can! People are sitting on the sidelines stressing out in way you might not remember or perhaps never had to deal with yourselves in this context. If you get past your "we will let you know by X", please check in. If you didn't provide any such indication, check in now and say when, even roughly, you ill have more info. If you start flying other people out, just tell someone they are still in the running but not presently on the fly out list. And so on. And goodness sake... if you do fly someone out and you don't hire them tell them directly! I can't believe that people can spend 48 hours getting to know someone then just drop them like a bad habit. In my experience, people can handle bad news and prefer it to being ghosted.


It took months from the time that I was first contacted by my current institution until I got the job. I was first contacted in early November saying that they wanted to interview me but needed to clarify a couple of points first. They said they'd contact me in a week to schedule a video interview - it took them a month to get back to me. Had the video interview in early December and was told they'd get back to me in a week because they "had to" schedule fly outs before Christmas. Didn't hear back from them until the second week of January - and I was apparently the first candidate they contacted. And then thy scheduled my visit for 6 weeks after that. After the visit, things went very quickly, but only because the Dean told them that they were at risk of losing the funding for the position.

Over the past decade, I've had many similar interviewing experiences. It's all about figuring out how to wait without going crazy.


One of my experiences post-interview is not consistent with the 'wait it out' advice. I had two skype interviews with various faculty members for one tt job, at least one of which seemed to go quite well. They never contacted me again. After several months I sent an email just saying "hi, thanks for taking the time to consider me, ect.", which was not responded to. My impression is that it is unusual to not inform a candidate that they have not been selected, but maybe I am wrong.

never hearing back

As C above, I also had the experience of never hearing back after Skype interviews, and no reply to a follow up email. I'm wondering how common it is to treat job applicants like that.


I don't have much to add, but hopefully a personal anecdote provides a bit of levity to those playing the painful waiting game:

I finished my PhD in 2019 and am lucky to be in the first semester of my first TT job, this fall. In November of 2020, I've only *just* officially gotten word that I was rejected from an MA program I applied to as an undergrad. So, maybe more news is still coming!

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