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I think if's fine to reach out if you want to, but as Marcus notes, you might continue to get nothing.

I think reaching out is definitely good if you have an offer and a deadline to accept that offer (and you have interest in this other place). But my sense is that unless you can bring that into play, most committees will just inform us at their own pace.


but of course, there is the situation where you got an interview, you were told a specific timeline during the interview and then heard nothing and continue to hear nothing (happened to me right now) . . in that case, I think reaching out is recommended.

Let's do the math

I find this conversation rather alarming. The people who think you should contact a place after two months have no idea what so ever of what it looks like from the other side. Imagine the extreme case - 600 people contact the chair of department after 2 months. Clearly, the chair would not even have time to find out who each person is, let alone write a short e-mail to them. If they tried to reply everyone in one week, they would be writing 120 e-mails a day, for the who 5 day week. That is 15 per hour, which means 4 minutes per e-mail ALL week long.
So, they will set their teaching aside, their meetings, and other such things ... really!?


@let's do the math

i'll agree with you insofar as 'applicants' go; it would be unreasonable to expect SC's to communicate every query from every applicant

but interviewees is a different story; if you interviewed with a school--we're not now talking maybe a pool of 10--and you can't be bothered to respond to their queries after you gave them a specific timeline and then nothing is communicated.

i don't think that's okay and you seem to protest a little too much here.

what about it looks like from this side?


I am the reader or original poster.

I meant to write "three months or some long period..."

Maybe a better question is:

How much time must elapse after a job posting's deadline before an applicant can properly reach out to a search committee to see if the search has been canceled?

Prof L

OP— unless you had an interview, the most likely explanation is that you are no longer in the running. It is likely that the search is continuing, perhaps completed. Quite frequently I have never heard back, I also remember getting rejections (hilariously) in July for jobs I had applied to the previous fall. Of course, it would be nice if updates were sent out (“we are now conducting 1st round interviews”) but that doesn’t always happen, and as Marcus says, some departments are forbidden by HR from sending out updates. This is why things like the wiki and the jobs thread here exist. But those often aren’t exhaustive, since not everyone participates. So Marcus is right here—after 3 months, I think it’s time, not to reach out to the search committee, but rather to give up hope. I’m a bit puzzled, what reason do you have for thinking the search has been cancelled, rather than that it has moved on without you?

increasingly anxious applicant

Prof L,

What wiki are you referring to? There's a compendium for people to post updates on specific jobs, right? (I vaguely remember this being true, but can't now find it...) Please let me know.


Applicant, in previous years some other philosophy reporting websites have been active, but this year they have been almost entirely inactive.


Prof L

anon lists the ones that were once active—I should have referred to the wiki in the past tense, it's no longer a thing. I also want to apologize for what in retrospect looks like a harsh comment. That last question was not meant rhetorically, but rather, I was just wondering if the OP knew (through an inside source or something) that there's been no movement at all on the search, in which case it might be reasonable to ask if it's been cancelled. But, unfortunately, when I haven't heard back for several months, that has without fail simply meant that I did not receive an interview, and that department is bad about updating applicants on their status (maybe b/c their HR forbids it). It's a really unfortunate feature of the way things work: no news is (after a month or two) bad news.

Assistant Professor

Like others, I agree that if you KNOW you were long or short listed, and have not had further follow up it *might* be appropriate to follow up, but I would do so if and only if I had an offer in hand (or knew with some certainty that one was on the way) and believed that the institution at which I was short/long listed previously would be a job I would likely accept over my current/impending offer, or would want to learn more about to weigh against my current/impending offer. So this is a pretty narrow set of conditions to reach out. When I had a job offer pending I reached out to two institutions that were not nearly as far along in their hiring processes, but to whom I would have wanted to give full consideration if I had still been in the running. Both wrote back quickly and graciously with the status of their searches and where I fell in them, and this helped me make informed decisions about an actual decision I had to make. While I really empathize with the generalized anxiety and uncertainty of the job market, I don't think they provide sufficient reason to follow up with a search committee directly.

former job seeker

I think job candidates will be a lot happier if they just assume not hearing from a school means rejection. I can't wrap my head around so many philosophers who make check lists of every school they apply to, and then wait for PFOs to cross schools off the list. My "chart" would always start with every school checked off as a, "nope, you didn't get it," and only after I had an interview offer would I change that to a, "you're saying there's a chance!"

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