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09/08/2021

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TT faculty

flyouts: In my flyouts, the dean/provost meetings have been for my information, not theirs. That's what they've said, and despite my best efforts, they have all just talked at me basically, telling me HR things and the like. Maybe you could ruin a candidacy in one of these ("Want to see a magic trick?"), but my sense is that otherwise, they don't play much role in decision-making. (And, fwiw, I have never heard anything substantive from a dean/provost in the times I've been on the hiring side.)

mhm

@flyouts: agree with everything TT faculty said above, but at least at the Catholic SLAC, I'd expect a question from the dean like "Why this school/job?"

anon

I've had extremely different interviews with R1 dean/provosts vs. SLAC dean/provosts. My R1 dean experience basically as TT faculty describes above - here's the chart of salaries, here's the list of benefits, etc. Felt like a total formality.

But the SLAC experience was entirely different - this one had questions about my research and teaching, and one about - it was something about the "arc of my life story" and why working at their institution was the next right thing to happen in my life, or something like that. And I also had the sense from the committee that this was a person I should care about impressing.

anon californian

at both the flyouts I had (both R1s) I was basically re-interviewed by the dean, so I think there is a lot of variation given what the above two posters say. I'd be prepared to talk about your research and teaching to someone who is probably not a philosopher, and to have things to say about university or college level things you would be interested in doing, interdisciplinary stuff, etc.

FC

@flyouts: I agree with TT faculty and mhm.

However, one time, I was asked something like "why philosophy?", and I responded with something like "queen of the sciences." She paused and then said, "no, it's math." Her field. We sparred good-naturedly for a moment and then turned to the HR stuff.

aesthetician with a temporary job

@flyouts I agree that administrators at Catholic schools will probably ask you to say something about 1) the Catholic intellectual tradition or 2) the specific mission of the order that sponsors the school. Maybe a dean at Georgetown wouldn't ask this - but, then again, maybe they would.

Most of the time, I think this is a fit question, not a statement of faith question. They want to know if you "get" what's important about the way they go about their work.

Last time I interviewed at a Catholic school the provost asked this question. The provost wanted to do some philosophy (they were also a member of the sponsoring order, which I think makes a difference). The dean, on the other hand, did a poor job assuring me the school was solvent. In that meeting, I was there to be talked at.

deans

@flyouts, I have limited experience so far, but so far I have had two different types of dean experiences. In one, it felt like an interview -- they asked me everything from how I got into philosophy to my commitment to DEI, and why I was interested in the school. (There was a short amount of time for questions at the end.) In the other, it was mainly an opportunity to get information, especially about resources & mentorship for new junior faculty. I have also heard that these often function as "pitch" of the school. I would be prepared for both ends of the spectrum: something that feels like an interview and something that feels purely informative on your end, just in case.

Curious about others' experience/advice, as I also have some more coming up!

Faux Job Add

@ Cognate discipline villain: I know of 2 real cases (at different universities on different continents) in which this has happened in the last few years. The institutions were required by HR to advertise the job, but they ultimately hired the person they more or less promised the position to. Since this is usually kept secret (and would be horrible for a university and the candidate to have it publicly revealed), it’s very unlikely that we’ll ever know if any given job ad is for a job with a predetermined candidate. My guess is that it’s not terribly common, but my knowing 2 real cases of this is very peculiar to me (perhaps I’m just a good secret keeper and that’s why I know of 2 cases at all!). It’s probably not representative of anything.

Busy deans

In my experience, Dean/provost/president interviews tend to be the most variable. Some are just formalities. Others actually want to ask you things. The good news is that the vast majority of these meetings don't seem to factor much into the hiring decisions. Most of the time, the dean isn't on the hiring committee. They just have to approve the hire. Basically, as long as you seem remotely personable, the dean is likely to just go along with whoever the committee picks.

As that said, in terms of tips, keep in mind that the Deans tend to be busy with something or another, and some won't want to waste their time interviewing you at all. Twice I had deans end my interview meeting early because something random came up. Just roll with it if that happens. It doesn't affect the outcome at all.

SLAC Associate

@I hate this all:

I don't think that's all that typical as a response from a hiring department, but I've seen it happen before (it actually happened to me a number of years back where I got a late offer from a place after their chosen candidates bailed on them). But from your end, you have no idea what it might mean. Maybe the committee wanted to flyout three candidates, but the dean only approved an initial two, you're #3, and the committee is still trying to change the dean's mind. Or if it's a less prestigious kind of place, maybe the committee is worried their top picks will go elsewhere and they'll have to return to the interview pool, and so don't want to turn candidates off with an outright rejection. Or maybe the committee was too cowardly to just say that you're out of consideration. The problem is that there's no way to know from your end which of those possibilities is the case here. I'd advise treating it like a rejection now, move on emotionally, and enjoy the happy surprise if you hear positive news back from them later.

I hate this all

@SLAC Associate Thanks for that. What's especially frustrating and confusing is that I was lucky enough to get a few first round interviews and received this sort of you're-not-a-finalist-but-keep-us-updated rejection from all but one one them. That's why I thought maybe it was regular for committees to send this to everyone they Zoom interviewed. So maybe it means they liked me enough they didn't want to eliminate me right away, but not enough to spend a first round fly-out on me. I guess in some ways that's an okay place to be, but ugh. Just tell me no and don't mess with my head for any longer than you truly need to. Yeeeesh.

On the market

I'm curious: When places do zoom 'flyouts', do they then actually bring out the candidate they offer the job to? Or is there an expectation that you would start (and thus potentially finish) your career in a city you've never been to?

visits

@on the market: a few places that are doing virtual fly outs explicitly mentioned the possibility of visiting in person if one gets an offer (presumably on the school's dime). So it's worth asking! I think in the worst case, one could visit the city on one's own, but it'd of course be better if the school sponsored it.

This is of course assuming there is enough time before the offer needs to be accepted/declined, but my impression is that -- at least in the US (but not the UK, from my understanding) -- candidates usually have a few weeks before deciding?

decisions

If one is interviewing at several schools and receives an offer from one of them while still in the interview process with others, what is the proper etiquette? How should one proceed in regards to a) the school that made the offer, and b) the other potential jobs?

This also alludes to what "visits" said above. How long is usually permitted for this kind of decision? Especially given that it involves moving, and often with family, too.

SLAC Associate

@decisions: The proper etiquette and the best strategy all around is to be forthright with all the places you're interviewing with if you get an offer from one institution. Tell the schools you're interviewing with that you have an offer on the table, and tell the school who made the offer that you are also under consideration at other places.

Usually the school who made the offer will give you something like 10-14 days to make your decision. You can ask them for more time to make the decision (up to 3 weeks isn't all that unusual), but be prepared that they might not give you that time and might try to force you to make a quick decision. Or they might sweeten their offer in hopes of getting you to accept. The schools that are still interviewing you, conversely, may try to speed up their process if they are very interested in you, or they might decide they can't get you and they'll just tell you congratulations and wish and you well as they move on to other candidates. But in either case there's really no way to make your situation better by being quiet about the offer in hand.

it depends

@decisions: it will also really depend on the school. Once I got an offer that I had to decide on in the next day, but that's considered very bad manners (it was a tiny school, and they didn't really know what they were doing at all). I told the other application in progress (after the 1st-round of interviews) that I was not continuing with that application.

Curious

I know this must vary, but what is (roughly) a normal amount of time for an institution to give a candidate to make a decision about an offer?

Conrad

@decisions: I want to echo what's been said already. I've been in your position twice. Both times, the Early Offer University gave me just over two weeks to decide. In one case, I contacted the other schools I had upcoming interviews with. One moved up my interview and I ended up being offered (and taking) that job instead of the early offer. The best strategy is what others are recommending: let the other birds in the bush know that you have a bird in the hand. It's at least a signal of your value.

As many have noted in other venues, one unfortunate effect of the move to online interviews is that the Eastern APA no longer anchors interviewing timelines. Some schools can interview earlier, without having to wait for the APA. Other schools can drag their heels without having to worry about missing it. Consequently, it's harder for candidates to hold two offers simultaneously because it offers are now seldom simultaneous, given unanchored interview timelines. Organized schools can make early "bully" offers to candidates, who have less negotiating leverage. It sucks, but it's the new normal.

lesser-known school?

In terms of negotiating an offer, I am curious to know when a school I am offered a position is a less prestigious kind. For example, I am offered a position from school A, a very small liberal arts college. Then, I am also invited to a second-round interview for school B, which is a small but a state university. In terms of prestige, B school is better. In this case, can I make myself competitive or speed up the B's process by informing B that I am offered a position from A?

Cognate discipline villain

@ it depends. That's called an "exploding" offer. It is relatively common in some other disciplines and is sometimes made by higher-ranked universities.

jobtalk question

I'm looking for some advice regarding a job talk I have to give in a month or so. (Fly-out; the talk is an hour long and should be geared towards faculty+grad students, some of whom are experts in the area.) I have basically 2 options: a) present a forthcoming paper; b) present something from a new project.
I know that (a) is sometimes frowned upon, but it would be easier; I started my new project not too long ago, and while I can probably get together an hour-long talk from it, it will not be polished. On the other hand, since I'm invested more in the new project than in the old one, it may be more engaging.

Anyway -- what do people think about this? (Also, I'm applying from Europe, and most of my peers here are very unfamiliar with the US system, so I can't really crowdsource locally.) Any advice, from either side of the hiring table, would be very much appreciated!

Anon1

@jobtalk question: When hiring a colleague, I am more interested in what they are going to produce than what they have produced. So, knowing that they have something interesting that they are working on would play better with me than knowing that they have something coming out that won't count for their work at my university.

SLAC Associate

@lesser-known school: There are no guarantees but your best strategy is to inform B that you have been offered a job. A job offer is a job offer. You'll have negotiating leverage over B just in case (i) B is already seriously interested in you and (ii) B thinks that you're seriously considering the offer on the table. As long as both those conditions hold, B will probably respond in much the same way if your offer is from NYU or if it's from North Lutheran College of West Carolina or whatever.

Also, you don't need to say where the offer is from, though they might ask. But even if you say that it's from school A, for all school B knows you might be very interested in A's offer. Maybe you have reasons to want to live in A's part of the world, or maybe you like the idea of teaching at an A-like institution, or maybe your partner's great-grandfather was one of the founders of A and they have multiple family members who work at the college, etc. The specific reason doesn't matter, all that matters in negotiating with B is that B thinks you might be interested in A's offer.

jobtalk question

@Anon1, thank you.
I guess the question, basically, is whether a committee would be more interested in (1) knowing what a candidate's mostly finished research looks like; (2) knowing what the candidate is working on right now. I could imagine either, but really don't know which is the case. (But for (1), they may just want to consult the published papers.)

Butler update

https://www.wishtv.com/news/butler-university-professor-fired-after-being-charged-for-child-porn/

This seems to be the reason the chair of the butler search "stepped down" - he was charged with felonies and fired. It doesn't seem to have slowed down the search at all though

lesser-known school?

@SLAC Associate, thank you! It really helps!

moving

Do institutions offer to cover moving expenses? Cross country moves can be quite expensive, and difficult to finance for an early career academic. What is the norm here, at least for new TT hires?

Moved West to East

@moving: I think it is pretty variable, both in terms of whether assistance is offered and in terms of how much. I expect that variable probably correlates strongly with other forms of material support. I think many people get some assistance but not enough for full coverage. I got my expenses covered, but I would not have been able to afford a full moving company situation.

I wonder

If you have an offer from A, and you would really truly enjoy working at A, but you have a slight preference for B, and you have a fly out at B, but it's not for another month. What should you do? Should you tell B about A to see if the timeline might be moved up? Or would this be a bad idea? Or should you try to drag out the timeline until you get a verdict from B and hope that A waits?

Gambling Addict

@Wonder: So, here's what I would do:

Tell B about your offer and see when the earliest would be that they could notify you about their decision. It's not so much when *you* have a flyout, as when all the candidates will have interviewed and the search committee/faculty/dean will have decided on a candidate. Once you have that date, ask A to give you enough time to complete your last scheduled flyout, but give them the date that B told you that they'll be able to notify you by. If A won't give you that much time, then take the offer.

The importance of BCC

To anyone running searches who reads these threads (maybe Marcus can make a post about this), it's really really important to use BCC when doing things like sending out Zoom interview invites.

If you invite all of the participants to their Zoom interview by creating a single invite for all (rather than inviting them to an individual interview time), then all of the participants are visible to each other. When looking to see which faculty are involved in the interview, one might then discover exactly who else is being interviewed.

mover

about moving ...
many places pay NO moving costs. But some do. In fact, I once had a contract job (sessional lecturer position, in Canada) where they paid your flight to the city, and out of the city (after two years, when the position ran out). But my first TT job at a state college paid nothing!

Moved

Re moving costs, yes, this is super variable. My first TT job paid up to $500 in moving expenses, while my second (current) TT job covered all moving expenses. Because of the changes in the tax code under Trump, though, moving expenses are now taxable, so keep that in mind. (I opted to have the moving company pack up my house, move everything across the country and unpack, because I had an infant, but that was way more expensive than other options would be, and I think I ended up having to pay something like $3k in taxes on my moving expenses - which would have been really tough if I was just coming out of grad school.)

Gambling Addict

Did anyone also see the HigherEdJobs ad for a TT position @ Wellesley posted yesterday (1/29) which helpfully informed us that the deadline for applications was the day before (1/28): https://www.higheredjobs.com/details.cfm?JobCode=177784324&utm_source=01_30_22&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=JobAgentEmail

As far as I can tell, Wellesly didn't advertise anything on philjobs. There's also nothing currently on their HR jobs website about this position. Anyone know if this is (or was) a real opening? Some weird error? A digital trace of a behind closed doors job search?

anon

The ad seems pretty straightforward on it not being a normal ad: "A strong candidate for this position has been identified".

beep beep

@Gambling Addict I notice weird things like this on higheredjobs at least two or three times per application season. Sometimes jobs will be newly posted there after the search has been cancelled and disappears from the HR website (no hire is made subsequently, so nothing obviously shady has happened). I also occasionally see jobs posted there past the deadline, usually this is an error as it shows up on PhilJobs later with the correct deadline.

In general it's not clear whether higheredjobs is moderated so it's good to cross-check the ad. Since it isn't posted anywhere else and the HR link doesn't lead anywhere definite, your safest bet might be to find an admin staff member at the philosophy department and email them about it, if for no other reason than the fact that the ad doesn't actually link to an application.

beep beep again

Oops I didn't even notice the line 'anon' pointed out. Yeah this isn't a standard search. Probably explains the past due deadline, the absence from the HR website, the suspiciously specific AOS categories, and the fact that it isn't/wasn't posted anywhere else.

also anon

I also tripped over that Wellesley ad. I'm not gonna apply, but it's fun to speculate about what's going on there. The job ad stipulates a 2023 or 2024 start date, which is very odd for a junior search. So my best guess is that their identified strong candidate is still in grad school. Not sure why they would go for something like that, but I can at least think of two possibilities: either it's the only way for them of getting someone with that aos profile from a top program, or the strong candidate has some connection to their department (e.g. a couple hire situation).

Beware the internal hire search ads

Re: Wellesley, I have to guess that this is an inside hire and a post to meet minimum institutional requirements for all hires. Keep in mind that many institutions have requirements for all hires, e.g., that an ad be posted in X venue for Y amount of time at level Z of specificity. I saw that Wellesley job ad and am guessing that Wellesley’s department aims to make a specific hire and not do a search (they say almost as much in the ad), while their larger institution requires that all searches be advertised on HigherEdJobs, though not for a specified period of time, hence the negative amount of time allotted.

‘Pace’ what was said on here recently, my sense is that a fair number of job ads are for internal hires that will not entail an actual search. Tell-tale signs of these cases include short periods of time between posting and closing, minimal documents required (e.g., just letter and CV), and hyper-specific AOS and AOC, as with the Wellesley ad.

Also, I can confirm that HigherEdJob postings are moderated.

East Coaster

Also anon: My speculation is that this is a lateral, opportunity hire, given the late date, and that the question is how long the person they are after wants before they move.

Just sayin'

WRT the Wellesley ad, they appear to have a very specific Princeton ABD in mind and it is not a real search.

ahhh

It's February and it feels like things are about to get even more stressful....

How are you all staying sane knowing so many decisions will be made soon?

Epictetus

@ahhh - everything has two handles, the one by which it may be carried, the other by which it cannot.

I'm trying to hold onto the right handle.

spring?

I am really not looking forward to dealing with the Spring market if I end up in that situation. When do Spring postings start picking up?

Gambling Addict

The speculation on the strange Wellesley job ad was more informative than I thought it would be! Thanks all.

Wishful thinking

How long do search committees typically take after flyouts have happened to get back to their first choice candidate with an offer?

SLAC Associate

@Wishful thinking: Every search I've been on, the search committee has made their decision before the final candidate's plane has taken off. Not sure that everyone does it quite that rapidly, but the slowdown is typically the institutional process of getting final approval from the dean or whoever. I'd expect most places are making their first offer within 96 hours of the final visit, with the median being half of that.

norms

what are the norms for negotiating an offer? salary? course release? do you need to have another offer to have leverage? is negation typically expected?

the sky is the limit

Norms
If you are working in the USA, anything is open for negotiation. But, know the local culture. If you ask for a pre-tenure sabbatical when you have colleagues who have been teaching there and not had one, you will look a little too self important.
Also, if it is state university you can find the pay of public employees. This should set your target for what you can reasonably ask for. If you are staring a TT job and you ask for what a tenured person is paid, again you will look like a big ass.
And you are then off to a bad start.

Anon12

Wishful thinking

Here, it can take a week or so to have a departmental meeting to formally discuss the finalists and vote. Then things go to the Dean for final approval, so it can sometimes take a couple of weeks after the last candidate visits to get an offer to our preferred candidate.

SLAC Associate

@norms: I hope more people respond than just me, because I'm not sure whether this is generally true: but in my experience you don't need another offer in order to be able to negotiate, but you do need to have reasons that are saliant to the administrators at the instutition. "I'd like to have a course release" isn't going to fly, but "If I could have a course release my first year, I'd be much more competitive for this large grant application" has a better chance of working. It's also easier for deans to grant one-time bonuses (e.g., moving allowances, start-up cash, one semester or year of course release, etc.) than to grant recurring boons such as significant salary bumps.

Marcus Arvan

This discussion (about negotiating offers) is so important that I'd like to migrate it over here: https://philosopherscocoon.typepad.com/blog/2022/02/norms-for-negotiation-an-offer.html

Feel free to keep discussing here if you'd like the (relative) 'privacy' of this thread, which may not be as widely viewed as the new post discussed above. But, please do feel equally free to discuss there!

Q

It seems like quite a number of departments are going straight to fly-outs without first-round interviews this year. I am very curious about what others think of this practice as this is my first time on the market: is this something relatively new? Is it more common among high-ranked research places? For schools that adopt this, do you find it a helpful way to minimize bias arising from interviews?

Any discussion would be greatly appreciated!

anon

NTT here in a dept currently doing a TT search and so I have an inside look at the candidates getting to the final stage.

Just gonna say its depressing and insane.

The sheer level of of pedigree of ABD candidates is staggering. They have better CV's than tenured folks at my same institution.

I think it reveals just how awful this market is--awful because of the sheer number of amazing candidates.

Not surprising that anyone needs to here this but there are going to be so many well qualified folks left without a job.

Stiff market

@anon: what is the AOS of the search, if you don’t mind revealing?

Giving up on 2022

At what point did any of you decide to quit the market? What led to that decision and how did you survive it? Are there spaces we can go to where we can just process the emotional weight of this trash fire with other academics?

anonymous search chair

@anon: Going through files this year, I've seen more than one newly minted PhD who had more and better publications than my entire search committee combined.

anonymous footstool

anonymous chair: I am not in the US now, but when I was, just a few years ago, I did not see what you described. I see very accomplished applications, but I did not see them as so much better than the search committee members, and I neve saw anyone better than a whole committee! Indeed, I never saw anyone approaching my earlier self when I got my first TT job.

postdoc

@anonymous footstool, I guess that would depend on the kind of school you were at. I can totally see what @anynonymous search chair means. I, and plenty of people I know, have applied to and gotten PFOs from jobs where none of the department members had serious publication records (and we do/did).

Ripe

Zoom interview B.O. is worse than normal B.O. Discuss.

abd

I've applied to over fifty jobs this season and haven't gotten an interview. This is my first time on the market. Just wondering if this is normal, any feedback is appreciated.

postdoc

@abd Unfortunately yes, it is kind of normal, a little bit depending on your AOS/AOC. The market is extremely competitive, and there are people who have already defended, with good publication record and lot of teaching experience, and still not getting jobs.

bad magician

@abd, yes, unfortunately, this is quite normal. I applied to 150 (!!) jobs in my first year and when I was ABD. I did ultimately get two interviews and one non-TT job (advertised in April and accepted by me in July). So unfortunately, these kinds of horror stories are quite normal, but the non-TT market is still kicking up and is reason to hold out hope, as excruciating as that can be.

@Ripe: I LOLed. Thank you for that. I’ve gotten a few belly laughs from this board this year. I’m still laughing at the suggestion that one could try to show the dean a magic trick during the the dean meeting made above. I am a finalist for a TT job for only the second time here in my fourth job market year, and have the interview on Monday. I’m working on my magic tricks for the meeting with the dean.

Also curious about giving up

@Giving up on 2022 I struggle with this question a lot. I've been on the market over four years now and I can't quite figure out how to stop. Here is what I've come up with so far: I'll likely leave for good when I strike out the first year after I haven't added anything significant to my CV (such as a VAP or postdoc position or a publication).

For example, suppose I don't land a VAP for 2022-23 but in late summer I manage to scratch out a forthcoming publication. Then I'll definitely go on the market during fall 2022, spring 2023, and fall 2023. (But where will I live!? What about the placement gaps in my CV!? Argh!!) If for all three seasons I have no placement success and no additional publications forthcoming, then I'll considered that three strikes and call myself out. (And I'll likely start transitioning to a non-academic career during summer-fall 2023.)

I have no idea if this is a good strategy. I'm curious if others have thought about Giving up's important question and what strategies they are taking.

strive on with diligence

@abd The APA article linked below provides a decent analysis of placement more generally. But I'd be curious to know what percentage of ABDs get placed in a TT job. I suspect that it's low when all ABDs are considered. So my guess is that, unfortunately, it is common. But it likely depends on many different factors like home institution, publications, letters, etc.

Overall, I don't think it's uncommon for people to spend 5+ years on the TT market. I've been on the market for four years. I did not graduate from a so-called "top" institution. The year of my defense I did not go on the TT market and I barely landed a VAP. (And I really mean "barely"! I only had two interviews that spring, and the institution I landed at offered the position to another person who had to turn it down at the last minute because of visa issues.) That fall I applied to over 30 TT positions but did not get a single interview. I did get my first publication. That spring, I applied to 60+(!) VAPs but only got two interviews. Fortunately I landed a VAP that was renewable. Since that first year I've had a couple TT zoom interviews but so far nothing has stuck. I have a ton of teaching experience but not a super strong publication record.

Meanwhile I know of many "superstars" from "top" institutions that seem to have ridiculous luck. I know of a few that have gotten *both* a postdoc and a TT job while they were ABD. I know another that got a TT job while ABD and has since gotten *yet another TT job* at a different R1 school. All of this is to say I sometimes feel that the overall distribution of opportunities in our profession is extremely unfair.

On a brighter note, I know of someone who spent a few years without any academic position but still managed to eventually land a TT job at a decent institution (after seven hard years on the market). So it's not unreasonable to keep going if the payoff of academia is worth it to you. When I get discouraged I just try to keep focusing on the students, keep focusing on philosophy, and keep applying, applying, applying. So don't give up!


https://www.apaonline.org/members/group_content_view.asp?group=110435&id=918649

Another abd

I applied to 30 TTs this year and have so far gotten 4 interviews and 3 flyouts. I do think it has to do with one of my AOSs, which happens to be in high demand this year.
Also, although I am not from a Leiterific program, I do notice the (quite substantial) halo effect top programs add to their candidates. That’s pretty hard to fight, unfortunately..

Anonymous #00004857

Is it ever worth adjuncting just to stay in academia after striking out? After all, they say it's super important to keep an affiliation while on the market.

Also important: when is it determinately not worth adjuncting?

(I don't think adjuncting 1 class to keep an affiliation + doing good non-academic work is super viable since most classes are scheduled during normal working hours. Seems like for most of us, at most you can adjunct and work in the gig economy simultaneously.)

Branding Strategies

@abd - That sounds normal, but maybe it depends a little on how selectively you applied too? I’m also ABD, applied for 80+ jobs (almost all TT), and I interviewed with 4 institutions. If I had been more selective about location or teaching load, I probably wouldn’t have had any interviews.
Also, each job I interviewed for was in a different AOS/AOC (e.g., history, m&e, ethics). So, being a bit of a generalist allowed me to apply to more jobs, but I get the sense that the people who will ultimately get these jobs will have one main AOS.

What do you all think? Is it better/more strategic to go on the market as a generalist or as someone super focused in one main AOS? (I may rebrand if I go on the market again next year.)

postdoc

@Branding Strategies: My sense (having been on the market for a few years, although, apart from the first one, never quite full-time) is that it depends on the school. Being able to teach in a broad area is definitely an advantage for most, and (unless you have actually taught a lot of different classes) easier to demonstrate if you have a broader AOS. But of course they would also want you to publish in excellent journals etc., which is probably easier if you have a very specific focus.
My strategy, which has mostly worked so far, was to underscore my broad AOS when applying to more teaching-focused jobs, and underscore the specificity when I was applying for research-oriented jobs with specific AOS's.

@Anonymous #00004857: circumstances matter a lot. I could not adjunct since they generally don't sponsor visas for non-US citizens. You may also not get health insurance benefits. How much that sucks will depend on your situation.

Branding Strategies

@postdoc - Thanks for sharing! I think your strategy is one I would definitely like to try next time!

Follow-ups

How are follow-up emails inquiring about one’s status after a first-round interview generally perceived by committee chairs? Is it better not to inquire since it may just annoy them?

I’m considering doing so in a case where I was told they wanted to make offers fairly quickly, and it’s been a week longer than the estimated timeline for offers they gave me.

From all of that, it’s probably safe to assume I’m out. But, I wonder how common it is to request updates or how welcome that would be given where we are in the season? Is it only best to do so when one has an offer from another school on the table?

Ghosted interviewee

I would just like to chime in that I would also love to hear more about the norms and do's/don'ts when it comes to follow-up emails. After I was ghosted by one institution for several weeks after an interview and no one else posted about any updates on here I did send the contact person a follow-up email, to which they never replied... That obviously made me think even less of the professionalism of this particular search committee, but perhaps it was inappropriate for me to email them at all? If it matters, they also gave me a timeline for when I could expect to hear back from them and then totally blew past it with no word.

Marcus Arvan

@Follow-ups and Ghosted: I'll post a discussion thread on the main Cocoon page for search chairs to weigh in!

hoping

How often do search committees need to go back and make an offer to their second (or third...) choice? In other words, how often do candidates turn down offers?

East Coast

Hoping,

Of the four most recent job searches that I have been highly proximate to, 2 went to first-choice candidates, and 2 did not. Ymmv.

in vain

In response to @East Coast and @hoping (and others), does the verbiage of "the position has been filled" in a rejection email following a campus visit indicate that the SC's first choice has accepted AND all of the relevant paperwork has been signed on both ends? I was recently a finalist in a search and I'm wondering what sort of sliver of small chance there might be that the current person still backs out

SLAC Associate

@Hoping: Of the last five searches I've been involved with at my SLAC, I've known two candidates to turn down an offer, one for a better offer elsewhere and one who chose to leave the profession rather than accept our job.

the wait is killing me

Suppose you're a finalist for a job. You know that an acquaintance (met a couple times and friendly but not friends) is also a finalist. Is it weird or inappropriate to reach out to them and see if they've heard anything or gotten an offer? I know it's a stressful time and I imagine this sort of thing could add to the anxiety, but of course it's hard to be patient and it could be helpful information for a number of reasons.

Rosa

@the wait is killing me - I think it would be fine to reach out to them. They might not be your friend yet, but if they work in your area and are a decent person and you both stay in the profession, you'll likely become friends. Even if you are competitors now, you can start to build a relationship for the future where you're not.

pro-information sharing among applicants

@the wait is killing me, for what it's worth, I've done this and/or had it done to me a few times and it has never felt weird. There's a kind of camaraderie and solidarity among the applicants, and sharing information is very helpful. Especially if I trusted the other finalist, I would reach out to them if I were in your position.

SEC postdoc

@the wait is killing me - I think if someone reached out to me in this way, I would feel weird about it but not necessarily in a way which involved the other person. Don't know if that makes sense.

I guess, if you think it will make you feel better to know something, it seems fine to try and know that thing.

frustrated

Is anyone actually making offers? It feels like nothing is moving along, and the wait is torturous. Is anyone actually done with the process?

Gaining Grit

@frustrated: I’ve been wondering the same! Do people typically post in the report thread when they’ve received or accepted offers? I haven’t seen anyone do so this season. If it’s normal for folks not to post that info, that could partly explain why it seems like nothing’s happening?

Anonanon

I think people don’t often post offers themselves for fear it might annoy the people who made it. And in fact some depts intentionally don’t tell the runners up, in case the first person turns them down. Then they can pretend the runner up was their first choice. I know of two offers that have been made but not posted (not made to me, sadly). I also don’t want to get anyone in trouble, so I haven’t posted them. Maybe I will.

sisyphus

Out of pure curiosity, how many other job seekers feel that their CVs were comparable, or perhaps, were even vastly "better" than the search committees of the jobs they were applying for? I don't ask this to be rude or snooty, but rather just as a reality-check. I think I got lulled into believing I had a chance at certain jobs because my publication record seemed a cut above what was coming from the department where I was applying. Obviously, it's all about who you're up against in the applicant pool - but isn't it weird to apply for jobs where your CV seems longer than the tenured faculty at the institution? Anyone else have similar experiences? Makes me feel like I was born in the wrong era.

David

@Anonymous #00004857 I don't know when it's determinately not worth being an adjunct to stay affiliated or whether adjunct affiliation matters a great deal for future searches, but depending on the good non-academic employer or field, it's not at all abnormal to adjunct teach while working outside of academia.

Over the past 4 years, I've had research roles spanning two companies in industry (first 2 years PT, last 2 FT) and teach FT (3/3, no research, service, or advising responsibilities). Both industry employer and academic dept have been accommodating and flexible, and it benefits each in various ways. I also know a bunch of other people who work in industry FT and adjunct teach on the side.

Tenured now

@sisyphus When I was on a search committee a mere 5 years after getting my TT job I felt like basically all of our finalists were way more impressive than me - so it's very likely true and you're probably not the only one thinking it. Things got way more competitive even in that short period of time.

As for being born in the wrong era to be an academic, there was a 70 year old professor when I was doing my PhD who said that when he'd started his job, the wisdom was: your MA gets you a TT job, your PhD gets you tenure, and your first book gets you Full. Jesus H. Christ.

leaving academia?

I think I might get an offer from a non-academic job soon that is pretty decent. The job market for non-academic jobs is incredibly hot right now and it was such a breath of fresh air to feel like I had leverage and bargaining power compared to my academic job hunt experiences. I would really prefer to stay in academia but nothing from my fall search has panned out and I found it really stressful and draining. I'm confident I could land an academic job eventually since this is my first year searching and I've had a few interviews and one flyout but I don't want to be on the market anymore and am especially reluctant to take a VAP or a one-year postdoc.

Any advice? I'm leaning towards taking the non-academic offer.

Greg Stoutenburg

@leaving academia: Take the non-academic offer! I've told my story previously here: https://philosopherscocoon.typepad.com/blog/2021/08/how-to-leave-philosophy-guest-post-by-greg-stoutenburg.html

I can confidently say that since leaving I'm less stressed, working on things I find more interesting than the 4-4 (minimum; reality: 4-5-2) slog I was in, and the pay is considerably better. Run, don't walk.

Also, I'm working on a more structured version of the advice I gave in the blog post above, so if you know anyone in the same position, stay tuned and feel free to send them my way.

Frances Billere

What are the potential costs of reneging on a contract? What are the professional norms against this? Does this happen more than one would think? Say you already signed a contract, but then you get offered a job you prefer (e.g., a job close to family), would it be horrible to break that contract? What are the reasons for/against here? Putting legal considerations aside, I'm guessing this would just mean burning a bridge with that previous school (messing up their search), but is there anything else?

stressed

Good problem to have but: I have several fly outs coming up which will require me to cancel class for my current students. At what point is this frowned upon? How many times can I cancel class for job interviews? For background, I currently have a full-time NTT position.

Blink

Hi fam. I've heard tell of a mythical Facebook group that also does job market updates. Does anyone have the link?

anon

Not sure about the Facebook group but now that someone has brought it up I do wonder why job market updates are posted here in a reporting thread instead of an actual philosophy jobs wiki page?

I find it kind of annoying to have to filter through pages and pages of comments to find anything on top of the fact that when people do post updates here half the time they don't include what job it's for and when there is more than one job at the same institution, it prompts a thread of replies asking which job the update is for, which creates further clutter to sift through to get any actual information. It's so much more user friendly and a lot more organized to have all the jobs posted on one page, and then updates for each job all appear under the relevant posting, and recent updates to the page are listed at the top. It makes no sense do this in the format of a forum though I suppose it helps that it's moderated (thanks Marcus!) because maybe there's less chance of gossip/things devolving to a toxic metaforum, but still!

East Coaster

@Frances: I think there are some people who would hold this against you; I would encourage you to fend for yourself. The dept can almost certainly replace you (see the reporting thread and the grim list of PFOs for evidence of other, surely stellar candidates). If it is only slightly better, I would stick with where you are. But if it is a lot better, and family life is often this sort of difference maker, you have to live your life!

And even if that dept is annoyed, or if random people on the internet are annoyed, people move on. Departments sometimes pull offers, for unreasonable reasons, and yet other good philosophers still apply and take jobs there, and people give talks there, and the rest. The world keeps turning. The penalties of disreputation (such as they are) are often way, way, way over-weighted, imo.

@stressed: Given what I said to Frances, you won't be surprised that I think the number of permitted cancellations is pretty high. Certainly 2 or 3 seems fine to me (especially in the era where you can post a moderate lecture video as supplement). When I was in a similar position, my chair said to me that I should not worry at all about cancelling classes, or even posting videos. The students will survive (and, in fact, won't remember at all that you cancelled classes by June at the absolute latest), and it could make a huge difference for the rest of your life.

re: wiki anon

There used to be a wiki (or two). People voted with their updates, and seemed more willing to update here, until the wikis declined and then disappeared entirely.

I'm happy with the situation. I think being in a moderated space is good. And talking to people about the details can be nice and useful, even if sometimes people are lacking in precision and there are some pointless posts due to that.

Conrad

I'm with "re: wiki anon". Marcus is doing us a service by moderating a place for job info. It forestalls a metablog-like scenario where every post risks devolving into anons shitting on successful candidates' CVs.

Vappy

Just out of curiosity, I was wondering if any other applicants know their "success rate" for applications? (This is also the sort of thing I might've liked to have seen comments about when I was brand new to the job market). For me, so far this year I've landed one interview for every 10 applications (last year it was 1/6, but I started super late in the game and almost exclusively applied to VAPs and the like. I also tend to only apply to positions that genuinely seem like a good fit). -- For me, it's sort of easier to stick with the job market slog if I can think a bit less about specific positions (and rejections) and more like "I sure hope there are at least X plausible job postings for me to apply to this year," heh.

Class Cancellations

@Frances: 100% agree with East Coaster, but you might take a few extra precautions with your students just in case. Even when a canceled class is noted in advance on the syllabus schedule and verbal reminders are given, some students will still forget, not look at the schedule at all, and will show up to the classroom on the cancelled day… and they won’t be happy.
The lesson I gained from juggling interviews/flyouts with teaching may be kind of obvious: post more reminder announcements than you might otherwise about cancelled classes (especially if you’re cancelling frequently) and remind your students that there are limits to your email availability while traveling to manage their expectations for your response time.
Some of my students will probably remember in June that I was unresponsive for almost a full day when they sent me their panicked emails before their first paper was due. (Of course, they won’t remember that I told them I was on a plane and replied as quickly as possible or that I had extra OHs the week beforehand to avoid that issue.) Negative memories tend to be stickier than positive ones! If you can avoid that, students probably won’t mind your cancellations, especially if you tell them it’s for job interviews.

late capitalism

@stressed I second the advice from East Coaster and would add that, considering University admin has their bottom line in mind when they hire NTT faculty to teach their classes, it's only fair you should have *your* bottom line in mind when it comes to allocating your time. Obviously you should do as much to support your students as is reasonably possible, but hampering your job search for teaching that isn't leading anywhere is not, at least imo, reasonable. I know teaching cultivates feelings of obligation that present as highly personal, but at the end of the day it's the whole edifice of academia's job to fulfill student needs, not yours alone.

Application "success rate"

@Vappy, I have been tracking my applications for seven years. Like you, I apply only to positions where there seems to be a good fit (no open/opens at fancy places). I am lucky to have a TT job but I also a range of issues including, but not only, a two-body problem that means I need to move or eventually leave academia.

I average 10.5 applications a season (at most 30, at the fewest, 1). I've been solicited as a candidate numerous times. The best year for first-rounds got me 5 out of 30. Zero of these yielded flyouts.

I had a few years where I had direct flyouts. Zero turned into an offer.

I had one year where all my first-rounds turned into flyouts. Zero turned into an offer.

Almost each year I have had direct flyouts or first-rounds. Zero turned into an offers.

I know the details of how often I have conversions from one stage to another, but I don't think it tells me anything about the likelihood I'll get a job. This isn't a coin toss. Feedback from interviews has been unhelpful--conflicting and idiosyncratic, and mostly about the department's pre-conceived desires, which I cannot mold myself into.

I'm at a point where getting tenure is in sight, at which point moving will be nearly impossible, I think. Probably I'll take tenure if I get it and see if I can't find something alt/non-ac. I suppose I'm happy to have had these few decades training for, and being (relatively speaking) successful in a career. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't anxious and sad about the future. At least I can look at my spreadsheet to see that I gave it my best shot.

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