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09/08/2021

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Former Chair

@stressed:

Consider leaving your students with an online assignment. E.g., a video or case study with a discussion board exercise/prompt. It doesn't have to be something you create or grade. Just aim for content related to the course so it doesn't look like your students got x days less content than similar students.

VAP

Hi everyone! What's the VAP application timeline? I have a limited-term appointment, which might expire somewhat soon. Have there been much fewer VAPs posted this year coopered to pre-pandemic or even last year?


SEC postdoc

@VAP: I think you should be seeing a lot of VAP openings now - and through the end of May.

VAP

@SEC Postdoc -- Thank you!

no feedback

Looking for perspectives on the typical ratio of first round interviews to flyouts. This year I had 5 first round interviews for TT jobs plus a sixth for a long-term teaching position, but got zero flyouts. I'm wondering if this is typical or if I should worry I was doing something bad in interviews. From my perspective, only one of the interviews went notably badly.

Relevant context: This is my first year on the job market and I have a very thin CV, so I was definitely not expecting a TT job. But this raises another question: if I was never a serious contender, why would so many programs bother to interview me?

thoughts

@nofeedback: I doubt there's a 'typical' ratio. I received 5 fly outs out of 12 interviews (so about 42%). I have friends that had much higher and much lower ratios, and it's hard to know what to read into it. I couldn't really explain why I advanced for the ones I did, and why I didn't advance for the ones I didn't. I think fit considerations play a role, and it's hard to know what people are looking for during interviews. People have suggested before that search committees often have some implicit ranking in mind, where some people have to bomb to not get a fly out while others need to crush *to* get one. I don't know whether that's true. I wouldn't infer that you were never a serious contender, though, given that you didn't get a fly out.

Remember that it's already an accomplishment to get an interview, and many places go straight to fly outs and get jobs from there. The job market is a lottery in so many ways.

Also VAP

Wanna follow up on @VAP's question and ask what the timeline is like for the process. I expect there to be a lot of variation from school to school of course. But do they generally do rounds of interview, fly-out too?

hopephil

Just in case you didn't see my message on the "reporting thread." I started a subreddit r/philosophyjobmarket22 for those of us wanting to chat about the job market, still. Feel free to stop in and post!

Non-TT teaching job at R1 haver

For the sake of data collection: This is year four on the job market for me. Over the years I've had eight first-round interviews for TT jobs, two "fly-outs," so exactly 25% at this point.

Yuge job lad

For more data collection: 2nd year on the market; two first-round interviews for TT jobs; zero flyouts. 1 interview for a postdoc (did not pan out).

feedback lacking

Thanks @thoughts @Non-TT teaching @Yuge job lad for the data points.
I do wish committees could share more info about reasons for flyout choices (e.g., we liked how you answered question X but are flying out ppl with more publications; we are flying out ppl who gave a different answer to question X; etc). It's hard to know how or whether to alter one's behavior when one only gets generic PFOs or radio silence.

DataProvider

For more data, I'm finishing up and ABD, so it's my first year on the market. I've have had 3 first round interviews for TT jobs, with 2 converting into flyouts.

anon

ABD first-timer: 5 interviews, 3 flyouts, out of 25 TT apps.

@feedback lacking: perhaps this analogy is not entirely appropriate, but I've always thought about those interviews as blind dates. How many of those dates would move on to a serious relationship, and would you tell someone reasons why you decided not to see them anymore after the first date?

Moreover, even if some committee members are kind enough to let you know why you are not chosen for flyouts, chances are there is very little you could do about it to make sure you do better next time (e.g. the winner happens to be able to teach phil-race, dpt prefers someone with a continental training, you are more 'technicality intensive' than 'big-picture driven', dpt needs someone to cover a metaphysican's one-year leave, etc.).

At first it was really difficult for me to accept how much of job-hunting in philosophy is about 'fit'. Even when two departments are doing search in metaphysics, the candidates they pick out from the files can still look very different. Unfortunately, there's very little we can do on this side of the market.

Radical Approach

@no feedback: I’ve had similar thoughts this season. I’m also an ABD first-timer. I had 3 TT job interviews + 1 postdoc interview, only 1 TT job fly-out. The job I had a fly-out for was my first and absolute worst first-round interview of all (tech problems, no time to prep, no sleep, etc.). I was shocked to get the fly-out invite. It seemed super random, but when I arrived it became clear that a few of the interviewers connected with certain answers/stories I told.

@feedback lacking: I don’t know if this is helpful, but this is how I’m dealing with the situation as I approach preparing for next season—
We can’t know what goes on from the committee’s side (even when we ask) and knowing that fact isn’t super helpful for taking actions to improve. It’s also not helpful for motivation. But, we have some decent self-knowledge of our side of the interview (arguably). So, instead of thinking about what we can’t know, I identified key moments in the first round interviews that could have possibly played a role in explaining why I didn’t get a flyout offer. I’m trusting my gut that I can identify things like: my weak points (by my standards), whether I got enough sleep/other life stressors affected my mental state, what answers I rambled on, or things like a specialist on the committee in my AOS asking bad Q’s about my writing sample (that were more like talk Q&A grilling objections than genuine questions about my work), etc. I’m identifying these things to give myself something to work on to improve for next season (e.g., I’ll have a response ready in case that critical-type of Q about my writing sample comes up again). And, identifying things like that also helps me frame the story I’m telling myself about why I’m not moving on to the next round (e.g., that committee member clearly didn’t like/disagreed with my work in a fundamental way that I probably couldn’t have overcome given that individual’s philosophical commitments).

Perhaps others will strongly disagree with my approach or the suggestion that we can really have any knowledge of what went wrong or why we didn’t move forward to the next interview stage. But, I’m analyzing my interviews with self-compassion (no self-blame!) and identifying these possible weak points gives me something to work on for next season. That feels empowering to me. Each round on the market is intel we can work with, right?

Buyer's market

@feedback lacking - That sort of information would not really be useful. What we are looking for when we ask question X may be very different from what another school is looking for, so changing your answer won't really help. We interviewed 12 people via zoom his year, and would have been happy to bring 10 of them to campus. The three that we selected were not "better" than the 7 we did not select. For us, it just came down to which of these qualified candidates had experiences that were additional plusses, which ones had demonstrated teaching/research/service skills rather than just promise, etc. Each search committee and department are going to weigh things beyond the job requirements differently.

My department's last three assistant professor positions have gone to people who have given up tenure to come here - when that is the applicant pool for an unranked R1, it really does come down to perceived fit.

feedback lacking still

@Buyer's market I didn't explain my idea very well. The type of feedback I was thinking of would help to distinguish cases where I didn't proceed because of a bad interview from cases where I didn't proceed because of fit and/or my CV. You say, "For us, it just came down to which of these qualified candidates had experiences that were additional plusses, which ones had demonstrated teaching/research/service skills..." This is exactly the type of feedback I would find helpful. It means I at least didn't bomb the interview.

@anon I assume you can usually tell if a blind date didn't work because of lack of fit (e.g. no shared interests) versus because the other person behaved awkwardly. My point is that I'm having trouble distinguishing these two cases with respect to my interviews.

anon

@feedback lacking still: I see! Maybe one way to do that is look at those winning candidates' CVs and pick out likely factors of 'fit'? My sense is that as most TT searches proceed to closure, those data should be available for self-comparison shortly.

Also VAP

@ feedback lacking still I might have some relevant experience to share from having served on a search committee myself (perhaps usual for a grad student?). Out of the x candidates we interviewed, I'd say half of them really bomb their interviews. But overall that didn't figure much into the deliberation process of the search committee in writing up our recommendations to the whole faculty. A bombed interview could be counter-balanced by an amazing job talk, or an impressive writing sample, or whatever. And that's how it should be: candidates are evaluated on a holistic basis. The ways in which one bombs the interview matter, too, of course. But interviews are nerve-racking, and in my experience my colleagues were, overall, more than willing to not look too much into a bombed interview.

small fish big pond

Does anyone have any sense of which journal has a faster turnaround time between Mind and Phil Review? I understand that the chances of getting an acceptance are dismally low for either of them, but I'm currently in the process of trying to send something out in as good of a venue as possible just to see, with the hopes of maybe landing something before next year's job market.

word of warning ... from a mid-sized fish

Small Fish
You should have a very good sense that your paper is really really good before you send it out to either of those journals. There is a lot of discussion that implies refereeing is random. It is not - there is a lot of noise, but it is not at all like a lottery. I have published in Nous and Phil Sci. It is far more predictable when a paper is ready for a highly ranked journal.

small fish big pond

@mid-sized fish thank you for the feedback, but I am very aware of this already. The people advising me have told me to go for one of these two after having seen the paper, so it's really a matter of wanting to know which one has a faster turnaround time. I've seen stats that suggest phil review is faster, but I'm not sure that's actually the case. This is also not my first publication in a good journal, fwiw

failed searches?

I heard that two of the top political philosophy jobs this year were failed searches: UNC Chapel Hill and Toronto. This blows my mind. How can search fail in THIS market? Anyone have any insight?

small fish small pond

@small fish big pond: Phil Review is way faster, at least with rejections! They desk reject almost everything (like 95%+) in a few weeks. All their stats are posted on their website, which is nice. I don't know stats about Mind, but anecdotally they are way slower to reject, and I have no reason to think they are faster at accepting. So I would go with Phil Review first.

anon

@small fish, etc.: Could the discussion here please stay focused on the job market? There are other threads for discussion about journals/timelines for publications. Many of us are still interested in this forum as it concerns the current season’s market.

historygrrrl

@failed searches: In my experience, failed searches are quite common in top-ranked departments.

Often, these searches are attempts to recruit somebody that is already well-known in the field - think mid/late assistant - and will boost the ranking of the department either immediately or within the next few years. Sometimes, they will also go for an ABD or recent PhD that is the Next Hot Thing. In some cases, the department has a secret list of potential candidates that they would like to try and recruit.

When I was in graduate school, we had one search that failed two years in a row. In this case, the department was very selective about finalists. Some finalists used an offer as a way to negotiate with their current institution; others bombed in various ways (terrible job talk, inappropriate interview behaviour) that precluded them from getting an offer.

When I was on the market, there was also a post at a top department that had become a running joke to me and my partner because I applied for it every year. I applied to the same job no fewer than four times.

Decision Timeline - Shorter Window for Later Offers?

How long can a waiting period last after a fly-out? Suppose a university makes an offer to their first choice candidate, and they keep all the other finalists waiting. Many schools seem to give candidates two weeks to decide (and then negotiate). Supposing the first-choice person declines, are second or even third choice candidates usually given the same amount of time to decide about an offer as the first-choice candidate? Or, does the window for decision-making usually reduce considerably for later offers?

I’m curious if there are practical or administrative-type reasons a search must finish at a certain point and whether a short timeline to decide for a later candidate’s offer likely reflects those time-constraints of the committee *or* if it reflects some unfair pushing of those later candidates. Ideally, I want to be able to identify the latter situation if it happens.

(I know, “it depends,” is a likely answer to this question, but humor me. It would be helpful to hear from a committee member’s experience.)

Stay cool

Decision time
there is no law about how long they need to give a candidate to decide to accept a job offer. So you do not have much ground to stand on. Of course there are norms in the profession. But these are hard to enforce. In the USA there is a firm time-line, especially at teaching oriented placed. They need someone in the classroom in late August, when the term starts. Often the courses for the new hire are even listed before the hire is made.

Bobby Fischer

Texas State U appears to have posted a TT ad on Thursday, with a deadline of Monday 4 days later. If you choose to apply enjoy using your weekend to write up 2 specific sample syllabi they ask for, and better have and AOS in, *checks notes*, Aesthetics and Philosophy of Digital Media. Oh and also make sure your 3 letters arrive on time. What kind of scam is this?!

Texas State ad

@Bobby Fisher: I also noticed that — how odd! The timeline makes it seem suspiciously like an insider hire. It’s not even posted on philjobs.

Another Texas State ad

I just came here to register my raised eyebrows at the Texas State U ad. I only just saw it on PhilJobs today. Initially it said the deadline was 3/21 as Bobby Fisher said, but sometime later it was modified to 3/31 at least on PhilJobs, although not on the university website where one applies. I don't see anything about Aesthetics and Digital Media on this ad, though. And the ad on PhilJobs is titled "Assistant Professor of Philosophy*," but I can't find an explanation of the asterisk anywhere. Any idea or at least suspicion about what's going on here? Also, where was the ad before it was on PhilJobs, if I may ask, @Bobby Fisher?

trapped?

Every year I go on the market I get a few interviews for TT jobs at very good places that don't pan out, and I get interviews nowhere else. I worry I am caught in a trap: my profile is not strong enough for top places to hire me, but too strong for other places to hire me because they don't think I would come or stay. Any advice on how to get out of this trap?

releasing the trap

Trapped
I do not think you are as trapped as you think. When I worked at a 4 year state college, we took every application seriously. The only ones that we passed over who had strong research profiles were people who had no sense of what kind of job they were applying for. This was evident, not from their pedigree, but because their application package (eg. teaching materials) was completely unsuited to our students and our institution. We did not need someone who was keen to teaching a course on grounding, or philosophy of physics. What we needed was people who were prepared to teach our general education courses - which all of us taught. These included: history of ancient, history of early modern, intro. epistemology, ethics ...

Gutted Decision

When is it best to trust your gut (and decline a job offer) versus going with your advisors’ advice (to take any job in this terrible market)?

The state of the market would suggest faculty feel they must encourage their students to take TT jobs even if there are very good personal reasons not to accept an offer. But, there may also be good reasons to question one’s judgment when it’s a big life choice, emotions are high, and one will really never know what it’s like until one is there working the job.

Any thoughts or experiences to share?

postdoc1000

@trapped Another angle to consider is what you might do to change how you're received in the interviews you are getting. You write that your "profile is not strong enough for top places to hire" you, but that seems untrue if you're getting these interviews in the first place. I doubt many (or, honestly, any) committees are interviewing you with no interest in advancing your candidacy, so it seems totally within your power to land one of those jobs. Maybe it's just terrible luck, but maybe it's an issue of doing more research on the departments and interviewers, and practicing your interview skills in order to present yourself as being the right "fit" (that most elusive but important of hiring committee criteria). I know for a fact that my (well-regarded R1) department has passed over otherwise excellent candidates on those kinds of grounds.

rather not

@Gutted:
This will probably depend on a lot of factors. From my experience, I think it's a bad idea to accept an offer one is not super excited about. I was in the same situation and took the suboptimal TT and then ended up leaving for a temporary position after a couple of years.

be a decent human being

This should go without saying, but when you are on a campus visit, treat everyone you interact with with respect and dignity. We just finished flying out three candidates. One gave a substantially stronger job talk, had great interactions with TT faculty and had an impressive teaching demo. However, he also treated our departmental support staff as servants - demanding that they do things for him, and ignored non-tt faculty during his visit. When our department met to discuss the finalists, there was near unanimity that he was the best researcher and teacher. However we also voted to not consider his candidacy further. We'd rather have a failed search than bring in an asshole as a colleague.

Market Ethics

I just mentioned this in response to another post, but wanted to post here because i'm genuinely curious about what those of you on the market/recently TT offered think about this. I'm a grad student on the market, and I have witnessed multiple job searches at my department over the years. It's a good department, so very good applicant pool. Often what has happened is that my department has made offers for TT jobs at Assistant Prof level to people already in TT jobs elsewhere. These candidates have then declined pretty quickly, and then no one gets the job. I think this is standard practice among top departments who don't 'need' hires as such for teaching etc., and only want the best people. My question is, is it unethical to apply for a job you have no real intention of taking? Even if there is even a 10 or 20% chance you might take it if offered, what justification is there for doing this, given that you are essentially keeping someone else out of a job who very much needs one and who is sufficiently qualified [the other non-TT'd flyouts for example, who are clearly good enough]? I'm not talking about those people who are genuinely undecided, but those who know that, all things considered, they'd much rather stay where they already are.

Anon

Market Ethics: As somebody who will probably be leaving academia after 7 years in fixed-term positions and who has been a finalist for multiple jobs that ended up being offered to already tenured people who strung the departments along before eventually turning down the positions leading to failed searches....it certainly seems to be a pretty shitty practice to me.

Overthinking

I need some advice.

I was selected for an initial interview for a VAP position. I happen to live in the area the university is in because of where my wife works. The interview is soon, however, there is a colloquium coming up before my interview. The search committee has stated that they would like to interview me via zoom out of fairness considerations for the other candidates. Would it seem odd, or be looked at unfavorably for me to show up to the colloquium? I have no intentions of using this as an opportunity to bypass the fairness considerations and sneak in an informal in-person interview; my intention was just to go, listen to the talk, and participate only if I have something to say, and then leave. The talk is open to the public. Any advice is appreciated?

hopeless academic

@overthinking are the other candidates presenting at the colloquium? Or is it just the regular department colloquium outside of the interview process? In either case, I would just lay low until the interview process is over. If the committee is making you still do an over Zoom interview (instead of in person) so you would not have an unfair advantage to the other applicants, wouldn't going to the colloquium and possibly meeting other faculty members or having more air time in front of them if you do ask questions, reflect that? Maybe others have different experiences and views on this....

anon

@overthinking: If you routinely go to their talks because you live in the area, I think it's fine to go. But if this is the first time you would be going to one of their talks, I think it would have weird vibes and you should not.

East Coaster

@overthinking - I am (against my own best wishes) with hopeless here. Even if you aren't planning on gaming the system, you cannot guarantee that it won't be seen that way. And since the accusation will never be leveled against you, you won't be able to defend yourself. (And I can't imagine a successful defense once the accusation is made.) And, as @be a decent human being reports, faculty (very rightly imo, but regardless, they do) often take cues from the process about how someone will behave as a colleague.

anonymous faculty

@Market Ethics: I'm sure there's some version of that that is problematic, but this feels like an instance of misplaced blame to me--it's the system that is the problem!

Sure, there might be people who just shop around each year and don't intend to move. But (just based on myself being an assistant prof at an R1 and knowing a lot of the people who are on the market/trying to get the jobs you are talking about), it seems much more common that people are on the market either because (a) they have a two body problem; (b) there is something genuinely problematic about their job, and they really want to move; or (c) literally the only way for them to get a raise or make decent money compared to their colleagues is to have an outside offer.

Now, you can complain about (c); after all, Assistant Professors at R1s are basically all making more money than employment-insecure philosophers. But there are also equity issues within organizations that really do matter. If you're the one woman of color on your faculty and you are making $30K less than the white men at your career stage, and your administration refuses to give you a raise, I'm pretty sure you're justified in going on the market and racking up as many offers as you want.

(a) seems beyond reproach to me. If we've gotten to the stage where our blame goes to people whose families have been torn apart by the same unjust system you are (rightfully) upset about, then this is a case of misplaced blame. But note that for most of us, even if our ideal is to stay in our position, the only way we can engage in discussion about the possibility of a partner hire is through having an outside offer. So we literally need to go on the job market each year, even if, if things go right for us, we will not accept an outside offer. (This is my situation.)

(b) Seems fine too, but note that sometimes it will end up in someone staying where they are even with an outside offer. For example, I have a friend at a very dysfunctional department who went on the market a couple years ago; the offer she received was from an on-paper more prestigious job, but she discovered (only after getting the offer!) that the new department had potentially even more serious dysfunction problems. She reasoned that the level of disruption, etc. that it would cause her to move there wasn't worth the gamble of potentially replacing her dept's major dysfunction with even worse major dysfunction. I think it was okay for her to go on the market, and I think it was okay for her to turn down the job.

I think that these kinds of scenarios are more common than just greedy people or people who are messing around for no reason (note on the latter, there are a ton of costs even to employed people to being on the job market, and so they aren't going to do it unless they feel like they have a good reason, at least typically). I do think there are exceptions--people who just keep trying to up their salary to absurd levels, people who wrongly feel "underappreciated" by their departments that are actually just trying to be somewhat egalitarian, etc. I do think we can criticize these people. But my sense (of course I could be wrong, or have a distorted sample size) is that most of the people applying for lateral-movement jobs have some sort of good reason to be doing so.

(I forgot to mention (d)! Tenure year application. If you have any risk of being denied tenure... you should be going on the market and trying to get job offers. And if there's something wrong with that, it's something wrong with the system. But this often can look from the outside like someone is just racking up offers only to turn them down. That's because they are either using those offers to ensure that they get tenure, or using them as back up in case they don't get tenure, either of which seems... totally fine.)

anonymous faculty

p.s. I am actually a little confused about the case: if the department decides to offer no one the job after the first candidate turns it down, that looks to me like it's the department that is depriving candidates of jobs, not the person who turned it down (2nd and 3rd choice candidates get hired constantly!); also, it is not obvious at all in this case that those candidates would have been offered the job had the top ranked candidate simply not applied--after all, they weren't offered the job when they were second or third in line and that person turned it down. If it's that the other candidates are no longer available, I guess I would consider this too bad but not exactly anyone's fault--but if it is anyone's fault, it's the department's, for not being more conservative about their fly out candidates (that is, for picking 3-4 "risky" candidates). In either case I guess I don't see how someone turning down a job is at fault in this case.

Market Ethics

Thanks @anonymous faculty. This is helpful. I think (a) and (b) fall within the qualification I made about *not* referring to people who are genuinely undecided. However, I agree that there's something to be said for (d) and possibly even (c) in specific circumstances (although there were no women PoCs involved in the searchers I mentioned, but I can see how this might happen). So I agree that it's permissible to go on the market while TT'd in certain cases. The slightly different question I was getting at is whether this is genuinely good practice, particularly when one takes other candidate's on the market into account. Do we have obligations to others on the market who are in more precarious situations than ourselves? Your answer seems to suggest that we don't, and this lies solely with departments. I think that's the standard view, and I was just wanting to know if everyone felt the same. [also good to know 2nd and 3rd choice hires do happen regularly! I've not seen it, and I do think this makes a difference to the evaluation in these cases. The point I was making was made on the assumption that this often doesn't happen, as from my experience].

some committee member

Would just like to agree that second and third and fourth choice hires happen a lot.

If they don't happen after a candidate rejects the job, maybe it's because candidate 2 and 3 were jerks to the administrators. But it may be because something's weird with the department.

wondering

Hi - can anybody advise - I had an interview with a British university (Oxbridge) and it's been three days since then and I have not heard back. It was my understanding that one learns basically immediately about the result, so I am just wondering what this means.

losing steam

Well, I thought the sting of not getting a flyout after a zoom interview was bad, but I just got my first PFO after a fly out and, well, damn. The committee was kind enough to let me know that I was the runner up, that it was extremely close, and that they were super impressed. So I really don't think I could have done anything differently.

Nonetheless, I am now finishing my fourth year on the market and am really starting to feel burned out, majorly. Every year I've had at least one zoom interview. This year I had two zoom interviews and a fly out. I suspect that I spent at least 15-20 hours each preparing for the zoom interviews and 30-40 hours preparing for the flyout. All of this with heavy course loads (200+ students each semester). Am I over-preparing for these interviews? I think this matters because I am having a really hard time fitting in research. Maybe I could have used some of the near 80 hours of interview prep this year for research.(This is not even mentioning the 30+ hours spent applying cold for positions, e.g., crafting cover letters, modifying teaching documents, dealing with really annoying and out of date application portals, etc.)

I absolutely love teaching and feel an ethical obligation to provide students with the best quality instruction I can. And I would be fine with a permanent 3/3 at a teaching focused institution (or even a 4/4 with smaller sections). But I still care about my ideas and of course there is so much pressure to publish. I have squeaked out 3-4 publications including two book chapters. But I always have a heavy teaching load, so I can't help but feel that every year I am put in a triple bind: either slack on the teaching while focusing on market prep and publications or slack on the market prep while focusing on teaching and publications or slack on the publications while focusing on teaching and market prep. How can I try to break out of this? This year I definitely took the last option which means that my publication record is going to look more or less the same this coming fall. Right now I'm seriously thinking about just taking a year off of teaching and focusing on publishing, but this won't help for next fall and I'm worried about having a gap in my cv.

Of course, I might not have a choice. My current contract cannot be renewed again because of weird union rules and there just aren't many VAPs being posted in my area this year, which is disheartening. Honestly, the thought of having to wait another year to find out if I might get a permanent position makes me feel a bit ill. I've been lucky and had a VAP every year since I defended, but the thought of having to wait in suspense until June to know if I'll get to teach another philosophy course makes me feel a bit ill too. How do you keep your spirits up? How do you decide that all the suspense and failure simply isn't worth it anymore?

Sorry for the self-absorbed post. I hope that some of these questions are helpful for others as well.

anon

re: steam. We're in a similar position in terms of work history, research, etc., except I'm a year ahead of you.

I think that the reality of this position - being a teaching-heavy VAP, but obliged to spend time on research to stay competitive and to spend time on interviews year after year - is that the total workload is too much. This means there's no trick to fitting it all in well. There's just compromise.

In terms of compromise, I think I spend less time on teaching and interviews than you do. For interviews, I think the odds of success are low enough for a first round that I put pretty negligible preparation in. For teaching, I think that people can overestimate the time investment that is necessary to do well by students.

In terms of anxiety, that's more complicated to give an answer to. I think for me some of this came with the self-identification with the work that academic culture encourages, and I've managed to reduce that somewhat over the years (I think).

Who got the job(s)?

Are people updating Philjobs with their new appointments? I'd like to know who is getting the jobs which I got interviews/flyouts for. While we all know that much in the process isn't up to us personally, as someone who has been consistently getting close but not being hired, it would be useful to know who is getting hired.

Or do we just need to wait until the institutions update their websites? (That could take years!--some are pretty stale.)

i did not get the job

@Who got, I’ve found that finding out who got the job typically takes quite a while. Usually the institutional course listing of who is teaching what in the next semester will be the first place to have new information. People tend not to keep current with their PhilPeople profiles, and the updates at PhilJobs are helpful but incomplete and tend to lag.

Twitter

@Who got: maybe use twitter. Search for "university of x, philosophy" and you'll found out the last mentions. Sometimes those who got the job will share whether they got it.

i did not get the job

@Who got, to be clear, what I say above certainly isn't always the case. The bigger jobs (think TTs at R1s) are often or at least sometimes trackable on PhilJobs' 'Appointments' tab, but not always. For smaller jobs (like the ones for which I tend to get interviews, at SLACs, etc.), I've often only ever found out who got the job by looking at the university's Fall course listings once they're posted and/or department webpages.

Michel

Steam: I suspect you don't need that much prep. You have the experience from at least one interview a year for four years. You have the experience from prepping so much for those other interviews. You have the experience from teaching and conferencing. I don't think _more_ prep is going to make the difference for you. (Indeed, either your prep is good enough--which it probably is!--in which case you don't need to keep repeating it, or it isn't, in which case repeating it isn't going to help.) To my mind, interviewing is like teaching that way; it'll suck up as much prep time as you want to sink into it, but beyond a certain point it's just not obvious that there _are_ returns, let alone that they're worth it.

Spend the time on yourself and your projects instead, and go in more relaxed and less burned out. Do have your job talk rehearsed and ready, and do spend some time thinking about how you want to answer various questions and what you want to know about them. But you don't need 60+ hours for that.

KA

For anyone who is on the non-tenure track, any thoughts on how to navigate applications which ask to contact your current employer? I am a full-time community college instructor looking to switch schools, but I don't want my current school to know, for fear of retribution (we are on one year contracts and thus very vulnerable). My worry is that selecting 'no' when asked whether I want them to contact my current employer - or just the fact that my current employer is not one of my reference - is a red flag. Any thoughts on how to proceed?

losing steam

michel and anon: Thanks so much for sharing your perspectives. I think one reason I prep so much for zoom interviews is that I struggle a bit with anxiety in general, which is exacerbated by the pressure that comes with the interview. Prepping helps me not freeze up and totally bomb. Thankfully I did not have those issues during my flyout, and I was able to more or less relax and just be myself.

In terms of teaching prep, I think I've had to put so much time into it because I've mostly had to teach courses not directly in my AOS.(In fact, I still haven't taught a straightforward course in my primary AOS.) I'm not feeling optimistic about the VAP market this year. But if nothing comes through I'm going to treat this as an opportunity to get some works in progress out to journals and maybe rethink my teaching strategies.

Not a problem, at least for me

KA: it happened to me once. I wrote it down that I don't feel comfortable to have my current employer knows that I'm looking for a job. I don't think it had consequences, because I proceeded to the first round of interviews

philjobs

@Who got the job(s)? (and others): it turns out to take awhile for philjobs to update appointments. Someone mentioned this, but just to give a concrete example: I've been waiting over 2 weeks for my appointment to post. I don't know why it's so inefficient -- they need to verify from the employer, but they also seem to batch them. It's really frustrating for everyone involved!

I do wish there were something more efficient and reliable than this.

demoralized philosopher

Worcester State ad that posted 4 days ago is now closed. I spent a nontrivial amount of time tailoring my cover letter only to find that I can't apply any longer. smh. This is bad.

not a legal expert

Re: the (most recent) Worcester State ad.

From a purely legal/HR perspective, is it legit to not include the closing date in the job announcement? There's a closing date on the interviewexchange job listing but not on the InsiderHigherEd job announcement.

Hopeful?

I got a slightly unusual (to me anyway) request from a place I did a first-round interview with to submit *official* transcripts. Is this common practice? The original job ad didn't ask for such things, and the person I was in contact with communicated that this is to meet HR requirements. But I still find it slightly odd that they're requesting official transcripts in the interviewing phase. Any thoughts?

non suspicious

Hopeful
In some places you need to supply official transcripts to prove you are not a fraud, claiming to have a PhD when you do not have one. Some state systems will not hire you without them. And this school may just be wanting to save themselves times down the road.
So, I do not think you should be concerned.

anon

Hopeful: Yeah, this is fine. I've have places even run a criminal background check on me during the interview stage. But they just want to set things up so they can move quickly when they've made a decision, so some places just jump through all these hoops in advance with all the candidates.

Clueless about philjobs

Re: the posting of philjobs.org appointments. I'm confused, are these announcements usually submitted by the successful candidates themselves, or by the universities that hire them, or does philjobs somehow find out who the new appointments are and then post them there? Additionally, user philjobs mentions that "they need to verify from the employer"—what does this involve? Sending out an email asking if the appointment is real? Thanks everyone.

(some) phil jobs answers

@Clueless about philjobs , I can answer some of these but not all of them.

Usually, they will accept updates from the successful candidates themselves, from the universities that hire them, and from the candidates' grad program's placement coordinator, if that person submits them. Then they verify them (in some way -- I don't know how.). Then they show up after philjobs managers approve them. As @philjobs says, this usually seems to happen in batches. My guess is that submissions to the site happen over time, then one of the site managers checks in and runs the approval for a bunch at once and posts them then. It's definitely an imperfect system, and yet I appreciate the service work these folks are doing, since it's better than not having such a place.

unappointed

Speaking of PhilJobs Appointment batches, one went up today. There’s that job for which I was a finalist. Yes, I must admit they hired someone who looks really, really good. And there’s that other job for which I was a first-rounder. Oy, the person that they hired makes me look like a damn fool. Etc.

M

unappointed: seeing the appointments can be brutal! On the one hand, seeing someone whom you'd have thought less competitive than you get a great job can make you resentful and worried you're doing something wrong, whereas seeing someone who seems more competitive than you get a job gives you the feeling that you aren't competitive in the first place. I guess the best you can do is keep in mind that it really is true that search committees want different things, and fit and personal connection are high on the list for many. Despite the seemingly 'obvious' hires, many candidates who don't look outwardly uncompetitive get great jobs and many people who look outwardly competitive are unsuccessful. Just keep at it and try your best to keep in view that success on the job market doesn't say anything about you personally (maybe that's not a problem for you...but it was for me). Best of luck to you.

unappointed (still)

@M, so very true, and thanks also for the kind words. The solidarity and camaraderie mean a lot, even in this anonymous forum. I hope this cycle has been good to you (if applicable). And the cruelty of the PhilJobs Appointments page is something that I never would have anticipated before going through the process, but it (the cruelty) is real.

Jessica Davis

The Notre Dame of Maryland University Department of Philosophy is seeking applicants for a 10-month, tenure-track, full-time, assistant professor position in Philosophy, beginning in August 2022. The preferred candidate will have a broad background in philosophy with areas of concentration in the history of philosophy, logic, applied ethics, and critical reasoning.

https://www.paycomonline.net/v4/ats/web.php/jobs/ViewJobDetails?job=18190&clientkey=42030F4CF91003462AB9D2C6FAED0643

question for unappointed

@unappointed: Just out of curiosity, what's your AOS (or the AOS for the jobs you were talking about)?

fly out

Any sense of what is normal or expected for women to wear for campus visits? I saw the thread on zoom interviews but it would be good to know specifically about campus interviews, and specifically for women (where tie or no tie isn't really a question). Is a suit/blazer necessary? Hair up or down? Those types of questions. Thanks.

idontworkintheology

Anyone applying for the University of St Andrews. Gifford Postdoctoral Fellowship? I'm curious about how inclusive the criteria of the bequest can be interpreted.

I don't work in an area that has anything to do with natural theology. I barely know what it is and will likely be mostly making it up. Is there any point applying?

flyoutattire

@fly out: I wore a professional-looking dress (in dark colors, like black or blue) with dark stockings, boots, and a jacket (not a blazer - more like a quilted jacket or a cardigan). Blazers with dress pants and a blouse are also common. You should go with what you feel most comfortable in but that still looks professional. A suit/blazer is not necessary -- it's up to you. Hair up/down does not matter -- do whatever you prefer. (Remember that philosophers typically are not that concerned with these minutiae. As long as you look professional, you're fine.) You want the clothes to be fitted, so get tailored if necessary.

For visits that were multi-day, on one of the days I sometimes would wear nice (somewhat dressy-looking) jeans, a blouse, and a cardigan. (This was for the non-job talk day.)

As for shoes, again go with something that is comfortable but professional. Obv no sneakers, but you can wear boots, pumps, oxfords/loafers, etc. (I'm less sure of norms on like open-toed sandals... I think depends on what they looked like. This Q is irrelevant if the place you're going to is cold.)

If you plan on wearing makeup, make sure that it's a routine that you feel comfortable in. Don't try new products the day of the fly out! And obv just go for a basic, non-dramatic look.

This post is helpful and has some more details: https://theprofessorisin.com/2011/11/15/1947/.

Oh, it's not a bad idea to buy a travel steamer, if you don't already have one. Irons can be risky with some materials if you're not careful. (Plus, I find ironing to be way more of a chore.)

I cannot stress enough that you should try to wear things that are comfortable in many senses of the word. You want it to fit your personal style -- hence, don't wear a suit if that doesn't suit you. You also want to feel confident in it. (This often requires feeling like you genuinely look good in it, too!) And you want your outfit to be comfortable in the more obvious sense of not being painful, not requiring constant readjustment, etc. Test out beforehand and get second opinions!

Also, bring back up things as needed. I had a backup outfit and stockings, in case of emergencies, for instance!

Hope that helps!

unappointed

@question for unappointed, I work on an esoteric historical subject, but the ads to which I was referring in that last post weren't especially closely related to my AOS. One job was entirely open, and another was through a teaching AOC of mine.

Rosa

@fly out. The advice above is good! I just want to echo that I never wore a suit - either a dress with a cardigan, or else nice pants with a button-up shirt and a v-neck sweater. If the fly out is somewhere cold, try to figure out whether there will be snow, and if so consider bringing winter boots and a pair of flats or something else small you can change into. You'll likely get a tour of campus, and don't want to have to give your job talk/meet the dean/whatever with slush on your shoes and pants. (Likely there will be a spot in the department you can leave your winter boots.) For non-job talk days, airport pickups, etc, I also just wore nice jeans, nice boots, and a sweater. I'd suggest hair up if it tends to get in your face, but otherwise really doesn't matter.

Also, pack everything in a carry on if you can - I've known people who have had their luggage lost and had to give job talks in the clothes they were wearing on the plane, and you absolutely don't want to be in that position. Good luck!

anon

Let's say you had a first round interview and you email to follow because you hadn't heard anything and want to know if second round candidates have been notified.
You're told:

"The search is still in process and you'll be notified once its complete."

Is this HR speak for basically telling me I did not advance to the second round?

:(

Anon: I would take it as such. It's not very clear, but I think it probably means you didn't advance :( . And it's probably better to be pleasantly surprised later than to maintain hope. Don't give them any more of your consciousness.

the market sucks

I have been a finalist for two positions and got neither and the market only has a couple months left so now I am panicking that I'm not going to get a job. I also hate how much wasted labor goes into this. As part of my interviews I have done so much prep for job talks and teaching demonstrations that are absolutely worthless and ultimately mean nothing except hours of my life gone.

anon

re: sucks. I feel this. Something that would be nice, but I suspect will never happen in our lifetimes, would be an acknowledgement that these interviews basically involve taking you on as a trial worker for a few days, and that trial work periods that long should be paid.

(I think this holds more for a TT interview spread over several days with several hoops to jump through, less for a one-stage postdoc interview where you talk for a bit.)

Hopeful VAP

To my view, the VAP postings seem remarkably sparse this year. Is that correct? Or are they usually posted later?

Southwestern VAP ad

https://philjobs.org/job/show/20282

This job just got posted yesterday but the deadline is only a few days from now. Any insight into whether they already have a candidate in mind?

Any word?

Has anyone heard from the following for first-round interviews:
-University of Virginia (general faculty, NT, renewable)
-Southwestern CC District, Chula Vista, CA
-Bellevue College
-St. Louis CC, Wildwood Campus
-University of South Carolina (Instructor)

One more

Has anyone heard anything from Lansing Community College?

SLAC VAP

Hopeful VAP — last year a surprising number of really solid VAPs were posted in May and even June (I got the offer I ended up accepting in late June). I think at least some of that is due to the weird impact that COVID has had on hiring timelines since it’s made budget and teaching needs less certain. I’d guess that this year would be less extreme but probably still sort of weird in this way; there may be administrators deciding around now (as the incoming undergrad cohort becomes more certain) that they DO actually need someone to teach XYZ next year.

VAP life

At what point after a flyout is it appropriate to make an inquiry about the expected decision timeline? I did a flyout two weeks ago. I was the final flyout candidate. I'm assuming that it's still too early to make an inquiry. Or is two weeks long enough?

Curious

Does where you do a VAP matter for future career prospects? Like does VAPing at a R1 look different than VAPing at a teaching school, even if the course load is the same?

Marcus Arvan

@Curious: I think where you VAP makes a difference in terms of the perceived trajectory of your career and (ceteris paribus) which kinds of jobs you'll be more competitive for moving forward.

My first VAP was at a research university (UBC). While I was there, I got interviews for research jobs. Then I moved to a VAP at a liberal arts university, and my R1 interviews mostly dried up (though I started getting more interviews at liberal arts universities).

Of course, this is only ceteris paribus. If you're a publishing beast while in a VAP at a SLAC, you could still very well compete for R1 jobs. It can just lead to changes in perception about "where you're headed" or "where you belong." At least that's my impression.

personplaceandthing

@ VAP life, if there was no indication of their hiring timeline given during your flyout, it wouldn't (or shouldn't) hurt to politely ask now.

Curious

Thanks, Marcus. Interesting bit of information there.

anon

It seems to me that one of the issue that has repeatedly come in the the job market reporting thread is the tendency of search committees 'to ghost candidates'
I want to be clear I am specifically referring to candidates who actually got an interview.

I think this important to note because if you're merely an applicant who was never notified that you didn't get an interview, that strikes me as less problematic than the case of someone who:

a. Advanced to first round interviews

b. Was given a timeline during the interview to expect to hear something.

c. Was subsequently 'ghosted' by the committee

This strikes me as not only unprofessional but also just cruel.

Now, I suspect many search committee members will retort with:

a. HR policies constrain what we can actually communicate with candidates.

b. We actually can't communicate anything until an offer has been accepted because we might need to go back to the applicant pool.

I don't know how true either of these are but they still seem like hiding behind HR policies instead of just being open and honest with candidates in order to update them about where things stand.

Put it this way:

If you were someone who interviewed for a job and thought it went well only to find out via the job market reporting thread that the search had progressed to final interviews and you did not advance or maybe you find out via twitter or facebook or from someone you know in the profession.

I honestly have no idea what can be done about this but the rate with which it seems to happen is alarming and it seems to give 'the profession' a bad look.

Perhaps nothing generalizeable can actually be said about this because each case is unique to the circumstances of particular universities or particular HR policies but the reporting thread at least seems to indicate it is too common a practice.

I think attention needs to be brought to this issue because its serious, especially when people are trying to make decisions about their futures in this god awful job market

Stop the cruelty

I want to second the comment made by @anon that ghosting candidates is a cruel practice. Yes, each circumstance is unique, but what baffles me is: even if the situation is as described in (b)where an offer has been made but the offer holder is yet to make a decision, I don't understand why that cannot be communicated to the other candidates. If they're on the backup list, they're not going to be impacted anyway, so no harm in communicating. If they're on the backup list, what's the harm in saying something to the effect of: we may come back to you, but there' no guarantee of that?

Acknowledging cruelty

I have the same concern as @anon. It is very common in my experience, and I feel that one solution is just to be clear and honest about this practice, even if it sounds awkward.

I have bad experience with my job interviews and what happened after, though I can't name names. Why can't we though? There does not seem to be any platform where we can complain about the recruitment practice openly.

As a minority person, my satisfaction with the philosophical community at large may be 5 or 6/10. My satisfaction with the recruitment practice is about 3/10---independently from a lack of jobs. (I am not saying that there is any bias towards my minority-ness. Just report my experience, as a minority.) For this reason, I sometimes fantasize about going to a different discipline---maybe it won't be a fantasy.

almond milk

Thanks, @acknowledging cruelty. I also find it frustrating that job candidates have no recourse when they experience bad behaviour from search committees. From ghosting post-interview to outright hostility during an interview to being rejected from a job one was a good fit for in favour of a ‘shinier’ Ivy League candidate with zero accomplishments who doesn’t fit the job ad…

The total ban on naming and shaming, much like the hush hush culture around harassment and abuse, protects the wrong people and ensures that search committees can continue to do whatever they want behind closed doors without being held responsible and without being accountable to the people they harm, most of whom have substantially less power and privilege.

Like everything else in this discipline, the norms are designed to protect a very certain group of people. Those with any power to change things seem more interested in preserving the status quo than in doing anything that would actually improve climate.

flyouts

Is there a cocoon thread on flyout advice and zoom flyout advice?

postdoc hopeless

Did anyone else notice something weird going on with Barnard's Term Assistant Professor position? The ad went up yesterday on Higher Ed Jobs, with a link to a working internal Barnard employment page. Today, the position is no longer listed on Barnard's employment website and while the Higher Ed Jobs ad is still there, the link to the application portal is dead.

postdr

I'm an ABD that got a postdoc gig for the next 2 years with the plan of giving the job market another go (probably a very limited search next year and a full search during the following one). Is there any notable difference in terms of your application materials when you're applying as an ABD vs. a postdoctoral fellow? It would be great to see a post in general about what if anything is or should be different about applying as a postdoc in a temp position vs. as a grad student.

hopeless academic

@postdr everyone has different experiences in this regard. But to speak only of my own and some things I have observed from other colleagues [...] there was a significant difference between ADB and PD. Post Docs usually demonstrate that another institution has acknowledged and believes in your research and potential/future contribution to the field. Some come with teaching, which is also seen as a plus. Hopefully you can get more writing done and have a new writing sample that is not connected directly to or at least is a modification of your dissertation to demonstrate you research range post graduation and future/current projects. There are definitely some schools and programs that want fresh ABD hires, so they mold them from the offset. But often my experience that many schools don't want to risk hiring right out of Grad school. I would say utilize the PD opportunity as much as possible (meet with other faculty, PDs, etc. and get feedback on your work from those who are willing) and write/research as much as possible. I am sure others will chime in on this discussion [...] GOOD LUCK

come on philjobs

There have been no updates to the PhilJobs 'Appointments' page in a month.

Does anyone know why PhilJobs has been so slow to update this job cycle relative to past ones? Even the new job ads this time around got posted a few times a week in bulk as opposed to past years when there were updates every day. Needs more active moderation than this...

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