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Tenured now

(I'm posting anonymously to protect the identities of people who might not want this information connected to them.) I was on a search committee for a TT job in 2018/2019 at an R2 in a fairly cool small college town with a 2/3 teaching load and a generally really lovely department. All three people we initially flew out turned us down, and we flew out two others - both of whom we offered the job to, and one of whom we hired. I was also just talking to a friend at a low/unranked PhD program in a very, very cool city who had a recent search where they didn't hire any of the three people they initially flew out (some they didn't like, some declined offers), and also flew out 2-3 more before making an offer. Anecdotal, but a few more data points that it does happen, even for pretty great jobs.

Anonymous Anecdotes

Two anecdotes. 1. I was long listed for a job in a department where I had a temporary position. I assumed I was no longer in the running, but they eventually offered me the job after their preferred finalists all turned down the offer.

2. I was recently on a hiring committee. For a variety of reasons, we decided against hiring our three initial finalists. We didn’t end up doing this, but some in my department wanted to go back to the long list.

So long listed doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of the running. But my guess is it usually ends up meaning this.


My experience as a job candidate for nearly a decade now has taught me not to ask such questions. Always focus on finding new positions to apply for (in and out of academia). If you need hope, base your hope on the number of positions applied for. Never picture yourself in a particular academic position. Never look up details of the city or location. Stay away from maps and imaginary house hunting. Always assume you'll never hear from them again at every point in the process. Be happy when you perform well, but you don't know what other factors are at work. Stoicism is designed to protect the stoic, and academic job candidates need a lot of this brand of protection. It's very difficult not knowing what next year looks like. Multiply possibilities and don't get attached to particulars.

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