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04/07/2022

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Assistant Professor

In my experience, if the job you are still interviewing for is one you are genuinely interested in, then notifying them is a good idea - less to put pressure on them to "speed up" to try to secure you but more so you realistically know what their timeline is and can see how much room you have to delay responding to your offer in hand. As Marcus says, the timing may not align, and you might have to give the job with the offer an answer before the other institution can move forward with its process. But you might also find out you are not short-listed for the second job and so can accept the one in-hand with no speculation about "what if I had stayed in the running..." and this can be incredibly helpful too.

Mn

This can also make you look more desirable to the second job and therefore slightly more likely to get the position. i see only potential upsides. Phrase it such that you want to ask if they can move quickly because you have another offer.

former chair

Two anecdotes, fwiw.

I had an offer and was waiting to hear from another school. I let them know about the offer. They congratulated me and wished me luck.

I had an on-campus interview at one school. I was not the first choice. The first choice was given two weeks to make a decision. At the end of the two weeks, they asked for two more weeks because they were waiting to hear from another school. They got the extra two weeks.

Careful

I have had this kind of transparency backfire twice this market season and work in my favor once. The time it worked in my favor was the time it mattered, but I would exercise caution. Search committees and deans are risk averse and have their own incentives.

Bill Harrison

The following only applies to situations where the timeline for two positions is tracking in parallel, which is distinct from the scenario presented in the original post.

Honesty is a good policy, except in the philosophy profession and except when you're seeking a tenure-track appointment. Let me add some anecdotal evidence *against* being forthcoming about job offers.

When a search committee "uncovered" I had an offer from another school, which they perceived to be of "lesser" quality than their own University, they immediately removed me from further consideration for their tenure-track position. At the time, so the department chair told me, I was the top candidate for the position.

The search committee had felt that I had "poisoned" the candidate pool by applying for their position. Clearly, because I had applied for the job at the university of "lesser" quality, I was unfit for the position at the reputable university.

How search committee members had obtained information about my candidacy was, and still is, a mystery to me. I certainly didn't tell them because, of course, it isn't any of their business where I apply for a job. And I fail to see why my applying for the other job "poisoned" their candidate pool.

One might think that this anecdotal evidence favors being more transparent with search committees because they may have been less offended if I had told them of other jobs I applied for and told them of offers I had. Being transparent would not have helped here because the committee perceived where I had applied to be of "lesser" quality. Whether I had told them or that they had found out through other means has little to do with their ultimate decision to remove me from being a candidate for the position. But to sabotage my own candidacy by telling them of my success elsewhere would certainly have removed me from candidacy. So, keeping it to one's self and not being forthcoming about other job offers is a good idea if you don't want to give search committees a reason to remove you from being a candidate for a position.

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