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Probably not. But don’t give up hope. A school may be interested in a fresh grad over an advanced AP. My current school interviewed both in our previous search and picked the new grad. Not because they were “more qualified” (they had fewer pubs, less teaching experience), but because we liked her research and thought she’d be a better fit.


This is similar in theme to the first reply from Anonymous, but I'll just add my own experiences.

I've been on both sides of this, actually. Once I was at the flyout stage 1 year post PhD and the first offer went to someone who had been a postdoc for around 6 years. Once I was around 4 years post PhD and the first offer went to an ABD.

I think it makes a lot of sense not to strategize around this, really. If you get to the final stage, just try to assume for peace of mind if nothing else that they have a serious interest in you, and that they are evaluating your accomplishments in a way that is indexed to your career stage.

Daniel Kaufman

This is the result of the cynical over saturation of candidates in a tiny job market. Why cynical? So faculty have a sufficient number of TAs and Gen Ed instructors to maintain their low teaching loads.

There should be a moratorium on graduate admissions, until those already in the pipeline find positions. Yes, this will frustrate those who go to graduate school for other reasons. But the current state of affairs is terrible. And it is going to get worse, as the university in the US continues its ongoing transformation.


I agree with Anonymous. Being more experienced or more senior per se doesn’t necessarily count in someone’s favor and, for some search committees, may actually count against them. For example, some may worry that these people are already set in their ways and may be unwilling to adapt to the department’s way of doing things. Also, more senior people may want a reduced tenure clock and some departments may not like that for a variety of reasons. So if we’re just talking more or less senior, that in itself isn’t necessarily a factor for all positions, especially at the flyout stage.

But more senior candidates typically have more teaching experience and more experience presenting their research. If they already have a TT job that’s probably a good indication that they do well giving teaching demos and job talks.

At the flyout stage, usually it’s anyone’s game. So my recommendation would be to ensure that your job talk skills are solid, but even more importantly that your teaching demo skills are excellent. That’s where I notice the biggest difference between more and less senior candidates. Lack of teaching experience sticks out like a sore thumb. Watching unskilled teaching demos can be deeply uncomfortable and disappointing. More junior candidates tend to do things in the classroom that years of experience teaching lets you know just don’t work. The candidates who lack teaching experience but who nevertheless are excellent, thoughtful teachers (just saw this in our most recent search) really stand out and, for that reason, can overcome any disadvantage due to lack of experience.

Midstage faculty

Agree with both anons. Advanced tts also have the disadvantages at tenure if they want a much shortened tenure clock.

Gimme the loot!

Having been through this, advanced TTs also have a serious disadvantage in that they look like they are just after retention offers, and it is very hard to dispel that notion.

Another anon

Yep. I lost out to a person in their fourth year on the tenure-track when I was an ABD. This year, I was the person several years into a TT job and I lost out to an ABD (good for them, by the way!). Don't strategize around this. Just do your best.

Tenured now

Agreed that different departments want different things, and some will be made nervous by 5th year TTs who they think are looking for a retention offer.

But I do think there is still something you can do - do genuinely interesting philosophy. You need to give search committees a reason to take a chance on you as an early-career person over someone with an established track record in publishing. I think that many people can probably publish a bunch of good papers in good journals, but it's often easier if you make small, technical interventions in fairly narrow debates. If you're choosing between someone who has already proved they can do that by doing it a lot, and someone who suggests they can do it by doing it once or twice, why take the chance? But to my mind, fewer people are publishing genuinely interesting philosophy that people outside of those narrow debates care much about. So if I'm choosing between someone with an established track record of high-status pubs that are narrow and technical on the one hand, and someone ABD with just one or two publications that seem to me to matter and be interesting even if they aren't in my area, I'll go for the junior person every time. (But FWIW, I just strongly care about this kind of philosophy anyway, so take what I say with a grain of salt.)

Bill Vanderburgh

In our recent searches over the last five years or so, we have interviewed several assistant and even associate professors for our beginning tenure-track jobs. It isn't obvious that such candidates have an advantage over less experienced candidates like the OP. We have made offers to brand new PhDs and people who had almost earned tenure at their old place.

In general, I would say we have had a bias against people already in asst/assoc positions--we have been trying to hire at the beginning asst level, after all. But sometimes, these folks have teaching experience, AOSs and/or AOCs that exactly fit our hopes--and state their willingness to restart the tenure clock--and in those cases they get interviews. But sometimes they end up losing out anyway because their record to date in their current job doesn't make it seem likely they would publish well enough to be tenured with us, or they end up not being a good fit in some other way. Sometimes the junior candidates are better philosophers, better fit for areas, offer additional courses our students would find exciting, or whatever.

FWIW we have had full professors, even very advanced/retired ones with extensive teaching and publication records, apply to our asst jobs, and we have never taken such an application even to the initial interview stage. That's just not what we are trying to hire. So having extensive experience is not necessarily a competitive advantage, depending on the circumstances.

As I often remark on the Cocoon, once you pass the threshold of "good" in teaching, research and service, hiring is about fit. (Areas, teaching, style, personal interactions, type of institution vs. type of experience, and so on.) And there's almost nothing candidates can do about fit except emphasize how they meet the ad requirements in their materials--and apply to fewer jobs for which they are not a good fit.

In fact, when we have taken advanced candidates seriously it has not been because of their extra years of teaching or research (though having an established track record is not a bad thing) but rather because such candidates tend to apply very selectively and therefore have much better fit than the average candidate.

The upshot for the OP: If you are getting campus interviews, you are doing the right things. Keep it up. And good luck.


I "beat" someone more experienced (though not super senior) for my job and have seen the other side of hiring someone very fresh instead of someone more seasoned. So, I don't think you always have a disadvantage.

From my observation, the weakest point of fresh PhDs is teaching. If they're interviewing you, they know how much (or little) you've taught, and they're okay with the number. But it's really difficult to present teaching in a realistic way without having done it. Perhaps that's something you can work on.

Another possible pitfall for ABDs is being too focused on their dissertation and not having a long-term research plan. But since you're already a post-doc, you might not have this problem.

Mike Titelbaum

First, congrats on the flyouts! That’s a real accomplishment, which shows you’re doing work others appreciate.
Second, as the posts above demonstrate, there’s no point trying to game out whether more or less experienced candidates have an intrinsic advantage. That kind of thing is highly sensitive to the hiring context, which you may not have access to knowledge about.
So third, what can you do to improve your presentation on flyouts? I think the suggestions above about teaching are important: Both teaching demos and just the way you talk about your pedagogy can be really revealing about how you are in the classroom. Beyond that, get your job talk really honed by presenting it many times in as many venues as you can find. I’m constantly shocked how many job talks are works in progress that the candidate has never presented before and makes a mess of. Finally, one advantage more experienced candidates often have is that they’ve thought more about the big picture of their research: what the contribution of their current work is, how it fits into broader trends in the literature, and where they’re going over the next five years. Spend some time reflecting on and framing language about that, maybe with more experienced folks you know.

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