Search Committee Ramblings:Selecting Candidates

Blogging about the workings of our faculty search committee is so very tempting, but since there is so much I can’t discuss, the end result will inevitably be unsatisfying to anyone interested, including myself

And yes, I know it’s mid April, and hey, all the academic job searching and hiring are done, right? Well, no, not at some institutions, where things happen at glacial speeds, and HR folks go on vacation in the midst of the season, and we have so many searches going on collegewide at the same time (including high level admin searches where candidates are wined and dined for two full days)  that one can’t rule out the possibility that the HR folks at our small college are on mental health vacations (sing the “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” song now)…as should be the faculty, many of whom are on both faculty and admin search committees, while teaching 4 classes.

But, I think I can blog in generalities and still 1. get this stuff out of my system, and 2. appeal to those who are somewhat curious about the inner workings of a search committee.

We did finally, after weeks of file reading (over 200 applications, all online), and  hours of discussion, agree on a group of candidates to interview (and in a few months, I will compile my notes on THAT process, and try to figure out a way to share without breaking confidentiality). All were called and scheduled for their full day of a 1.5 hour interview, 1-hour presentation, tour of the campus, meals, etc, though one declined within a day and another kept us waiting a week before saying no. Neither said they had already accepted another offer: their excuses were instead somewhat flimsy.  So, why had they applied??

We were beginning to think the job market woes were manufactured, or that we were so late in the process that even those applying in mid-March were now magically gainfully employed by other glacially-paced colleges. 

Since we had, out of exhaustion, not entirely solidified our back up list of candidates, we eventually met again to hash that out.  The two replacements were called and both immediately accepted the interview date that was offered to them

Next up: ongoing revision of interview questions in a culture that requires us to ask the exact same questions of every candidate (follow up questions thus are our quirky rebellions).

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3 responses to “Search Committee Ramblings:Selecting Candidates

  1. This is so interesting…we have some searches going on too (though I’m not sure if anyone has accepted the jobs because our department hasn’t said yet). Since the economy is crap and jobs are few, it seems as though people would be thrilled to get a position. But what do I know?

  2. I’m thinking the two people we asked to visit for an interview either got other jobs and didn’t want to tell us that (which is odd) or there were personal reasons? One is an adjunct faculty member somewhere so perhaps her partner didn’t want to consider moving? The other is an asst prof at a great college but we figured s/he wanted to move to our part of the country and that’s why applied–but then changed hir mind once we called for an interview? It’s probably not indicative of the job market: everyone else we called said yet instantly even accepting the limited dates we offered.

  3. Well, I hope that your next batch are properly enthused because it’s so lovely that you’ve selected them for interviews, and they should show it! 😉

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