As I’ve written before my department has been starting to bring candidates out and after this first round, we took a vote. It came down to two people and that’s when the arguing started. I was backing my candidate from industry who gave a great talk (I may be partial), had a strategy for funding, and worked on an area outside of mine that was also new and exciting. I hadn’t even thought of applying their field in the way they planned on. Not really the same field as mine, but I’m already thinking about collaborations. This candidate went to a good sports school, but not so great academically. They have been incredibly productive in industry though (handful of patents, and one product launch). The other candidate is from a legendary lab for their PhD and has been spending the past couple years helping to run a company created by their advisor’s advisor, so technically they come from industry, but not really. We were at a standstill and our department head doesn’t want to step in yet. And so now I feel like a member of Congress trying to lobby for votes for the one I like more. All the while, the candidate’s advisor has been calling in favors. My advisor distinctly said that he would email once to anyone he knew in schools I applied to, but after that, it’s on me.
My last effort is to pull out our not-great statistics on placing students in my candidate’s industry even though students want to enter it, but I think it may upset some of the faculty here that work in that field. So what I’ve decided is in the next meeting to just tell everyone that we need some fresh thinking. Candidates like the other one come by every single year. There will be another that does similar research and shows similar potential. My candidate is not. Especially right now with the economy so good: people aren’t interested in taking massive pay cuts right now while there’s lots of money to be made. If nothing else, I just want to be done with this and let the department head be the new enemy. I’ve pissed enough people off.