The application hole

So we had hundreds of applications for our recent faculty opening and it was split up into three stacks and each pair of committee members had to nominate their best ten then we shared the top 30 with each other then started to argue things down until ten for phone interview and then ranked and brought the top five candidates in. It was/is a long process, but I read every single application that was placed in from of me. Every word of the max-3 pages research statement, max-2 pages teaching statement, max-2 pages diversity statement, and their cover letter. I peruse the CV (those are way too long). For the CV, I look for background, experience, publications, and past research focus. Mainly just counting the things and scanning for words. For the statements, I read every last word. I have this mentality that if someone writes something and it’s my job or I’m interested in the topic, then I must read all of it. Everyone gets a fair shake. Unless they’re a bad writer….

In a faculty meeting, someone mentioned that they only look at the CV, and one person said they only read the first paragraph of the research statement. What the fuck? I know we’re all busy, but you agreed to be on the committee! How would they feel if that’s all people looked at for their grants (oh wait, I guess that does happen). Is the golden rule not a thing anymore? Each application is about 15 minutes if you’re fast, and 30 minutes if you’re slow. I timed myself. Now, I could have spent more time, but at least everyone got a fair shake. I did these at home, which sucked, but I think I did a good job. I remember when I was interviewing that one committee member was basically perusing my info on the spot in the interview and that he clearly had no idea what my background was. I thought it was because he forgot, but now that I see this from the inside I realize that he was just lazy or wildly overworked! I listened to all this talk, but because I’m scared of all these experienced and connected ‘colleagues’ I’m scared to say anything. Our department head just sat there, too.

So if your application didn’t get any pull, it could be that you weren’t qualified or connected, or just that reviewers don’t care. Try not to get discouraged.

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