I interviewed for a TT position at a SLAC and recently found out that they hired another candidate. Clearly, the SC decided that the other candidate was a better fit, but here's my problem: there were 2 SC members present for my phone interview that were NOT present for my campus visit (to be fair, there were still 5 people on the SC that I did meet in person). I'll never know how the SC reached their final decision or whether those absences had any impact; however, I can't help feeling that I didn't get a fair shot since the hiring decision was made in part by people who never met me in person or saw my presentation. Are SC absences common? Should I forget this and simply move on with my life or should I consider somehow bringing this up to the school so that it doesn't continue to happen in the future?
Date: 14 Mar 2015 23:26
Number of posts: 7
RSS: New posts
Schedules are hard to coordinate across 7 people. Keep in mind that the Dept faculty are voting on the final candidate. In our Dept, the entire faculty votes for candidates in terms of ranking and acceptability. So, not meeting those 2 members, may have impacted things. But, likely, it did not. It likely came down to who was the best fit.
NerveWracked is correct. Scheduling issues happen frequently, but the main thing that matters is that the core people from the department doing the hiring and the search committee chair were present. There's little - if anything - to gain by raising issue with the process. A decision was made and they won't change it.
Having been on search committees, I will note that there usually emerges a preferential candidate during the on-site interviews. The leading candidate usually has something that impresses the committee significantly more so than other candidates or is otherwise just a good fit. I don't think that most searches end up with candidates who are so close that absent SC members will make much a difference.
I've been on both sides of the table, and both as an interviewer and an interviewee, and not all SC members were present for all job talks etc. It's pretty typical.
This can definitely happen for a variety of reasons — sometimes schedules just don't mesh or sometimes there might be an alternate reason (e.g., we have one faculty member who missed an interview day to celebrate a Jewish holiday). SC absences aren't rare, and I wouldn't read into it. I would only be upset, personally, if the search chair for some reason did not show!
I'm sorry you didn't get this position. I agree with the others. If the search committee is small (i.e. 4 people) then I do think it's bad form for any person to miss an interview, though really there's only so much that can be done if someone gets very sick and/or has a family emergency. But if there are 7 people on a search committee, well, that's basically the whole department. You have to count on some people not being there for every single interview. 5 out of 7 isn't that bad. It's few enough that if you were outstanding in person it would have been enough to convince the missing two that you should be bumped up in their ratings.
If you come out of an interview knowing that you totally nailed it in person and impressed the hell out of everyone, you still can't count on an offer. There might have been someone else who also did an amazing job in person who was already much better on paper to begin with. So no one should ever feel bad or upset about being 2nd (or later) choice.
During one campus interview, I had the Search Committee Chair miss most of my day, including my job talk, because of a family emergency. There were only two other SC members. I knew I was at a major disadvantage but did the best I could, such as emailing my job talk slides to the chair and offering to schedule an additional phone conversation for a discussion of it. I didn't get the job, but I don't think it was because of that. It sure didn't help my cause for the chair to miss most of my day, but there are so many factors that come into play.