I am thinking to apply to a couple place where there are people I know in the department. I wonder if this is going to be awkward for both parties or it is actually quite favorable.
Date: 13 Sep 2013 15:34
Number of posts: 8
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You should apply and go into it knowing that there are a million factors that can sway the hiring process. If it doesn't work out it is not a sign that they secretly hate you. It's on you to decide how awkward the process will be.
I think it DEFINITELY helps your chances, if they like you. (And if not, it could possibly hurt your chances!) There are typically so many applicants that are all excellent and seem so similar to each other. Having name recognition is a huge help, especially if you're actually a known quantity of being a good, reasonable, normal person.
But helping your chances, even by a lot, doesn't necessarily get you all of the way to the job or even the interview. So then it's awkward, but also not that big of a deal, especially if you don't make it into one and they don't either. They can always blame the decision on something else like fit.
When I saw the title I thought this post would be about asking for advice in this regard - e.g. is there something you should do to give that person a heads up?
So…I will ask that question here. Does anyone have an opinion? If you know someone at the place should you let them know you're applying for the position? If you do, should you ask them for advice in any way?
The advice/feedback you get may depend on how close you are to the person but in general I can see no circumstance in which more information is worse than less. It may be the case that their HR does not allow the divulgence of any info beyond what is in the ad, but that is on their end and who knows, maybe they'll tell you something that could help… i.e. the dept has no interest in topic X or there is a certain class they really need covered.
I am also in a similar situation and I'm not sure how to approach the individuals that I know. Any advice on what to say/what not to say in the email. The people I know were friends in graduate school or friends that I socialize with at meetings but not people that I talk to on a regular non-scientific basis. One of them is a job that is definitely my first choice and I was hoping there was some way to convey this to the department just in case it would help.
We are currently doing a search and was contacted by someone I know in a way similar to what you describe. They wrote saying they saw the ad and asked if I thought it would make sense for them to apply. I know their background and what they study and believe they would not simply get triaged based on the content of their research, so I told them this and encouraged them to apply.
I second the point that 2 cents made. It depends on how well you know the individual. When I was on the market a couple of years ago (why am I still on here??), I definitely contacted friends that I knew at prospective departments for insight about the department, culture of the university, fit, etc. However, if I didn't really know that person outside of a collegial relationship (e.g., only met them at a conference, vaguely knew them through another colleague), I didn't bother.