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Author Topic: If SC says they'll call on a specific date & doesn't, how long to wait before...  (Read 3573 times)
new_anth
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« Reply #30 on: November 29, 2012, 2:04:29 PM »

OP,

I'm struggling a bit--what is it that you hope to gain by contacting the SC?

Is it to "encourage" them to move more quickly? I don't think this will work for the myriad of reasons mentioned upthread.

Is it to show them how eager you are for the position? This is normal outside academia and such a violation of convention within academia that it'd bring into question your suitability for collegiality. (Note: I'm not questioning your collegiality, just trying to put myself in the shoes of a SC--which I've not been a member of, others can correct as needed.) My understanding is that "fit" and "collegiality" are really important in a job search and one way, sadly, to come across as inappropriate is to not know the conventions (or to flagrantly disregard them).

Is it for your own peace of mind? This is why there are job wikis and, also, the anxiety and maddeningness of the academic job search is par for the course. This is one of the reasons it's awful, but not something you'll be able to escape without leaving academia (which is one of the reason why people do leave--they don't find the misery worth the adjunct-poverty lifestyle).

They'll get in touch with you if they wish. If they don't, I can't think of a better way to burn bridges for future collaboration, conferences, and even positions than by coming across as entitled and not collegial.
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edumacator
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« Reply #31 on: November 29, 2012, 5:12:03 PM »

Actually, my reasons are much simpler.  They said they'd get back to me on a specific date.  I want to know why they haven't.

This is perhaps field-specific but in teacher ed, most of the faculty I know are former teachers and tend to be very detail-oriented.  If they say something will be done on a specific day, it will be done on that specific day.  If it won't be, or if circumstances change, they'll at least say so as quickly as possible.  Deadlines are clear, processes are transparent, if not always simple.

In the K-12 sector, pulling a stunt like this is inexcusable.  Principals who can't make hiring decisions, unless they're politically protected, tend not to stay principals for very long.  Then again, that's because there are often other options for teachers and the best are snapped up fast.  By the time a slow-moving administrator expresses interest in a candidate, that candidate is likely to be long gone.

I feel badly for those of you in hyper-saturated fields in which this sort of behavior on the part of search committees is expected, never mind tolerated.  Waiting for months for a response, assuming one is even forthcoming?  That's insane.  

Moreover, I'm fortunate in that I have other options in a high-demand field to which I can easily return.  A lot of job-seekers here don't.  I've read the stories of the job market in the humanities and certain other disciplines that see hundreds of applications for a single opening.  I can't imagine how stressful all of that must be.  How you handle it is beyond me.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2012, 5:16:05 PM by edumacator » Logged
ruralguy
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« Reply #32 on: November 29, 2012, 5:16:45 PM »

Don't be silly.

Its pretty much an SC standard: the hard dates ONLY apply to people who reach the next step. That is, if you are rejected at the step, you will NOT be contacted. I have never known of or heard of or been on an SC that did that.

So, either they haven't reached that step yet, or you were axed.

Deal with it.

Move on.

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ruralguy
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« Reply #33 on: November 29, 2012, 5:27:07 PM »

Just to add:

The rage against the Machine attitude will get you nowhere. Its soul-sucking and disastrous.

Yes, some academic conventions are stupid, and there are about a thousand threads that note that perhaps some attitudes are changing. BUT, you have to get on a faculty, and be a good colleague and get tenure before you do most of that.

I am saying this as someone who shares some of you basic opinions on the search process. But I didn't change things by calling SC's.
I changed them by getting a job and being on and chairing SC's.
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edumacator
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« Reply #34 on: November 29, 2012, 5:32:24 PM »

I appreciate the feedback.  I've never been much of a Rage Against the Machine fan - although you probably weren't specifically referring to the band. :)

Speaking from the job-searching end, this hasn't been my experience at all.  I can think of a handful of places - which is to say, less then five - that have simply fallen silent during my tenure (heh) on the job market.  Everyone else has formally rejected me and I always appreciated the courtesy.  Again, I would argue this is field-specific.

So, either they haven't reached that step yet...

Under the circumstances, I believe this is the most likely scenario.
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helpful
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« Reply #35 on: November 29, 2012, 5:46:04 PM »

Don't be silly.

Its pretty much an SC standard: the hard dates ONLY apply to people who reach the next step. That is, if you are rejected at the step, you will NOT be contacted. I have never known of or heard of or been on an SC that did that.



Then the SC should not promise to contact someone on a specific date. They should say, "we will make a decision by x date on who we will invite for an interview" and that is all.

To give you an example, I had a phone interview once. The SCC said they would call me at x hour that day and asked where I could be contacted at that time. I told them and they kept to their promise. If they had not called at that time, I would have been upset as they specifically told me when they would call. The same would go for edumacator's casea.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2012, 5:48:07 PM by helpful » Logged
msparticularity
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« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2012, 12:06:27 AM »

Actually, my reasons are much simpler.  They said they'd get back to me on a specific date.  I want to know why they haven't.

This is perhaps field-specific but in teacher ed, most of the faculty I know are former teachers and tend to be very detail-oriented.  If they say something will be done on a specific day, it will be done on that specific day.  If it won't be, or if circumstances change, they'll at least say so as quickly as possible.  Deadlines are clear, processes are transparent, if not always simple.

In the K-12 sector, pulling a stunt like this is inexcusable.  Principals who can't make hiring decisions, unless they're politically protected, tend not to stay principals for very long.  Then again, that's because there are often other options for teachers and the best are snapped up fast.  By the time a slow-moving administrator expresses interest in a candidate, that candidate is likely to be long gone.

I feel badly for those of you in hyper-saturated fields in which this sort of behavior on the part of search committees is expected, never mind tolerated.  Waiting for months for a response, assuming one is even forthcoming?  That's insane.  

Moreover, I'm fortunate in that I have other options in a high-demand field to which I can easily return.  A lot of job-seekers here don't.  I've read the stories of the job market in the humanities and certain other disciplines that see hundreds of applications for a single opening.  I can't imagine how stressful all of that must be.  How you handle it is beyond me.

Edumacator, I am in your field, and the system you believe exists--at both the K-12 and postsecondary levels--appears to me to be on some other planet somewhere. My specialty is not hyper-saturated, I have had no difficulty in getting good jobs, and I certainly agree that anyone who works in an area with accreditation requirements such as ours has to be detail-oriented and prompt. However, hiring is almost never as simple and straightforward as anyone would like for it to be. Searches at all levels get delayed all the time while HR departments and administrative types do their thing, funding gets held up, and a million other details that happen in any bureaucratized system grind on.

The reason people here are suggesting that you not follow up is twofold: 1) almost certainly, the SC really can't tell you anything anyway, so you won't learn a thing from making contact; and 2) there is some small, but definite, risk that it will make you look like an amateur and/or as if you are high-maintenance. 
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jerseyjay
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« Reply #37 on: November 30, 2012, 9:43:33 AM »

There is something about this thread that seems to be as estranged from reality, in its own way, as the ongoing thread on Edwin Mellen.

1. If the SC says they will contact you in two weeks, that doesn't really mean they will contact you in two weeks. A smart SC won't actually say something so specific, but alas, many do. Due to circumstances beyond the SC control--including administrative hangups, teaching, travel, etc., it is possible that the SC won't make a decision till later. And that person might not be you. Yet they don't want to tell you "no", because their first choice might not accept, and they want to hold others in reserve. So a rule of thumb, in my experience, is to add at least a week to a month to the time they said. It would be rude to call a SC in 15 days and ask if they made a decision, since after all, they said they would contact you in two weeks.

2. That said, a candidate who has become at least a semi-finalist (i.e., has reached the phone interviewing stage) has a right, absolutely, to some sense of where he (or she) stands in the process in some reasonable time. It does not speak well of the SC if they do not have this basic courtesy. If a SC thinks that somebody is not "collegial" because a candidate politely contacts the SC after a reasonable amount of time, I would seriously question the judgement and sanity of the SC. So if a SC says they will let you know in two weeks' time, and after more than a month they don't, I think it is perfectly valid to write a polite note to the SC to inquire if the position is still open. I doubt this will do much in terms of pushing the candidate forward (or backward), but it will hopefully let him know if he is still in the running.  On the other hand, if a candidate calls back one minute after the time he was told he would be called, this doesn't speak well for his judgement.

 (An exception is that sometimes I have had an interview, and the chair says something like, if you don't hear from us, we are not moving forward with your candidacy. In that case, no news is not good news.)

3. We should not ascribe too much efficiency to the SC. Several times I have been a finalist for a position, and never heard back. I think this is incredibly rude. However, on at least one occasion, several years later, I mentioned this to a SC member with whom I had become friendly (in some other situation) and he was quite surprised that I had not heard back. In other words, he though that HR had contacted me, but I had not been contacted. (This also points to the need for politeness all-round: these are your colleagues with whom you may have to work again in other situations.)
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usukprof
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« Reply #38 on: November 30, 2012, 10:24:09 AM »

I'm actually pretty surprised that people are making such a big deal of this.  Do I want candidates repeatedly bugging me about their status?  No.  Would I mind if a short-listed candidate who we said we would contact at a specific time calls after the fact to make sure they didn't miss the contact?  Of course not.  This is noise in the larger work of the SC, and in the many other annoying things I have to deal with every day.  I also understand the stress of the candidates, and am happy if a 1 minute phone call along the lines of "sorry, we are about a week behind in the schedule" or "sorry we have already chosen candidates to bring in for on-campus interviews but you are on a backup list for possible further contact" reduces that stress.
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shamu
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« Reply #39 on: November 30, 2012, 10:40:44 AM »

Would I mind if a short-listed candidate who we said we would contact at a specific time calls after the fact to make sure they didn't miss the contact?  Of course not.
Bingo and chime at the same time!
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edumacator
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« Reply #40 on: November 30, 2012, 11:15:30 AM »

Actually, my reasons are much simpler.  They said they'd get back to me on a specific date.  I want to know why they haven't.

This is perhaps field-specific but in teacher ed, most of the faculty I know are former teachers and tend to be very detail-oriented.  If they say something will be done on a specific day, it will be done on that specific day.  If it won't be, or if circumstances change, they'll at least say so as quickly as possible.  Deadlines are clear, processes are transparent, if not always simple.

In the K-12 sector, pulling a stunt like this is inexcusable.  Principals who can't make hiring decisions, unless they're politically protected, tend not to stay principals for very long.  Then again, that's because there are often other options for teachers and the best are snapped up fast.  By the time a slow-moving administrator expresses interest in a candidate, that candidate is likely to be long gone.

I feel badly for those of you in hyper-saturated fields in which this sort of behavior on the part of search committees is expected, never mind tolerated.  Waiting for months for a response, assuming one is even forthcoming?  That's insane.  

Moreover, I'm fortunate in that I have other options in a high-demand field to which I can easily return.  A lot of job-seekers here don't.  I've read the stories of the job market in the humanities and certain other disciplines that see hundreds of applications for a single opening.  I can't imagine how stressful all of that must be.  How you handle it is beyond me.

Edumacator, I am in your field, and the system you believe exists--at both the K-12 and postsecondary levels--appears to me to be on some other planet somewhere. My specialty is not hyper-saturated, I have had no difficulty in getting good jobs, and I certainly agree that anyone who works in an area with accreditation requirements such as ours has to be detail-oriented and prompt. However, hiring is almost never as simple and straightforward as anyone would like for it to be. Searches at all levels get delayed all the time while HR departments and administrative types do their thing, funding gets held up, and a million other details that happen in any bureaucratized system grind on.

Thank you for your feedback.  Evidently, our K-12 experiences have differed tremendously.
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tigerseye
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« Reply #41 on: November 30, 2012, 11:42:12 AM »

The only time that we'd want to hear from the candidate is if they have another offer on the table, and need to give that decision by a certain date.  We'd like a chance to compete with the other offer, and if it is our administration that has hung everything up, we can use that info to get things moving again. 

This is only true for finalists. 

Even then, don't phrase it in terms of "I haven't heard from you yet", but in terms of "I've gotten an offer from Pepsi U and they have asked me to respond by December 14."
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ruralguy
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« Reply #42 on: November 30, 2012, 1:56:34 PM »

I defintiely agree that:

1. SC's should be clear when they say "we'll get back to you in 2 weeks". If they mean " We'll get back to you if you make it to the campus visit stage" then that is what they should say.

2. If they don't have a good time line in mind, they shouldn't fake it.

3. if someone is truely to be eliminated from the process, with no hope of being called up if all campus visits go bad, they should be told that they have been rejected.

4. candidates just have to stay calm and hope they get to be faculty members, at which point they can be on SC's and be better at it than us middle-agers making these posts.


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usukprof
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« Reply #43 on: November 30, 2012, 2:07:40 PM »

I defintiely agree that:

1. SC's should be clear when they say "we'll get back to you in 2 weeks". If they mean " We'll get back to you if you make it to the campus visit stage" then that is what they should say.

2. If they don't have a good time line in mind, they shouldn't fake it.

3. if someone is truely to be eliminated from the process, with no hope of being called up if all campus visits go bad, they should be told that they have been rejected.

4. candidates just have to stay calm and hope they get to be faculty members, at which point they can be on SC's and be better at it than us middle-agers making these posts.

Yes, but if I understand the OPs case correctly, it was we will call you on <specific date> (presumably for a phone interview or set of questions).  This means they are telling the candidate to sit by the phone and wait.  If the call doesn't come, I think it is entirely reasonable for the candidate to call or email the contact and ask if they missed a call.

In our case, we distribute this among the SC members, so it would not necessarily be the SC chair, but might be one of the SC members who is doing a phone screen to determine if they are a candidate for an on-campus interview.  On the other hand, if we can't call at a specified time, I'd email to reschedule and not be unhappy to get a call if we screwed up.

This seems totally different from a candidate bugging the SC to see if they've made the cut.
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edumacator
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« Reply #44 on: November 30, 2012, 2:20:44 PM »

A smart SC won't actually say something so specific, but alas, many do.

Ding!  This is the crux of it - if a search committee sets a clear and specific expectation, those on the receiving end will plan accordingly.  When that expectation isn't met, it makes the SC appear clueless and unprofessional.

To put it in perspective, the only other time an SC gave me a firm decision deadline, they met it on the nose.  From what I gather here, they were an anomaly.  That puzzles me: why commit to a date if there's a chance you won't be able to keep that commitment?  As msparticularity observed, a million bureaucratic things can stand in the way of a decision.  Hell, clueless as I am, even I know that.  In this instance, since they gave me a specific date, I'd assumed that this particular SC had mastered their domain and was running an especially tight ship.  It seems I was wrong.

So, high-maintenance?  No.  Naive?  Apparently.

I hate to say this but I would've been much happier with a "we expect to make a decision within the next 6-8 weeks or so," or words to that effect.  It's the Scotty principle: keep our expectations low and when you exceed them, it'll seem like a miracle.

As promised, I'll keep the thread posted when I hear back.

Edited to add: usukprof, that's the situation in a nutshell.  A short email bcc'ing the interviewees saying they had to push back the date due to end-of-semester work, unforeseen circumstances, blahblahblah, would've been appropriate and professional.  Silence isn't.

And ruralguy, ditto: if we won't hear from you unless we're advanced to the next stage, just say so up front.  No skin off my teeth, or however that saying goes.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2012, 2:25:00 PM by edumacator » Logged
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