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Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Clearinghouse for Questions, 2016-2017

In this comment thread to this post, you can ask questions about the law teaching market, and professors or others can weigh in.

Both questions and answers can be anonymous, but I will delete pure nastiness, irrelevance, and misinformation. If you see something that you know to be wrong, please feel free to let me know via email, sarah*dot*lawsky*at*law*dot*northwestern*dot*edu.

We have a different thread in which candidates or professors can report callbacks, offers, and acceptances. That thread should be used only for information relevant to hiring, not for questions or comments on the process. This is the thread for questions.

You may want to take a look at the many questions and answers in the threads from 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.

Here is a link to the last page of comments.

Originally posted August 25, 2016.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on August 25, 2016 at 09:00 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market | Permalink


The Bulletin doesn't tell you that much about the overall amount of hiring that will occur. As previous poster said, some schools advertise but aren't very serious. On the other hand, many schools actively search and participate in the meat market but do not advertise in the Bulletin. If the Bulletin had only a few listings -- or hundreds of pages -- then that would tell you something. But other than in extreme cases, it's hard to read tea leaves based on the number of Bulletin listings.

Posted by: anon | Sep 1, 2017 9:04:14 AM

Really? I don't have much of a comparison point (and I haven't counted the number of schools to compare to previous years) but assuming that a few schools aren't too serious and a few more will not see their funding come through or will have failed searches the total seems neither disastrous nor good.

Posted by: anon 1:44 | Sep 1, 2017 8:48:49 AM

I already asked. We can discuss here. I was surprised when i saw the bulletin. Seems like more entry-level spots than in recent years.

Posted by: hopeful | Sep 1, 2017 7:45:49 AM

Since the first FAR deadline has passed and the placement bulletin has been released could we have a new 2017-18 clearinghouse thread?

Posted by: anon | Sep 1, 2017 1:44:09 AM

I realize this is a few weeks delayed, but I just saw the question re: lateraling pre-tenure. From what I understand, there is a risk of lateraling pre-tenure, in that you may not get tenure at your new school. However, the risk / reward calculation may be offset by:
- Moving to a significantly better school than the one you are currently at. This can be particularly true for "up and comers" that are identified as being underplaced at their current school, and that another school may want to pick up. Less true in these lean times.
- The fact that it may be easier to move pre-tenure. Opinions vary, but I have heard that it can be easier to move when the other school can take a few years to see if you are a fit with their culture. If you move with tenure, they can't get rid of you if you are a bad colleague.
- It can also be harder to move post-tenure because schools see you as having less flexibility in your teaching / writing package. If the school is looking exactly for what you do, great, but when you are more junior, you can credibly claim to want to make a shift in to whatever area they are looking for
- For whatever reason, you may want to leave your current school even with the risk of not getting tenure because you can't see yourself there long term even if you get tenure.

Posted by: anonandoff | Feb 1, 2017 2:57:32 PM

Can anyone comment on the chances of a candidate in the FRC with a foreign LLB, US LLM, UK PhD in law, US law license and practice experience, and 3 law review articles.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 30, 2017 5:18:17 PM

Thanks, Hiring Chair. I find your comments regarding evaluation metrics especially interesting, mainly because it completely differs from accepted hiring practices at law schools, well, in every other country with which I have any experience. As a foreign academic with a research doctorate in law, I can say that the only thing that really counts anywhere else is a good publication record. Consequently, someone on the job market with a "mediocre" academic background (for whatever reasons) can out-perform, say, an Oxford graduate who has published less or poorer quality research. Foreign hiring committees, which are certainly just as pressured as their American colleagues, often also take the time to evaluate, in some way, the substantive quality of publication samples.

So, from the outside, it really does look as if publications are a secondary concern to US hiring committees at both the entry and lateral levels. I don't want to ruffle feathers, but a comparison of online faculty profiles at many comparable US and foreign schools often suggests this to be the case. Of course, US peers almost invariably tick the traditional boxes of school rankings, law review, clerkships, etc. But my question is, just why do these criteria matter so much in the US? Such an approach to hiring goes against the norm everywhere else in law, as well as other disciplines. And how can an accomplished, well-published, and "non-traditional" candidate ever hope to beat this game? Surely US law schools would benefit, too, by going after demonstrated, rather than mere speculative, research performance.

Thanks in advance for any insights.

Posted by: Foreign law professor | Jan 12, 2017 3:46:33 PM

Why would anyone lateral pre-tenure? Isn't that risky?

Posted by: curious fellow | Jan 10, 2017 11:53:08 PM

Thanks Anon | Jan 5, 2017 3:59:10 PM for sharing your experience.

Hiring Chair, I wish all faculty approached the process the way you (and perhaps your colleagues) do.

I would consider the experience of Anon | Jan 5, 2017 3:59:10 PM as more common these days, and Hiring Chair's as best case scenario.

Posted by: thanks anon | Jan 7, 2017 12:06:20 PM

I'd like to respond to Anon's comments:

1) That may be true at some schools, but we would never invite someone to interview with us if we didn't think that person had a shot of being called back. Sitting in that room for two days is painful enough, it'd be even worse if we were talking to people we had little real interest in. Now, I will admit that I often leave for D.C. thinking some candidates likely have a better shot than others (based on credentials, subject matter fit, etc.), but that rarely pans out. This year, for instance, our first offer went to someone who I thought, going into D.C., was unlikely to be in our callback pool, but their interview in D.C. and their callback blew me away and they got the job. Also, sometimes the people we think most likely to get callbacks turn us down or leave us cold after the interview.

2) With us, you'll never get an interview unless a majority of the committee votes to interview you. And we typically like everyone we meet in D.C. -- at least on the personal level. So, with us, your feelings after the interview likely aren't a good gauge of whether you'll be called back or not. You probably left thinking we were a fun group and we enjoyed chatting with you (and we likely did!). I have met people in D.C. whom I absolutely loved, but for some reason or another, they just didn't make it into the callback pile (typically it's subject matter fit, but sometimes they just don't have as strong of a resume of those invited back).

3) Sadly, I think that's true. Personally, however, I'd prefer a valedictorian from a T100 school than someone who graduated without honors at Harvard. But I realize I'm in the minority. And we do look at teaching evaluations, but I confess that I really don't care too much who is citing the candidate and how frequently. Placement does matter with me, but I'm smart enough to realize that for certain folks (i.e., folks writing in less sexy areas, folks who lack prestigious letterhead to submit their articles on, etc.), placement alone doesn't tell the full story. I will say that if you haven't published anything (and I mean a law review) or your publications are all in 4th tier journals, we likely will not interview you.

4) Again, I'd be shocked if a committee would waste an interview slot on someone merely for that purpose. If I want to talk to a candidate about their research, I just pick up the phone or fire off an email. And I have done both!

5) I'm glad you brought this up because, first off, you're right, but more importantly, this is another reason we don't invite someone to interview unless we think they have a chance. We are well aware that, in the current hiring market, our invitation to interview could single-handedly be the thing that causes the candidate to travel to D.C. and incur all that expense (i.e., we could be the person's only interview, or we could be the only school who invited the candidate to interview that the candidate is really interested in). For that reason, we are even more cautious now than we were in the past about offering an interview to someone we think is a long shot. To make someone incur all that expense just to meet with us, when we're pretty sure it's not going to go past the first interview is not only irresponsible, it's cruel.

So good post! I just wanted to share my thoughts to the extent they're helpful.

Posted by: Hiring Chair | Jan 5, 2017 5:28:29 PM

Things I Wish I Knew About the Process

1) While many profs, mentors, and people on committees will claim that everyone who was invited to an AALS interview by a school has a fair shot at getting a callback from that school, I disagree. I think that some schools (probably many schools) have favorites going into the AALS job market. You can have an outstanding interview, but not got a callback because there was a favorite beforehand.

2) If you feel like the faculty from a school really likes you, they probably do. On the flip side, if you are wondering how the heck you got an interview at dreamy, prestigious school, there's probably a few faculty members on the committee or from the school who are thinking the same thing. I'm sure that we all have heard stories of people acing interviews and never hearing from a school. They probably never stood a chance although there may have been 1 (influential) person from the committee advocating for their candidacy.

3) A mediocre, prestigious candidate will do better than an excellent, less prestigious candidate. Appointment committees often complain that they've been disappointed by x junior faculty member's work or performance. However, they rarely look to useful metrics to assess potential. Other disciplines consider how often a candidate's work has been cited, quality of publications as assessed by actually reading it not just placement, and teaching evaluations. That's all too crass for certain law faculties.

4) Going back to point 1, I think that some schools interview you because committee members are interested in your area of research and would like to have a conversation about it although there's a slim chance that they'd actually hire you. See point 5 for why this sucks. (But to be fair, this may introduce a school to your work and lead to lateral possibilities.)

5) This process is more expensive than you think. AALS fees, suits, hotels, decent shoes, travel, food, conferences, and cabs. While schools cover the costs of callbacks, there are many small expenses. And, are you really going to put in the reimbursement for your granola bar and banana while your candidacy is pending?

I got a job because I learned this along the way, played the game, and lucked out. I hope this helps others.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 5, 2017 3:59:10 PM

Here's my take on contacting schools you haven't heard from: if it gives you peace of mind, do it. It may be pointless in the sense that it won't improve your chances of getting a callback or offer, but you will gain some clarity (and not getting a response to a polite inquiry several weeks after an interview is its own sort of clarity). Reaching out shouldn't harm you, and if it does, do you really want to work at such a petty place?

For me, the cavalier attitude of many hiring chairs was one of the more frustrating aspects of the academic job search. When I reached out to law firm partners after giving up on academia, I was pleasantly surprised to get a >90% response rate, especially because I had met most of them only in passing (and some of them never). A few made time for in-person meetings despite not being interested in hiring me. And I certainly wasn't a star candidate for the job I tried to get (believe it or not, practitioners weren't terribly interested in skills gained in a few years in academia).

I've heard academics excuse non-responsiveness on the basis that the hiring process is so unpredictable. But how hard is it to write an email that conveys "don't count on us but our priorities may change so keep us posted"?

Tl;dr: if getting closure is important to you, send those emails. Then move on.

Good luck, and regardless of where you are in the process, try to find some joy in the holiday season!

Posted by: been there | Dec 17, 2016 12:44:39 AM

anon: "It is my experience that some schools never contact you- I actually went to a flyout and never heard back when the school hired no one."

This precise scenario happened to me. Twice. For a number of (benign) reasons, I think it's fairly common.

Posted by: anon2 | Dec 14, 2016 3:36:34 PM

There is no point in contacting the school unless you have an offer from another school.

Posted by: AnonHiringChair | Dec 14, 2016 1:52:45 PM

Yeah, I don't see what contacting the schools will do. It's not like they forgot. It is my experience that some schools never contact you- I actually went to a flyout and never heard back when the school hired no one.

Only advantage to calling now would be that it still shows interest. At the same time it also shows you don't have a job or another offer in hand. On balance I guess it can't hurt but it will be extremely unlikely to be positive and could potentially hurt you if you have to do this again next year.

Posted by: anon | Dec 14, 2016 1:32:45 PM

There are about 9 schools that interviewed me during AALS that haven't been in touch with me since. Is there any point in following up with these schools?

At least one of the schools has sent out rejection letters as well as callback invites, so I'm assuming that I'm on the b-list for that school.

Posted by: anon | Dec 14, 2016 12:30:20 PM

Just adding two points:
1. Anon on Dec. 8 11:47 - just noting that Chicago grads do pretty well on the market :)
2. Another reason for short (exploding) offers can be where there are other good candidates waiting in line, so the school is willing to apply pressure to get the first candidate. This happened when I was first hired. In other words, don't read too much into any given offer/timeline.

Posted by: Michael Risch | Dec 13, 2016 6:10:38 PM

Very interesting insight. I didn't realize that deans actually do that, but it makes sense.

Posted by: anon | Dec 13, 2016 3:10:30 PM

This is where the dean can manipulate the hiring process. If the dean isn't particularly fond of a candidate, the dean can give a very short deadline. If the dean wants the candidate, the dean can be super generous. The dean can even give such a generous deadline that the candidates next in line will be forced to accept other offers. Sadly, this happens all the time.

Posted by: AnonProf | Dec 13, 2016 8:27:41 AM

Of course everything is particular to the given school, but there must be some sense of what's reasonable and typical. For instance, two weeks is typical in some disciplines, so a week offer would not be considered as "exploding" offer. I'm guessing people are generally given more time for law faculty positions.

Posted by: anon | Dec 13, 2016 1:30:36 AM

@anon - there is no "typically." it varies a lot, some schools do exploding offers which can require a response in as littl as a week (people might have heard of or experienced less long windows, I'm just describing situation I'm personally aware of). All that matters is what the schools you are looking at do, and even if you try to figure out what the schools you've interviewed at have done in the past, it could change from year to year.

Put another way, averages are of very little use to any candidate in the abstract.

Posted by: anon | Dec 12, 2016 10:47:38 PM

I have heard from a number of people who have multiple offers. I have also heard from people who still have callbacks over the next few weeks.

Posted by: anon | Dec 12, 2016 6:40:00 PM

How much time do you typically have to make a decision on an offer?

Posted by: anon | Dec 12, 2016 2:48:59 PM

Are people hearing about B-list candidates getting callbacks or offers? Or is it too early to tell?

Are there people with multiple job offers in this market?

Posted by: anon | Dec 12, 2016 2:08:28 PM

I would also add that probably 2/3-75% of law profs come from HYS, and probably the rest come from outside the T14. Some people from other law schools are excellent candidates but due to the selectivity of the job market often get overlooked EXCEPT if they have a personal connection to a specific law school and then work their way up.

It is extremely hard for a candidate from a top 3 school to get a job with many of the same things you mention;though sometimes other excellent candidates get jobs with personal connections.

Posted by: anon | Dec 8, 2016 11:47:43 AM

Do you have any contacts in US law schools? If not develop them now. Go to conferences. The book won't matter all that much - law schools don't care as much about books especially if not from a main university press. At whatever tier you get published for law review is the tier you should look at for jobs.

The job market is extremely competitive. Just this year out of the 400 candidates in FAR, 100 had Ph.ds as well as J.D. If you narrow it down to probably the 80 or 90 competitive candidates, almost all had a ph.d or fellowship I expect or even multiple ones. Many people also had some practice experience as well as federal appellate court judge clerkship (district court does not really matter so much). You have a lot of good things in your resume but unfortunately none of those matters for a law job - they will not care about a non university press book, practice experience or excellent teaching at a Chinese law school. The only way IMO you will get a job in the US is through personal connections and making your work known and of interest to a specific law school. Possibly a school in the rankings 50-125 would be interested if you develop those connections. You could also try to get a visiting gig to develop those connections.

Posted by: anon | Dec 8, 2016 11:44:24 AM

I'm a highly unusual job candidate. I published a book on constitutional law in 2000 with Lexington Books and I have signed a contract with Routledge for an upcoming book on racial profiling. I received 3 offers for publication from law reviews last fall but declined and am resubmitting a stronger version of the article in February. I have a J.D., a Ph.D. and I presently teach in an LLM program in China. I also practiced for 5 years, and clerked for a federal district court judge. However, I'm fifty years old and I graduated from a sub 50 law school (for the money). I'd really like to leave China now for a job in the States. Any thoughts on my chances? Thanks.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 5, 2016 11:46:21 PM

COA judges and law firm partners are meaningless. you need law professors and you should take a job where you can go to conferences and have interaction with law professors. If you take this job you just have to be more assertive in making those connection and spending your own money if you do not have a conference budget. Also, is the school a top 15 school overall? If not, it is not going to mean much in getting a law teaching job unless you want a local law school. If you are teaching at a non-law school at the rank of say U of Colorado or University of Nebraska that does not mean anything whereas if you are at Yale that would be completely different situation.

I don't think I can underestimate how hard it is to get a law teaching job. More than 100 of the 400 people on the market this year had a ph.d. and many of them did not get jobs. It is super competitive for law school jobs and publications and connections are everything. It does not seem this job will help advance that over just staying in a firm except you will have more time to write. If that is the case and the job is convenient for you personally then take it. Also fellowships are not the be all and end all either. Fellows have done well on the market the past 2 years or so, but before that some of the fellows program did abysmally. Some of that is due to the candidates themselves in that some may not be flexible geographically, but I would say excluding the last 2 years, about half of the fellows did not get placed anywhere either.

You just have to publish and make connections and if your school situation does not allow it then you have to make your own destiny.

Posted by: anon | Nov 27, 2016 3:40:08 PM

Thanks for the helpful advice. The references/connections are my biggest concern. I am six years out of law school. I did well but I doubt many of my profs would remember me. I maybe have one former prof who I could use as a reference. Also the two COA judges for whom I clerked, and partners from my firm. The university I am looking at does not have a law school, unfortunately.

Posted by: Aspiring prof | Nov 27, 2016 7:07:15 AM

Wharton is a great school!

Posted by: Anon | Nov 26, 2016 11:53:06 PM

Does the school have a law school? If so I think you could seamlessly transition into that school's law school at some point. The thing to get a law job is connections and if you are in a non-law school it is more difficult to do law school connections. It does not mean it is impossible, it is just that you have to be more assertive in making those connections.

Posted by: anon | Nov 26, 2016 11:48:01 PM

I am a senior associate at a biglaw firm in NYC. I graduated from a T3 law school (but no PhD), clerked for a COA judge, and practice in a specialized area of law that, according to the hiring threads on this blog, has been in demand for tenure-track law professors. My ultimate goal is to be a law school professor.

I've managed to write one law review article that will be published in a T25 flagship and am planning to submit another article in February. As you might expect, biglaw does not provide me with sufficient time to research and write law review articles.

I had been planning to apply for VAP positions, but through some random connections, I learned of the opportunity to apply for a tenure-track job at a very well-respected university. The one hitch is that it is not a law school position. I would, however, be teaching the field of law that I practice (and would like to eventually teach at the law school level). At this university, I'd be teaching undergraduate and graduate non-law students. I applied and gave a job talk, and was told that I should expect an offer soon. The pay range, location, teaching load, and other factors make this a better fit than the VAP positions for which I'd likely be competitive.

My ultimate goal remains a law school position. If I took this job and got a few good publications, would I be competitive for a law school position in a year or two? Or would the fact that I held a position at a non-law school be held against me?

Posted by: Aspiring prof | Nov 26, 2016 12:25:47 PM

A school might well force a decision between the 13th and the end of the year. (That was when my deadline was.)

Posted by: Yesteryear | Nov 25, 2016 1:02:50 PM

I would imagine most all callbacks have been scheduled at this point. The only exception would be for those called up from the alternate pool. That being said, most faculty scatter to the winds in early Dec., so I'd say it's unlikely.

Posted by: HiringChair | Nov 25, 2016 11:16:56 AM

I'm planning to travel abroad for the holiday. Is there any chance a school would schedule a callback (or force a decision about an offer) after the 13th or 14th or so?

Posted by: anon | Nov 24, 2016 6:46:53 PM

I wore business casual attire to dinner the night before; I think that's pretty standard. "[D]ress pants and blouse or dress" sounds right on.

Posted by: Yesteryear | Nov 10, 2016 7:35:46 PM

Question RE clothing (for women) dinner the night before call back: Suit mandatory? Or can one wear something more casual, but still professional (e.g., dress pants and blouse or dress)? Don't want to look unnecessarily stuffy, but still want to look professional. Feel stupid for asking but thanks.

Posted by: anonymous | Nov 10, 2016 3:49:40 PM

I also think it matters how big the conference is. If it were something that has 30 people then yeah they will see you. If it is a larger conference like Conference on Empirical Legal Studies then there would be lots of candidates in the same position and you could potentially avoid people at the conference since people go to different panels.

It is also likely that top schools are not going to move too quickly- it seems like they do callbacks more in December.

Posted by: anon | Oct 27, 2016 9:15:14 PM

Job talks take some amount of planning - if it were a few weeks from now I could see, but I hasten to think that a school would bend over backwards just because someone was coming to campus for a conference. If it were a few weeks from now and the school was going to have you anyway maybe the visits would coordinate. But if it is happening in the next few days, I highly doubt the school would say "hey you are coming anyway why don't we have you do a callback" and then all do that in a matter of days. It takes some time to schedule, convene the faculty, etc. for a callback and I doubt any school will do that in just a matter of days.

I think it could potentially make things very awkward because if they tell you no you don't have a callback or we are still deciding it makes things awkward on all sides. The potential upside - that they would actually have you do a callback - seems highly unrealistic given the timing. I also don't think most schools are that cheap. The only upside is they will ask to talk to you again, but if that is the case you will see them at the conference anyway so once they see you they could arrange a time. Further, they presumably know you are coming to the conference so the school would reach out to you if they wanted a second look.

I also thinks it sounds desperate to ask for a callback as the above poster indicates. I could maybe see checking in on status but it would be weird and potentially very awkward to ask to do a callback. If that were the case, everyone on this board would find a reason to visit schools and ask for callbacks.

if the conference is in a field popular with the school it may also be the case that other interviewees are in the same position. Indeed, maybe the school knows this and to avoid a potentially awkward situation they are withholding invites to after the conference potentially. It makes it very awkward to decline you for a callback then have to see you at the conference the next day.

Posted by: anon | Oct 27, 2016 9:11:29 PM

I disagree with anon at 5:59:48. If you're not aware that others have received callbacks, and you're traveling to their actual campus, I would send a quick (not desperate sounding) email informing that you'll be on campus and thought you'd check on status because if they happen to be interested in hosting you for a callback, you would be happy to arrange to do one while you're in town. It may have no effect (because you're not A list or they're not ready to host callbacks) but it could have a serendipitous effect. It won't hurt you or make you look bad. Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: jr committee member | Oct 27, 2016 8:36:07 PM

i would not ask. What are they going to say - oh, you are getting a callback and we forget to call you? any news at this point will be bad news and would make the encounter more awkward for those involved. Indeed, it will make it really awkward to have that encounter. Best to just go to the conference, be friendly and do not mention anything - if they are interested they will make that apparent and if not they will just stay silent. If they are interested they will fish for info. If the conference is small they know they are going to see you so they likely know they will face this issue.

Many schools have institutional constraints they have to go through before offering callbacks. You still might get one - forcing the issue now is not going to magically result in a callback.

Posted by: anon | Oct 27, 2016 5:59:48 PM

I did a screening interview with a school that, for geographic reasons, is my top choice. I thought the interview went really well. But I haven't heard anything since (nor has anyone else reported hearing from this school yet). At this point though, it seems likely that they have made their callback decisions and simply haven't emailed me. Now I am scheduled to present at a conference at this same school in the coming days, where I will invariably see members of the hiring committee. Is it appropriate for me to ask the hiring chair for an update on my status before I travel to this school? Should I mention the callbacks I have at higher ranked schools in the email?

Posted by: Awkward | Oct 27, 2016 5:27:51 PM

the sheet they handed out at AALS lists the members of each hiring committee - at least the ones that were in attendance.

Posted by: anon | Oct 26, 2016 6:37:27 PM

As for B-team callbacks, they do happen. It's really a matter of whether the A team have better prospects. If the school that has B listed you is lower ranked and/or not geographically desirable for most people, the chances of a B-list callback are better because the chances are greater that an A-list person won't accept an offer there.

Posted by: Hiring Prof | Oct 26, 2016 6:00:48 PM

@anonymous: if they sent you a cordial email reflecting B list status, no harm in replying warmly & timely about your continued interest. you can also follow up later with substantial updates (article accepted, etc.). if you have an offer elsewhere, definitely tell them. i would not follow up to apprise them of other callbacks unless they happen to be in the same city/truly conducive to making the trip a twofer (e.g. you live in california, have a callback at vermont, and badly want one in rhode island.)

Posted by: committee member | Oct 26, 2016 12:39:10 PM

Who is on the hiring committee at Cardozo & GW?

Posted by: AnotherAnon | Oct 25, 2016 11:59:35 PM

I'd like to solicit thoughts on best practices for those of us who've been told post AALS that we're on the "B-team," meaning that we haven't been invited for a callback in the first round (and may never get one at all) but should stay in touch with the hiring chair in case they have to invite more people. First, do people have a sense of how often it happens that schools do end up making more callback invitations? Second, what's the best way to express continued interest in a school without coming across as annoying or desperate? Should I tell the school about another callback I'm doing? Wait until I (fingers crossed) get an offer and then tell them about it? Send a note saying that I remain interested? (For context, the school in question is one of my top choices, and possibly my absolute top choice at this point). Any advice would be most welcome!

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 25, 2016 10:43:24 AM

Anonymous 3:42: It's definitely appropriate and totally expected for schools to ask you this. Top 20 schools are less likely to ask about it because they assume the job they might offer you would overcome any geographic hesitation you might have. Lower ranked schools, particularly those located in areas with which you have no connection, are going to be more anxious about whether you have a genuine interest in moving to their locale. Their legitimate worries are several. Most people take all the screening interviews they are offered, even if they have some concerns about location. Heck, most people take all the callbacks they are offered. But its a waste for a school to bring you in for a callback if you're not really willing to move to the school. They can only bring a few people in, and its best for them if all the candidates who come might actually accept an offer. If you're not really interested in their location, even if you're *willing* to move there, they may be concerned that they're likely to lose you to a better ranked and/or more desirably located school. Plus, if they do give you an offer: (1) they could lose out on other candidates with a more genuine geographical interest; and/or (2) may be concerned that you really only want the offer so that you have a bargaining chip at another school. Finally, if they actually hire you, they will hope you'll stay. Some schools, especially those that are lower ranked and/or in less-than-desirable locations, have trouble with retention, and it's costly and disruptive to have too much turnover.

All that said, hostility in the question is unnecessary and might reasonably put you off. Try not to respond badly to it. It might not have anything to do with you--or the person may simply come off as more hostile than they, in fact, are. Also consider whether you might have given the questioner a reason to think you were being insincere in your interest in the school or were otherwise looking down on the school because of either its rank or location. If you responded in an affronted manner because you thought (wrongly) that the question was inappropriate, that might have been a red flag.

Posted by: anonjuniorprof | Oct 18, 2016 7:16:01 PM

How appropriate is it for schools to ask you whether you'd "move to city [x, y, or z]"? I was asked this question by at least 3 schools, and in at least one case, the questioner was somewhat hostile. I should note that 2 of the schools were not "top 100", while 1 was. (In contrast, I had a handful of interviews with "top 20" schools, and absolutely no one asked me that question at those schools.) It seems like a legitimate enough question, except that it would seem that a better time to ask it would have been before offering the interview. Once a candidate arrives at the interview, it seems--at least to me--that the candidate is taking the interview seriously and asking the question is therefore somewhat hostile. Regardless, as a candidate, it certainly doesn't endear the school to me.

Posted by: anonymous | Oct 18, 2016 3:42:17 PM

^Thanks BBC Recruiters. I didn't have much success with the FAR process so I'll send my info for a construction job. Please note, I'm only interested in construction projects at T14 schools.

Posted by: constructivecriticism | Oct 16, 2016 9:08:41 AM

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Posted by: odia | Oct 14, 2016 6:49:31 PM

Oh my goodness.. The advice that a committee might frown upon headphones is silly. This is a stressful time for job seekers. It would be grand if advice-givers would dial down the paranoia. Interviewing is stressful enough. I say this as a person who has been on a highering committee for the last nine years.

Posted by: Zak Kramer | Oct 7, 2016 6:26:11 PM

I wouldn't advise wearing headphones while in public areas of the hotel. First, if you're wearing them, people are less likely to start (or resume) conversations with you, and more conversations at the Meat Market - assuming you're always 'on' and your social skills are okay - are better than fewer. Second, if hiring committee members see you in the hallway wearing them, they might think you're antisocial or insecure or develop a perception of you as student- rather than professor-like (vague and unfair, I know.)

Posted by: anon | Oct 7, 2016 5:52:35 PM

I'm not sure that people should take at face value the identification of the anonymous commentator earlier in this thread who purports to chair a committee and who says that emails requesting an interview are a "turnoff." When I chaired hiring a few years back, such emails were perfectly normal (especially in the way the 6:17:28 pm commentator puts it).

To the extent that the person in the thread is really a hiring chair, they shouldn't be. They are taking themselves way too seriously. (Indeed, the complaint is so odd, aberrant & self-important that I tend to think it's someone faking it.)

I do think that such emails are unlikely to produce a hit, but you never know.

Posted by: dave hoffman | Oct 6, 2016 9:18:50 PM

This is dumb minutia, but I guess that's kind of what this thread is for.

Do you think there is anything wrong with wearing headphones when walking around the hotel between interviews? I find listening to music while walking relaxing. However, if someone saw me who was on a committee I was interviewing with, I wouldn't want them to think I look unprofessional. Obviously, I would take them out before approaching an interview room (maybe while in the elevator), but I'm more worried about someone just seeing me walking around the hotel like that.

To the extent it is relevant, I am very young looking.

Posted by: Headphones | Oct 6, 2016 8:31:20 PM

I wouldn't find an email asking for a AALS interview, even this late in the game, offensive. On the other hand, if it bordered on belligerent, I wouldn't tolerate it. But I can't image anyone is seeing the latter.

Posted by: AnonProf1 | Oct 6, 2016 7:45:24 PM


You think an email saying, "I'll be in DC at the AALS, am very interested in your school, and would like to meet with your committee if you happen to have a slot" at this stage is rude?

I am not on the market this year, but have been advised to send basically this email by several tenure-track junior faculty mentors (from different institutions), and doing so seems perfectly reasonable.

Posted by: anon | Oct 6, 2016 6:17:28 PM

What are folks doing to prepare for D.C.? I'm buying two new shirts and new shoes.

Posted by: anon | Oct 6, 2016 4:59:43 PM

Also, if this is the first time the candidate emailed I don't see why it would be negative. Tone could also matter- asking for an interview would be inappropriate but merely getting the materials just to make sure that the committee did not overlook them is not something that would be wrong, especially if the person has a specific reason for that school like it being local or whatnot.

Some schools also tell candidates to email schools and say where they have interviews. I think that is a tad pushy and I would feel weird doing that, but alot of this is done by candidates either not being familiar with the process or else being advised by their schools.

Posted by: anon | Oct 6, 2016 11:58:15 AM

@AnonHiringChair 9:31, I understand that while it may be annoying to receive these requests, candidates are often advised to do so. It would be helpful to identify your school and I'm sure you'd receive fewer messages.

Posted by: anon | Oct 6, 2016 11:21:31 AM

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