“I recently completed an interview for a TT job. Everything went well — they spoke to my references, I did a teaching demo. It’s now been over a month and I’ve heard absolutely nothing from them, even after following up with HR and the committee about their timeline. Should I assume they’re still making a decision? Since I was one of only three finalists for the job, I find it hard to imagine they’d give me complete radio silence instead of letting me know I wasn’t selected.”
Or more briefly, “A few weeks ago, I had a campus visit for a lecturer position at a Liberal Arts Institution. How long do you wait from an on-campus interview to an offer/rejection?“
What to do?
If you made it to the campus visit, and they told you a timeline, wait until that timeline has passed and then write to ask. Here is wording you can use; send this to the Search Committee Chair:
“Dear XX, I am writing to inquire about the status of the search. If possible I’d like to know if I am still under consideration. I enjoyed meeting the faculty there and I remain very interested in the position. Thank you, XXX”
I can’t promise they’ll respond, but I want you to know that after a certain period of time, you ARE entitled to inquire. If they did not give you a timeline, then wait about 4 weeks and write then.
In terms of WHY search committees routinely ghost candidates now? Well, I don’t know. It’s been a growing practice for many years. I think search committee members are overwhelmed and if firm procedures have not been set in place whereby the administrative assistant is tasked with sending notifications early in the search, and the search chair doesn’t make a note to do near the end… well, it falls through the cracks.
I have to wonder, too, if search committees feel a kind of guilt or shame about the job market now and want to just make the bad parts disappear. It’s delightful to offer someone a job (I know! I did it when I was Chair.) And it’s truly wrenching to send those rejection emails. Someone without a strong ethical commitment could, I can imagine, just…. take the avoidance route.
There is no excuse for that, needless to say. I’m not excusing, just speculating.
As Kel and I always say: search committees – do better.
Feel free to share your stories in comments!