I used to be young and naive. I took every job announcement completely in earnest. Today, however, I’m old and cynical. Whenever I see a job announcement like the following:
Applicants should submit: (1) Letter of application; (2) CV; (3) Names and addresses of three referees; (4) Syllabi of courses the applicant has designed and taught; (5) Proposed syllabus or curriculum plan for a freshman-level writing sequence that addresses the Warren College Writing Program’s goals (see web site) as well as the needs of a diverse group of students, instructors, and staff; (6) Article length writing sample (7) Summary of past or potential contributions to diversity in a personal statement.
I immediately realize that this place has an internal candidate and applying there is a waste of time. These elaborate ads that ask the candidates to provide the Moon, the Sun and the neighboring galaxy are aimed at giving the search committee an excuse to reject everybody who applies and just hire the internal candidate. At the end of the search, they’ll just pass the curriculum plan you have worked so hard on creating to the internal candidate as a hiring bonus.
Sadly, I only acquired this experience after being a candidate in such fake searches. I remember a campus visit where a compassionate recent hire kept trying to give me hints that my efforts to impress the search committee were completely useless. Of course, I had no idea what he was trying to communicate to me and felt devastated when I discovered that nobody had even been considering hiring anybody else but the internal candidate at that college.