A Joke About the Academic Job Market

Members of an academic search committee are staring at a huge pile of job applications. The committee chair grabs half of the applications and tosses them into the trash can.

“What did you do that for?” asks one of the members.

“Well, we don’t need any unlucky folks at our department, do we?” explains the chair.


6 thoughts on “A Joke About the Academic Job Market”

      1. …nobody looks at anything other than the cover letter and the CV, so it’s not that much of a waste.

        Interesting. I always looked at letters of recommendation, especially the ones which were not shared with the candidate.


  1. It’s too bad modern bureaucracy won’t allow for that solution. My university requires search committees to score each person who applied on a big chart that has to be submitted to administration.


      1. We have to score everyone to justify the shortlist, but the scoring system is pretty simple and there are things that are easy to find in the CV that automatically put some people in the bottom category so you don’t need to read anything else. For example, if the job description includes PhD in hand at start of appointment, you can stop reading any ABD that does not indicate they will be done on time. Similarly, if the description specifies a minimum number of years of teaching experience or experience teaching a certain type of course, you can stop reading anyone who doesn’t have those. Our dean’s office is very strict about not allowing anyone to be interviewed unless they meet all of the required qualifications. Departments here sometimes screw themselves with what they set up as required vs. desirable qualifications in job ads. I know of one search that failed because the department (not mine) put six years of teaching experience as a requirement and they were not allowed to short list fantastic candidates with only four years of teaching experience. In the end, they had only a tiny pool of applicants they could consider for shortlisting.


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