31 March 2014

Fifty-nine noes

When I was on the academic job market, I read somewhere that successful applicants sent out around sixty applications.

That was pretty much in line with my experience. I think I sent out over fifty applications before I got the phone interview that ultimately led to this job. And because of the delays, I ended up sending out more applications after I had done the on-site interview.

It’s a frustrating process, because there’s no progress bar. You send this off, and you rarely have any idea of when it’s received, whether a shortlist has been made, or when a decision is expected.

I was surprised by how many applications just... vanished. Many search committees didn’t feel compelled to inform candidates of the outcome. Not even a simple, “No thank you.”

I think it starts to suck hard somewhere around the forty mark. Particularly if none of them has even yielded a lead, like an on-site interview.

The job market wasn’t great when I was in it, and it’s probably worse now. This means that you have to be ready to take a lot of rejection.

But the moral of the story is that the number of noes is almost irrelevant. Because all it takes is one “Yes.”


Photo by nathangibbs on Flickr; used under a Creative Commons license.

2 comments:

Mike Taylor said...

"I was surprised by how many applications just... vanished. Many search committees didn’t feel compelled to inform candidates of the outcome. Not even a simple, “No thank you.”"

That is just contemptible. However hard the job-market (legitimately) is, there's simply no excuse for not even bothering to send a rejection.

Melissa Barlett said...

I was hired for Fall 2011 as a community college instructor. Over the two years prior to that I easily sent out more than 150 faculty applications. I know, because I tracked them on a spreadsheet. I stopped tracking rejections so I don't know how many I lost. I also had about 30 phone interviews and 15 on campus interviews. I only had the one yes, but it was a great one for me!