Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jobs and applications

I am in the unenviable position of applying for academic jobs in a persistently abysmal market. The period of applications is almost over and the waiting for a call has begun.

There are definitely more jobs this year than last, but the major difference I've noticed this year is that most places are requiring - or are willing to accept - electronic applications. Some want them sent via e-mail, but a lot have set up the process through their university's HR department. Some of these work o.k. (I can upload my cover letter, c.v., and extra materials) but some treat my application like all other applications to the university which, I find is uselessly time-consuming and redundant (since all of my employment history is spelled out in my c.v. anyway).

A few weeks ago I applied for a job the day before the deadline through an HR website application (so I could wait until the last day). So, I was surprised to find, the next afternoon, a "condolence" message in my e-mail thanking me for my application and informing me that the department was looking elsewhere. There was no way they could have reviewed all those applications in less than 24 hours. They hadn't. I received another automated message later that day apologizing for the message that was sent in error. It wasn't just sent to me but to the entire applicant pool.

But this saga doesn't end here. Two days later I received the same message, which still seemed fast but was more plausible. And two days after that, a formal message from the Search Chair apologizing for the second "condolence" message and spelling out the timeline for the hire. The system had rejected the entire candidate pool not once, but twice.