Memo to Search Committee Members: The Academic Hiring Process isn’t about YOU! (PART TWO)

Academic careers are serious business. In my previous article, I offered “commandments”, advising on the academic positions search process. I now offer the second half of my “commandments” list:
6. NEVER make any candidate disappear from an applicant pool until after the search committee has provided ALL applicants AA/EOE due process. ALL institutions of higher education receiving federal funds have a legal obligation to formally acknowledge receipt of, and collect demographic data from each applicant.
7. If your applicant pool only has one incredible candidate, so be it. Don’t conduct a secondary search to waste time for additional people. Interview that incredible candidate and do what needs to be done to hire her or him. No one appreciates being invited to interview for college positions or university positions when it’s clear a search committee has little-to-no interest in her/him. AA/EOE experts may consider it necessary to “interview warm bodies” for accountability purposes, but there are legal and legitimate alternatives to this practice, and the academic community at large, where your future potential colleagues come from, will hold your department and institution in higher esteem.
8.  Transparency is paramount to the search process integrity.  Any attempt to be secretive, sneaky or cute will tip off savvy candidates that something unethical or unprofessional is ongoing. Even the slightest move considered “less than kosher” could come back to haunt a search committee and academic institution.
9.  Just as much as academic positions search processes potentially reflect upon candidates seeking college employment or university employment, those same processes potentially reflect upon academic departments and institutions of higher education.
10. Academic positions searches have everything to do with welcoming new colleagues to an academic community, nothing to do with search committee members, yet plenty to do with the integrity and reputation of their institutions of higher education.

Wheelchair Wisdom -- Insights about academic employment from a former chemistry and physics professor impacted by a spinal injury.

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