Faculty job search timeline
November 2013 (perspective of a postdoc)
(This article is adapted from excerpts of Reflections on my tenure-track assistant professor job search.)
Several people have asked me about the faculty job search timeline, so I have documented mine here for reference. Note that most job candidates had far more preparation time than I did, since I decided to apply last-minute. Also note that I applied only to Computer Science departments in the United States, so timelines are probably different in other fields or countries.
Nov 3 – decided to apply to 2 primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) near where I lived (the San Francisco Bay Area) with only five weeks before application deadlines
Nov 5 – emailed potential recommendation letter writers to ask whether they would be willing to write me a letter within the next five weeks; luckily they agreed, and it was on!
Nov 12 – started working on my C.V.
Nov 15 – decided to expand my job search to 6 PUIs around the U.S., since I was now willing to move out of the San Francisco Bay Area if I could get an offer
Nov 15 – started writing my teaching statement first since I was focusing on PUIs
Nov 16 – decided to expand my job search to Ph.D.-granting research universities and apply to 8 of those schools (mostly where I had personal contacts) in addition to the 6 PUIs
Nov 22 – started writing separate research statements for PUIs and research universities
Nov 25 – started writing cover letters for schools with early December deadlines
Nov 27 – surprise informational phone call from the faculty search committee chair of a PUI (where I had a personal contact) to give me suggestions and advice to improve my application
Nov 30 – submitted all 6 PUI job applications; switching focus to research university applications
Dec 1–7 – expanded my job search to 5 more research universities with recent public job postings, bringing the total up to 13 research universities plus 6 PUIs
Dec 8 – submitted all 13 research university job applications online (most had a Dec 15 deadline)
Dec 14 – confirmed that all of my applications and recommendation letters had been received, thus completing my application process; now the waiting and agonizing began (see Section 3.1)
mid-December – sent a link to my job application materials to close colleagues (e.g., former advisors and mentors) and asked them to put in a good word for me wherever possible (see Section 3.3)
Dec 20 – applied to another school on a whim since I saw on their job post website that they had a January 15, 2013 deadline
Dec 24 – started brainstorming the outline for my job talk, even though I didn't know whether I would get any interviews yet
Dec 27 – applied to another few schools that posted late job ads, thus bringing my total up to 22
Jan 5 – applied to one more school where I had a personal contact, bringing my total up to 23
Jan 8 – did a second round of notifying colleagues about my job application materials, this time emailing a larger set of more distant contacts (see Section 3.3)
Jan 10 – applied to one final school where I had a personal contact, bringing my total up to 24
Jan 11 – received an invitation for a first-round phone interview; feeling excited that I got at least one preliminary interview, which meant that my application wasn't totally bogus!
Jan 16 – received my first on-campus interview invitation (at a different school); more excited!
Jan 17 – 30-minute phone (video chat) interview with the school that invited me on Jan 11
Jan 18 – started preparing my job talk since I had at least one on-campus interview now
Jan 22 – received two more on-campus interview invitations, bringing my total up to 3
Jan 28 – received one more on-campus interview invitation, bringing my total up to 4
Jan 29 – received one more on-campus interview invitation, bringing my total up to 5
Jan 29 – received one additional phone interview invitation
Jan 30 – received my first rejection notice (from a PUI) via email; note that most schools don't send rejection notices, so not receiving an interview invitation means that you've been rejected.
Feb 1 – received one more on-campus interview invitation (from the school where I did a phone interview on Jan 17), bringing my total up to 6 interviews; decided to quit my software engineering job at Google, since I didn't have enough vacation days to prepare and travel for interviews
Feb 4 – 30-minute phone interview with the school that invited me on Jan 29
Feb 5 – received one more on-campus interview invitation, bringing my total up to 7
Feb 8 – received one more on-campus interview invitation, bringing my total up to 8
Feb 10–12 – travel for my first on-campus interview
Feb 14 – last day of work at Google; sad to leave my friends there on such short notice, but super-super-pumped for the next month of focusing solely on interviews!
Feb 17–22 – travel for on-campus interviews 2 and 3 (together on one trip)
Feb 18 – received one more on-campus interview invitation (from the school where I did a phone interview on Feb 4), bringing my total up to 9
Feb 19 – faculty search committee chair from interview 1 called to ask about my interview timeline and priorities, which indicated interest on their part
Feb 21 – search chair from interview 1 said that they would likely make me an offer
Feb 25 – on-campus interview 4 (local in the San Francisco Bay Area, so no traveling)
Feb 27 – received an offer from interview 1, about two weeks after that interview; my first job offer!
Feb 28 – received one final on-campus interview invitation, bringing my total up to 10
Mar 3 – cancelled two of my interviews due to lack of energy, time, and the fact that I already had an offer from a place that I preferred over those two schools; now I was down to 8 total interviews
Mar 5–7 – travel for on-campus interview 5
Mar 12–22 – travel for on-campus interviews 6, 7, and 8; the University of Rochester was interview number 7; completely exhausted after my final interview and was rewarded by getting stranded overnight at the Denver airport due to a massive snowstorm!
Mar 21 – email from the University of Rochester search chair saying that they were close to making me an offer, but a few more faculty wanted to chat with me; scheduled a call for Mar 26
Mar 21 – received my second job offer (from interview 5), again about two weeks after my interview
Mar 26 – video chatted with a few more faculty at the University of Rochester (who were out of town during my on-campus interview), and received a job offer that afternoon
Mar 27 – turned down one of my offers, thus leaving me with two final choices to consider
Mar 27 – emailed my main contact from interview 4 to update him on my plans to accept the offer at one of my final two choices, thus taking myself out of the running at his school
Mar 28 – the search chair from interview 8 called to gauge my interest, and I told him that I was already narrowing down to two final offers and thus took myself out of the running there
Apr 1 – my contact from interview 6 emailed to check on my status, and I told him that I was already narrowing down to two final offers and thus took myself out of the running there
Apr 1–3 – second visit to the University of Rochester and offer negotiations (see Section 6.3)
Apr 4–6 – second visit to my other final choice school
Apr 7 – accepted my offer at the University of Rochester
Apr 10 – the search chair from interview 3 told me that I would most likely get an offer there since their top choice would most likely decline; but I had already decided on the University of Rochester by then, so I took myself out of the running there
mid-April – wrote a TON of thank-you notes to everyone who helped me in the past few months
Apr 16 – started writing this document (whoa, meta!)