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Academics - how are applicants for lectureships normally informed when they haven't got the job (ie phone/email/letter etc)?

(33 Posts)
fruitpeeler Thu 10-Jan-13 15:43:15

Only asking because I had a fairly (well, if I'm honest, completely and utterly) disastrous interview before Christmas for a lectureship I thought I really wanted. Now the head of department has arranged a phone call with me.

I am 99.5% sure this is to tell me that I haven't got the job, but am surprised that they are going to the trouble of telling me over the phone - thought they would just send me an email. I do see that it is very civil of them to break the news in person, but I would prefer for them just to confirm that I haven't got it, sooner rather than later. Email would be fine to convey this information as far as I am concerned!

As it is, I am now letting that 0.5% chance niggle at me. I shouldn't, should I?

VeronicaSpeedwell Thu 10-Jan-13 15:47:59

I think a phone call is unusual for a rejection. I wonder if the first person they made an offer to might not have accepted it in the end, perhaps because they were trying to negotiate terms they couldn't agree on, or because they used the offer to get a promotion at their home institution, which happens not infrequently. I suppose they might be giving you a rejection with feedback, or maybe inviting you to apply for or offering a post of some kind which is not the one you originally applied for (this has also happened to people I know).

VeronicaSpeedwell Thu 10-Jan-13 15:48:21

Oh, and good luck smile.

FestiveWench Thu 10-Jan-13 15:58:24

I agree with Veronica.
I had this when I didn't get the job but was offered a fixed term contract variant of the job instead.
The initial phone call was to say that I hadn't got the job but that they might be able I offer me something in a week or so. Which they did smile

help1975 Thu 10-Jan-13 16:02:43

I was turned down by phone for first interview post phd. I expected to be as others had more experience but they gave lovely feedback and said I was second choice and would get it if anything went wrong which was good enough for me. They may turn you down but have specific nice comments to make like that?

fruitpeeler Thu 10-Jan-13 16:12:56

Hello! Thanks so much for your responses, interesting. Thing is, I do see they might be phoning to say no but to give me some feedback nevertheless, which would be nice of them - but my treatment during the interview etc was NOT that nice. In fact, I went away thinking that I should probably re-think my suitability for an academic career! Anyway, I am determined not to raise my expectations on this one. Bit nervous on feedback anyway, as after another job I didn't get recently, the head of faculty told me that on paper I had all the right credentials, it was only when I started talking that it all went wrong! That was feedback I DIDN'T NEED! Academic job interviews are brutal aren't they?

JellyMould Thu 10-Jan-13 16:16:48

Fingers crossed for you. It is unusual to phone straight rejections. I got the phd interview where I burst into tears....

fruitpeeler Thu 10-Jan-13 16:21:58

Bit worried about outing myself here, but the interview process was quite lengthy shall we say (US style, I believe). Maybe they feel guilty about putting me through that and then just emailing through a rejection. Oh God, wish they'd just tell me and give me the feedback later. Or never! Congrats on your success stories by the way.

TinyDiamond Fri 11-Jan-13 09:54:20

when is the phone call?

fruitpeeler Fri 11-Jan-13 10:13:55

Hi TinyDiamond. He's calling me next week. The interview was weeks ago, but the institution is known for having a fairly bureaucratic process for recruitment I believe.

campergirls Fri 11-Jan-13 10:24:24

This seems really poor to me. I think it would be reasonable to call them and ask what the decision was and what the purpose of the call is.

I'm an academic and have chaired a lot of appointment panels. I phone people as soon as I can after interview to let them know the outcome either way and to offer feedback. If I can't give them a definite decision because of some complication, I let them know whether they are still live candidates or not. I wouldn't dream of keeping a candidate in suspense like this!

Hope something good comes of it for you.

fruitpeeler Fri 11-Jan-13 10:34:16

Hi campergirls. Thanks for that comment, I feel a bit the same.

They did warn me during the interview that they may not let me know for some time, as a result of this fairly bureaucratic process they have. I think also that they were interviewing candidates from overseas and so may not have interviewed every candidate until fairly late.

However, as you say, since they have clearly come to a decision and I am almost certain that the decision is negative, I don't know why they don't just tell me, and perhaps set up a call to offer feedback following that. Seems like a strange way to go about things overall.

TinyDiamond Fri 11-Jan-13 10:36:28

you could call yourself and try to speak to them now, make out that there's something else in the pipeline so you need to know whether to pursue it or not. being kept waiting weeks on end is not on

fruitpeeler Fri 11-Jan-13 10:44:19

Yes, I supposed I could do that. But I am so sure the decision is negative as I say, that waiting a few extra days is not the end of the world (although I recognize that these posts suggest something different)! This department is prestigious but does not have a great reputation for happy staff and their approach to recruitment would seem to support that. So in a way this final part of the process is helping me feel even more OK about not getting the job.

help1975 Sun 13-Jan-13 23:09:34

Just another thought. I gather from my own and others experiences that US process is more likely to take references before offering a job where as over here it is common to offer subject to references being ok. Could be a good reason for the delay and maybe you will be offered it?!

fruitpeeler Mon 14-Jan-13 11:10:11

Hi Help1975. Yes, I guess that's possible, although I have a feeling that my references were taken up some time ago.

I have found out now that he will not in fact be calling me to tell me the outcome - which hasn't been decided yet - but to explain the delay.

I don't really understand their selection process other than they have to put decisions to a panel. Is it possible that ALL decisions have to go to a panel? ie even if they know they definitely don't want a candidate, that this has to be 'approved.' If so, it seems bureaucratic to me but who knows.

I think I am going to ask when I speak to him whether or not I am still considered a 'live' candidate, or what their recommendation is going to be. You would think they would be able to tell me that by now?

TinyDiamond Mon 14-Jan-13 13:31:52

How annoying! No way I'd be able to wait so long I think you're being rather patient considering

campergirls Mon 14-Jan-13 13:39:52

At my university, we don't tell unsuccessful candidates anything until the successful candidate has been offered the post and accepted it. I think this is probably common practice. So if for some reason they haven't yet had a decision from the successful candidate, that would explain the delay. That seems a fairly likely explanation to me, though not the only possible one.

fruitpeeler Mon 14-Jan-13 14:06:12

Hello again campergirls, that would make sense. I would imagine that he must be able to give me some information about whether I am still in the running, should for example the successful candidate turn the job down. If I am not in the running, but they can't make it official because of their procedure, I would hope that he can at least give me a strong hint.

help1975 Mon 14-Jan-13 15:56:43

Yes camper girls suggestion is a good one. Hope you get the right outcome and hear soon. It sounds like you might be best off elsewhere from what you say!

fruitpeeler Thu 17-Jan-13 11:41:56

Spoken to them today: They are waiting to have funding confirmed for a second position. Apparently I have not been ruled out, but that they will rank the candidates once funding has been confirmed. He asked me what my job status was (ie on market/any other positions pending). So I guess the first position has been filled already but they might have another one? Really trying not to raise my hopes over this.

VeronicaSpeedwell Fri 18-Jan-13 14:07:07

Ooh. So are they going to call again? It must be a month now since your interview, right?

lljkk Fri 18-Jan-13 14:57:18

I was going to guess there was a second position involved!
It's good they want to keep you in mind. It's all good networking. Turn on the charm!

campergirls Sun 20-Jan-13 14:02:01

I am hmm about 'they will rank the candidates once funding has been confirmed'. If the job description is in line with the one for the first post, they should go with the ranking they already drew up. If it's different, they should re-advertise. Iffy employment practices are not uncommon in universities, but this lot sound a right shower!

fruitpeeler Mon 21-Jan-13 10:16:09

That's a good point Campergirls. I'm such an idiot, I should have asked more questions about that, I didn't really think to.

Veronica - yes, going to call me. It will be nearly three months by then!

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