Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The best things about applying for a faculty position

From the 2016-17 Chemistry Faculty Candidate Survey, the answers to the following questions:

What was best about the hiring process?
  • Insight on the efficacy of the proposals, and personal growth likely making me a better person despite no offers.
  • On-Site
  • The application process really helped the  fine tuning of my research proposals and realize exactly what environment I'm looking for.
  • Going on an interview is a really nice event, where you get to meet kind and interesting (potential) future colleagues.
  • The amount and type of positions available
  • It was a learning experience on my end, as I am a 5th year student, mostly applying to primarily undergraduate institutions that were HBCUs. I learned that I had to do a lot of writing to craft a research program that could be funded. 
  • Giving the seminars and meeting faculty and students.
  • shared submission websites to save me time
  • Thinking about the chemistry that I thought would be cool to explore.
  • Meeting faculty and students around the country and visiting their departments.
  • Refining ideas
  • The online application process and job description
  • Interviews were generally quite pleasant
  • The second visit, after the offer (because it was the least stressful).
  • Getting positive feedback in the form of phone or on campus interviews. It adds validity to your application package! Speaking with the faculty who are excited to have you on campus is fun. Getting a job!
  • I've essentially solved the two body problem without working at a masters/phd granting institution like my partner
  • The department I received an offer from and also accepted is a wonderful fit and I am delighted to join. The second site visit (after the offer was already made) was probably my favorite part because it was low stress. 
  • Nothing
  • Being able to get my ideas on paper
  • Getting to talk to lots of people excited about chemistry
  • Hmmmmm
  • Interviews were fun
  • It was a very supportive environment from the interview stage and onward
  • Meeting students during the campus interviews


  1. It's interesting how often the idea of "refining ideas" was expressed, either explicitly or implicitly. While I agree that discussing ideas often leads to clarity, nothing refines an idea quite like execution. Of the 4 research ideas I proposed during my job talks, 3 were mostly abandoned during the first year and the fourth has evolved into something very different. I'm a strong proponent of the "fail fast" philosophy of doing science. Even so, I was surprised (and humbled) by how fast the best-laid plans could fall apart. It would be interesting to poll a large body of faculty in their third or fourth year and find out how many people are actually working on the projects they proposed during the job talk.

    1. For my part, the projects I talked about during my on-campus interview were completely different from the ones that were in my application materials. I had gotten feedback that my original idea would be difficult to execute at a PUI but I hadn't finished refining my new proposal before the phone interviews. Now, at the end of my second year, my research group is working on exactly what I proposed during my on-campus visit, plus a few related off-shoots. I will say that the aspect of my proposal that I was originally most excited about is not working, while the best results are coming from the student-inspired off-shoots.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20