Tuesday, September 5, 2023

"Get A Job, Ken" - Part 1: The Timeline

The application process for chemistry faculty positions can last several (grueling) months. The timeline below outlines my 2012 job search and serves as the first installment of my “Get a Job, Ken!” blog post series. 

Job postings: The postings for inorganic/energy/materials assistant professor positions at top 100, R1 institutions began appearing in July 2012 and continued until about November. Postings for professor positions at undergraduate-focused institutions continued well into Spring 2013.

Application deadlines: The distribution of deadlines for the 38 positions I applied to are shown in the bar graph below. The first deadline was on September 10th. The last was on December 1st. The most popular due date by far was October 15th.
Interviews: I’ve heard of people receiving phone calls offering interviews as early as two weeks after the application deadline. Other people recounted receiving calls as late as February/March after search committees failed to find a viable candidate during their first round of interviews.

Rejection letters/emails: Some universities send rejection emails/letters after selecting candidates to interview (as early as November) while others send emails after making an offer to their top candidate. Some universities don’t send anything at all (10-20% of the schools I applied to). 

Decisions, second visits and negotiations: Job offers are usually proffered between December and March. Second visits—a department’s chance to entice their top candidate to accept the offer—are scheduled soon after. Negotiations about start-up funds, lab space, teaching assignments and so on occur during the month following the offer and will continue until the final contract is signed (or rejected).

Graduate student recruiting weekend: If newly hired professors receive and accept an offer in time, they can potentially attend their new institution’s graduate student recruiting weekend. This event provides a chance for new professors to meet and start recruiting students to help establish their research group. 
Start date: The most common start dates I saw listed on the job postings were July 1st or August 1st, but the actual start date is negotiable (to some degree). 

As a real-life example, here is the start-to-finish timeline for the search process that ultimately ended in my assistant professor position at FSU:
  • Application deadline: December 1st
  • Request for phone interview: January 9th
  • Phone interview: January 16th
  • Request for in-person interview: January 23rd
  • In-person interview: February 10-13th
  • Offer: February 20th
  • Second visit: March 8-11th
  • Negotiation: February 20th to March 22nd
  • Formal Acceptance: March 27th
  • Graduate student recruiting weekend: March 29th
  • Official start date: August 8th 


  1. "Phone interview." If you think about it, it's really strange how Zoom has crept into the process with no introspection on how it would potentially bias hiring.

    1. To minimize potential bias, my department actually asks the candidates to keep their camera off, but we use Zoom so that the candidates can see us while we're asking them questions. I'm sure we aren't the only ones out there who do that but I would be interested to know how common it is.

    2. Good to hear some departments have actually given this some thought, but from (limited) personal experience, it's not the norm.

    3. Even if the camera is turned off, the committee will know if they're talking to a woman or a non-native English speaker. That said, this sounds like a good way to prevent bias around a candidate's appearance.

    4. When I interviewed for faculty positions, having my camera off never came up. I don't know if blindfolding the interviewers is going to solve bias issues, since I agree that you can gather a lot just from voice. That's where other forms of training can help out.

    5. Just voice was always a problem for the "phone interview" stage of these.


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