How to Reject

The job-seeking process in philosophy is, to put it politely, generally long and drawn out and tiring and discouraging and costly and anxiety-ridden, a perfect storm of stress, self-doubt, and probably a bunch of other things that start with ‘s’ (no suggestions in the comments about that, please). What can those on the hiring side of the table do to make things better for the candidates?

Some little things might help. Here are some thoughts from Jeff Sebo. I thought they were worth a larger audience, and Jeff has kindly allowed me to share them here. He was on the market this past season, and he writes how he is feeling “grateful to the search chairs who take a moment to write a few kind words in their letters of rejection, even if these kind words are completely generic.” Here’s an example of such words, from a letter from LSU: “It takes a great deal of time and effort to prepare and apply for a position. We are enormously grateful to you for having done all that when you applied for a position here at LSU. Allow me to say that I wish you the very best as you search for another position in philosophy.” As Jeff said, this is pretty easy to do, and can make a real difference in how the market feels to candidates. 

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