The Status of Searches, Job Offers, and Hiring Plans During the Pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic and the various measures taken in response to it are disrupting and delaying normal university processes as well as having broader economic consequences. How have academic job searches in process and plans for hires in the near future been affected?

Regarding current searches: How have candidates’ campus visits been affected? How has the closure of university offices affected decision-making processes? How have closures and other institutional measures affected the completion of administrative tasks needed to make official offers?

[Molly Rausch, “Kidney Transplant”]

One reader says:

Some of us find ourselves in a weird spot: we’ve officially accepted an offer at another institution (e.g., by email) but we have not yet received a contract, so we are worried that these offers may be rescinded. Somewhat relatedly, in some cases there is an additional worry that resigning at a current position means giving up healthcare for most of the summer. I don’t think this is a new worry, but it does seem compounded in light of the pandemic. 

It is also the time of year during which departments often develop hiring plans and goals for the following years. Between institutional interruptions and the multiple uncertainties (financial and otherwise) universities face regarding their futures, it would not be surprising if the result is fewer jobs available in the next couple of hiring seasons. And might the anticipation of such a development put further pressure on Ph.D. programs to tamp down on admissions? Have your departments been discussing these matters? Or getting directives from administration on them?

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Dispatch
Dispatch
1 year ago

I was in the position that your reader describes: I was offered a tenure-track position over email, negotiated it,, and then stated over email that I would accept the offer. This occurred in early March. Then, I anxiously awaited the official contract while the COVID-19 situation became more and more dire. However, the contract was sent by the administration only a few days after the last email. So, assuming the university doesn’t close, I’m going to assume I have a job in the Fall.Report

Chris Surprenant
Chris Surprenant
1 year ago

At the University of New Orleans, we’re not hiring in philosophy, but all of our other searches/hires are moving forward as planned. A 2% across the board salary raise was also announced in February, and that is moving forward as well.Report

campus candidate
campus candidate
1 year ago

I went on a campus visit for a TT position where, as a result of a sudden hiring freeze related to COVID19, the Provost nixed the search (shortly before I was expecting them to make a decision). Should I be fortunate enough to receive an offer from another institution this season, I will certainly prioritize getting my signature on a contract ASAP over trying to negotiate any of the details.

My personal set-backs mean very little in the broader global context, especially since stable academic employment is a privilege that even in boom times is inaccessible to many. But… well, yeah, it has certainly not been excellent to deal with these disappointments on top of everything else that is happening.Report

On the market last year
On the market last year
1 year ago

I feel bad for job candidates this year, but I fear much more for those on the market next year (which unfortunately will include many of the same people from this year). I don’t have a special crystal ball or anything, but my guess is that all this is going to have a big impact on the overall number of available positions next year.Report

job candidate
job candidate
1 year ago

I keep receiving emails about hiring freezes from universities where I applied. It is difficult to motivate myself to keep sending out applications when I know it may be all for naught.Report

A-Z
A-Z
1 year ago

Has anyone had their offer rescinded or heard of someone who has? (I have not, nor have I heard of anyone else who has)Report

TTTT
TTTT
1 year ago

I’ve been negotiating for the past couple of weeks and accepted a verbal agreement on Friday. It’s now apparently waiting on the Dean’s desk, and I’m terrified it won’t get signed off on…Report

Dookie Shoes
Dookie Shoes
1 year ago

I got a fly-out invite right as coronavirus panic was ramping up. I was “at the top of their list”. They emailed the next day and said nevermind, instead asking me to record a class–as my teaching demo–and give a job talk via Zoom. I spent hours learning Zoom and convening a special session of a class (to meet via Zoom). Then the committee emailed and said they were “pressing pause” on the whole process, but hoped to fly me out later this semester (this was after in-person classes were cancelled, there and pretty much everywhere, so I’m not sure why they expected things to change in a matter of weeks). Then a few days later they emailed and said they (the search committee, not admin!) had thought about it some more and were cancelling the search, since they didn’t think they could gather enough info without a physical fly-out (seems clearly false, but whatevs). I know the circumstances are bad, and I don’t fault them for having to adjust their plans. But I felt jerked around here, given that all these decisions were made by the committee, and they could have just taken half an hour to get their story straight before telling me anything.

I’ve also had 2 fly-outs converted to virtual interviews, in some capacity. Another search hasn’t decided on who makes the second round, but are still planning on figuring out some virtual option in place of a fly-out. After the above experience, I am especially thankful to these committees for making it work, and for communicating in a not-totally-dysfunctional way.Report