Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sausages Being Made - What Job Candidates Should Know about Notification

You know there's that old saying about not wanting to know how sausages or laws are made? 

So I want to say there's something of that to the hiring process.  To remind you, I chaired a search committee for a one year position in interdisciplinary basketweaving.

The committee did its part, the applicants did theirs.  The chair offered the position to someone who accepted, put in the paperwork.  And voila, that should be good, right?

This was back in mid-May.  

In May, after we'd had the offer accepted, I drafted a short rejection note, using the help you folks had offered here, on May 19th.  But everyone warned me that I cannot send the rejection note out until we have a signed contract back.  It's been over a month.  And it hasn't even gone out to the candidate yet, I bet.  (I bet this because I got an email on Friday asking me for some information needed to process the candidate, so I'm guessing the processing didn't get done until after I responded to the email at 3pm, if then.  And being Friday and all, even if the contract was put in outgoing mail, it's probably still sitting there, waiting for the Monday pick up.)

I'm sure the candidates have decided that I'm an irresponsible jerk. 

I'd like to apologize to all the job candidates out there who've complained, and rightly so, about not getting a timely note about their status when a campus has hired someone else.

The thing is, once the call's been made and an offer accepted, a long train of paperwork starts.  Here at NWU, the department chair initiates hiring paperwork, which goes on it's merry way up the ladder, first to the dean, and then the provost.  The provost gets it to HR, where it sits for however long (in this case, over a month).

And the committee chair who intends to send out timely notifications can't.  And then the committee chair gets really busy, and is probably out of the loop about when the contract gets back, so maybe things get pushed aside, and by the time the committee chair looks at them again, it feels silly to send out a rejection note.

I'm going out of town in early July, so if I don't get the information before then, my notes will have to wait even longer.


  1. Endorse.

    This has been true at both places I've worked, too.

  2. So true, and so frustrating! And then if it drags on too long, you run the risk of losing a great candidate.

  3. Can you add a P.S. to the rejection note apologizing for and explaining the delay (in neutral terms, event though neither you nor the candidates feel neutrally about them)? At the very least, such a note would increase the knowledge of how things tend to work among those who haven't had a chance to learn by actually serving on a search committee.

  4. I've seen the same thing, and it drives me nuts. I have sometimes told people that we have an offer out, it has been accepted, but the search is not closed until we have a signed contract.

  5. Yup. Same here. I did do the rejecting of the folks we didn't interview, saying that they hadn't been selected for an interview...but still waiting to send out something to finalists.