Monday, September 2, 2013

Professor for one year (week 18): Don't call us, we call you

Over the last months, I've applied for several positions as assistant professor or research group leader at different universities in different countries.  All applications were rejected.

No, wait, that's not quite true:  

My application at UT Austin, TX, was rejected three days after submission -- that was fast!  

I applied for two positions at Saarland University, the rejection for the second application was sent out two weeks after submission; for the first application, I asked about the procedure three months after submission -- the answer was something like "Oh, we did send you the rejection some weeks ago, you should have received it."  No, I hadn't.

I applied for a position at the University of Tübingen, they sent a detailed schedule when to expect which action and which week was planned for interviews.  When I hadn't received any information the Friday before this week, I called and was told: "Oh, we sent out the invitations three weeks ago, if you haven't received one, your application probably has been rejected."  Aha.

I applied for a position at the University of Zurich.  Two weeks after submission, I saw the list of invited candidates to give a public talk in a newsletter.  No, I hadn't been informed officially that I was not on this list -- I could see it in the newletter, after all.  When I asked about the formal rejection, the contact person appologized and made clear that she hadn't liked this procedure anyway, but the professors in the commission had told her to not send rejections to the non-invited applicants and that she was not aware that I subscribed to the newsletter.

I applied for a position at the University of Amsterdam.  Half a year later I asked about the process and got a message saying: "Oh, we did send you the rejection some months ago, you should have received it."  No, I hadn't.

I applied for a position at the University of Bern.  Some months after submission, I got an invitation to send my best publications.  Some weeks later there was a message that the whole process was on hold and that I would be informed about the next steps -- in the meantime, I could see on their website that I was not on the list of invited candidates for a talk that already had taken place.  No message came, but there is now a welcome note for the new professor on the institute's website.  When I asked about the formal rejection, they appologized and admitted that it was a bad idea to not send rejections to the non-invited applicants.

I don't get it: in the job descriptions for these positions, they ask for excellent people, they look for the elite.  And then they treat you like a beggar.

And of course all the rejections had nothing to do with me as person and I would be perfectly qualified for these positions and they wish me all the best for further applications.

Addendum September 30: Oh, and I almost forgot that I applied at the TU Braunschweig -- no comment until today, but their website lists the invited talks to be given by August 26 and 27 this year (i.e., one month ago). Thank you very much for not informing me!

No comments: