The recruitment process for tenured positions may differ from the process for tenure-track positions in subtle ways. Although the advertising for tenured positions frequently mirrors the advertising for tenure-track positions, it is also common for a department to formulate a list of the leading candidates, based on its view of who is doing the most interesting and important research in that particular subfield, and to ask those on the list directly if they are interested in applying.
Once a potential applicant is aware of a position, this individual may or may not choose to apply. In making this decision, a potential applicant may receive advice from many people, including the person’s mentor, department chair, peers, faculty at various institutions, family members, or spouse. A variety of factors may be taken into account in determining whether to apply. These include expectations about the desirability of the position (salary and benefits, prestige of the department, facilities, or workload); the location; and whether a spouse’s or other family member’s needs will be met. An important factor may also include the encouragement (or lack thereof) that potential applicants receive from the faculty members that they consult, particularly their dissertation or postdoctoral supervisors.
Once applications arrive, decision making reverts to the institution, typically through an appointed search committee. At this point, the search committee ranks the applicants and determines whom to invite to campus for interviews or for preliminary interviews at professional society meetings. Search committees also consider a variety of factors in determining who they feel are the best candidates, including expectations of future productivity (e.g., research and grants received), ability to meet teaching needs, and perceptions of fit. “Fit” is perhaps the most subjective criterion. It is usually thought of as how well a particular candidate’s area of expertise or methodological approach works with the department’s current needs or vision for its future strengths and mission. However, it can also focus attention on a candidate’s demographic background or personality. Different search committees weigh these factors differently. Top candidates are invited to interview, which usually includes giving a talk about their research. This gives the search committee extra information on a few candidates. At the end of this process, often—but not always—an offer is made to a candidate.
The final decision is made by the candidate whether or not to accept the offer. Again, the candidate weighs many factors in making this decision. These include the benefits of the position, other employment opportunities, and the