Friday, October 5, 2012

Job wiki: like Crackbook but more demoralizing

I assume most of you on the job market already know about the Physical Anthropology Job Wiki, no? It's a place where OCD is stoked into a frenzy, hope goes to die, and envy reigns supreme. In other words, it is AWESOME.

I am posting this not only for the job seekers but also for senior faculty and search committees. You need to know how the process is perceived, and perhaps offer your (anonymous) insight to calm down the people who are freaking out. The vague job descriptions, maddening online application systems, the bazillion documents all saying sort of the same thing but not quite, the mystery of the name of the person "to whom it may concern" - all these things freak people out and they give vent to it in the Wiki (and perhaps more constructively here and here).  And perhaps most nerve-wracking of all, consider how it makes job seekers feel to never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever hear from you. Especially if they were invited for an interview. Because shockingly often, it does come to pass that some lucky applicant makes it to the short list and pours their heart and soul, and countless cups of coffee, into prepping their talk and their answers to whatever questions you might ask them - and then NEVER HEARS ANOTHER WORD (except on the Wiki where they learn someone else got the job). Maybe the interview went well, maybe it sucked, but in either case, it's been an enormous investment and a little thank you for showing up helps soften the blow of not getting the job. The lesson for search committees is that news travels ever faster in this hyper-connected world which has some impact on shaping new cultural norms of engagement.

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