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I received notification that I wasn't select for the final round, but they encourage me to apply next time when the application is open.

So I of course, out of curiosity ask when will be the next time. I got the following reply

Thanks for your reply,

This position is always open.

Best regards,

I m in shock, what this implicate and how should I respond? Should I immediately resubmit the application? Or ask on how to proceed? what would you do? What is appropriate to reply? Why would they have always open position? Isn't that weird?

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    Is there anything unusual about the institution? For a traditional four-year college or university, this response would make no sense, and I would simply ignore it. You can apply again if you see a new opening posted, not otherwise. Encouragement to reapply is just a courtesy and should also be ignored; it doesn't imply anything about how seriously they would consider your application. – Nate Eldredge Jun 14 '18 at 16:28
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    Hmmm.. if this is tenure track then it is a very unusual email. I would recommend ignoring it for now, as @NateEldredge says. – Dawn Jun 14 '18 at 16:53
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    I guess it's possible that their policy is: applications are always open, if they have an opening they'll consider the application for the current opening, and if they get a really exceptional application they'll consider creating a position. But since they've rejected you once then presumably they do not consider you to be in that last category. – Nate Eldredge Jun 14 '18 at 17:46
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    I wouldn't reapply until there is a substantial change to your CV--completion of a degree, published paper, award, etc. – mkennedy Jun 14 '18 at 21:06
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    Bluntly, once you've been rejected, the university has no particular incentive to spend any more time communicating with you. So you get curt responses like this, if any. At this point, it's not really a high priority for anyone to write you a detailed explanation of their search procedures. – Nate Eldredge Jun 15 '18 at 4:53
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This is indeed unusual. For tenure-track positions at traditional universities in the US, a normal search proceeds on a specific timeline, from application deadline through interviews and leading up to the new hire's start date, usually the beginning of an academic year. Once a position is filled, no further applications are accepted until there is a new opening and a sufficiently high administrator has given permission to begin a new search.

So in this normal situation, if you have been rejected, there is no point in reapplying until a new opening is posted, and typically that would be the next year at earliest. (And there's no particular guarantee that the same department will have any openings at all the next year.) So if you still want to apply to this employer, you have to wait a year; otherwise, consider it a loss and focus on other opportunities.

Given all this, the only way that this reply makes sense to me is if the university has a policy that applications will technically always be accepted. That way if an extremely strong candidate decides to apply out of the blue, even if no opening currently exists, the university can consider creating a brand-new position just for them. (For a major research university, "extremely strong" probably means something like "Nobel laureate".) If you were such a candidate, you'd probably know. But otherwise, this is of no practical value, and I suggest you continue to follow my previous advice and consider it a loss. (And if you've already been rejected in one search, without even reaching the final round, then it seems clear they don't consider you "extremely strong", sorry to say.)

It's also possible that whoever replied to you is just confused. In that case, too, I think you should fall back to the above and consider it a loss.

In either case there is not much point in responding to the message at all.

Also note that any phrase like "we encourage you to apply next time the position is open" should not be taken literally. It's a mere courtesy which they surely write to everybody who is rejected. It does not necessarily indicate that they really want to hire you.

Emory's suggestion of "apply once a week" is unwise, in my view. This would be very annoying to the search committee, and make you look rather crazy. It would probably torpedo all hope of ever getting hired by that department.

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  • thank you for the reply, I need to apologize for confusing you, the position was not offered by the department, rather intra-institutional body. Due to interdisciplinary nature, it can be described as a graduate school research institute, 80% research duty 20% teaching. Is it possible that they don't have any candidate in the final decision? call was referring to highly interdisciplinary field. – SSimon Jun 15 '18 at 5:22
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While it's possible someone could re-apply to the same position and get an offer, that is unlikely without a major change by either the employer/department or the candidate.

A major change by the candidate could include an award, more published papers, completion of a degree, grant procurement, or a much better reference.

A major change by the employer could include a revision of the requirements possibly due to finding no one appropriate with the earlier requirements, or the loss of different employee that puts more pressure to hire, or a change to available funding.

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  • is it possible that they didn't chose anyone for final round? – SSimon Jun 16 '18 at 1:29

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