Recently I was offered an assistant professor position at a major R1 university. My problem is that I need to stay one more year in my home country due to Fulbright 2-year home residency requirement. I will apply for a waiver but just in case I'd like to negotiate the possibility of one year later start date. The department head is aware that there might be some delays due to legal issues, but I did not want to bring these procedures before signing the contract. It is my dream job at my dream college and I can be of a good asset to the department. How do you think I should approach negotiating and communicating this situation in a respective manner? Thanks!
Well, as a department head, I would be slightly annoyed that (i) you applied for a position you knew you couldn't take, and (ii) you didn't mention this earlier.
But it is what it is: You have no other option than coming clean, and so being honest should be your first priority. The people you're going to talk to are going to be your future colleagues and you will rely on their good will for the next many years. So playing games is not a useful strategy and all you can do is be forthcoming in explaining your situation, and ask whether there is a way to delay your starting date by one year. There is really no negotiating in this case: You need the department to agree to your demands, because if they don't you have a contract you can't keep (because you can't show up in person) and will likely lose your job. In other words, you're completely at the mercy of the department, and that's how you should treat it: With honesty and humility.