I had an on-campus interview for a tenure track assistant professor position in mathematics about 4 weeks ago. The interview seemed to go well, I felt I was well-received. I was told at the end of the interview that they had more interviews scheduled over "the next couple of weeks" and would then begin to make offers.

I interpreted this as two more weeks of interviews, meaning it's been two weeks since interviews have likely finished now. I have no idea how long it takes to prepare offers or when it is reasonable to ask for an update.

Not sure if it's relevant, but I am currently a Ph.D. student in mathematics, defending this semester, and have an unusually diverse teaching background (for a Ph.D. student anyway). This is a teaching-focused institution. I'm sure my competition is probably more experienced (not likely soon-to-be Ph.D.s like me, but rather people who have had post-doc experiences, etc.)

Is it reasonable to ask about the status of the search?

3 Answers 3


While it is reasonable to ask, you should decide why you want to. If you have other options at the moment and are reaching the decision point you may need the information you might get. But if you are just wanting to calm your fears, then you really don't.

I doubt that you will get much information from a request unless one of a very small set of circumstances prevails. (Just got an acceptance, just about to make you an offer, ...). Otherwise you probably just get a form letter back: Thanks for your interest, process ongoing, ....

It is what it is. If they are at the stage of making offers, then they have probably prioritized the list of top choices. You won't learn whether you are on that list by asking, but if it goes on much longer you will learn one way or another. Most places will tell you soon after a final rejection, however, so you can assume, at least, that you still have a chance.

But if it is just to calm your nerves, I'd suggest patience and other calming exercises.

  • Yes, I suppose you're right. It would just be to calm my nerves - this job hunt is very stressful. I guess I should just focus on finishing the final edits on the dissertation... any chance you have any advice on how to not stress about this? I've found the whole job market in math has just increased the imposter syndrome...
    – mathkb8
    Mar 2, 2019 at 22:37

It's possible that they simply haven't yet finalized their ranking, gotten approval, and made the first offer. It seems more likely or that they have done so and you weren't their first choice. You can certainly ask what the status of the search is, and they'll probably tell you whether or not an offer has been made, but don't expect to be told who has been made an offer or whether you're still in consideration.

If you are still under consideration and everyone ahead of you on the list turns down their offers, then you might get an offer later.

  • Actually, they may not be allowed to even tell you that an offer has been made.
    – Buffy
    Feb 27, 2019 at 13:26
  • Thank you - I think I will wait to ask, until I have another offer (fingers crossed). I certainly hope they will at least let me know I don't have an offer if someone else accepts. Seems like many positions just like to ghost candidates though..
    – mathkb8
    Mar 2, 2019 at 22:38

Yeah, sure. In addition to the info, it keeps your name top of mind and/or gives them a chance for additional discussion.

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