How do faculty search committees evaluate candidates for faculty or post-doc positions?

I am a PhD student I found that there is no fixed algorithm to judge a journal. But candidates publish in various journals in their PhD.

How will a researcher know where to publish his PhD so that he can get a Post-Doc or faculty position?

If a candidate does not understand which journal is good/average/bad,how will one decide where to publish?

This question is somewhat related to How are journals evaluated?

NOTE:I am in search of a journal for my first ever manuscript.So I am asking a lot of questions,sorry for that

  • 3
    The candidate should discuss with their advisor an appropriate journal to submit to. Aim too high and you will waste time getting a rejection before submitting to another journal. Aiming too low is somewhat harder to do, as long as predatory publishers are avoided. First papers (or any one paper) do not determine a hire, period. Consider the journals that you are citing articles from. Which is most appropriate?
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 22, 2019 at 15:29

2 Answers 2


As you say, there is no algorithm. It is largely a judgement call, made individually and then collectively by a group of people. But they will look at a lot of things, not just your publication record. Don't neglect that.

The "standards" will be different for a post-doc and for a regular position. A post-doc will only be around, perhaps, for a couple of years but a regular faculty member likely much longer. So for a post-doc the actual research activity and potential isn't balanced by other considerations and becomes more important (paradoxically, perhaps). Some post-docs are later awarded regular positions, but that is because people have had a longer and better chance to evaluate you.

But if you are in the running for a regular position the evaluators will want to know a number of other things about you, beyond your research and research potential. What is your fitness/match for the particular position. How will you "fit" into the department? Can you be a future collaborator? Are you too arrogant? Too humble? Can you teach? Can you advise students? Do you seem to have more ideas than one person could reasonably develop themselves? Lots of things, depending on the position.

I've seen one case of a brilliant researcher not get a bid because she just wouldn't fit into the department or be accessible to its students. She was judged too good for us, even though it was a (very) top US program.

On the other hand, another person got a bid, precisely because it was felt she would be a good collaborator for one of the junior faculty, enhancing both people as well as the department.

Don't ignore your research and publication venues, of course, but be aware that you need more and should do some things to develop in multiple dimensions.

  • So what is the criteria to evaluate a person for a post-doc
    – Learnmore
    Mar 22, 2019 at 16:41
  • Probably similar, but with a bit more emphasis on the record. Of course, if the post-doc is for a particular lab, then the PI gets to make the call. It would depend on their suitability for the work at hand, more than for the long term (usually).
    – Buffy
    Mar 22, 2019 at 17:02

Belive it or not, search committees actually read/skim your articles (not all of them, but some of them) and judge the work and not where it was published. I try and look at least one publication in a specialist journal from each position the candidate had and one or two articles from journals with a broader readership (aka high impact) if there are any. I never, and do not know anyone that does, try and rank papers/journals and pit one candidate's publication history against another. It is a much more holistic process than that.

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