Recently I had a conversation with a very well known scientist in my working field about the most important indicators to get a tenured academic position. This person is 80 years old and has been a member of selection committees several times during his career. During our conversation I told to him my opinion that I think that the ''research quality'' must be the most important indicator on being selected for a tenure position. After I told him my opinion he commented like this: ''yes I agree with you that it should be like that but at the end the committee mostly looks at the number of papers and the number of citations''.
The response of this scientist surprised me a lot since when I read similar topics on internet about these issues it is always concluded that the research quality is the most important factor. I also had a similar conversation with another scientist and she confirmed to me the same as the person which initially spoke with. Based on these two my experiences I have the following question:
Is the commonly said statement that ''quality is the most important factor on being selected for a tenured academic position'' only superficial?