I attended an interview last week for an asst prof position in math in a university in the UK that is much lower ranked than the universities where I did my PhD and postdocs, for instance, my PhD university is one of the top 20 worldwide whereas this university is ranked in the 300-350 bracket. The university is in the city where my girlfriend works hence why I decided to at least apply for the job but I am in no way going to jeopardise my career just to live in the same city as my gf if I decide this is position is not a good move.
Do you think that if I was offered the position I could negotiate a better contract? For example, if I was to request that instead of coming it at the very bottom of asst prof scale, I come in several ranks higher?
I would be in the running for asst profs jobs in much higher ranked institutions, or I could make alot more money by going to industry which many of former PhD colleagues have done - so from my perpsective if I am to sacrifice positions at better institutions/higher salaries there would have to be some compensation. This is a very big sacrifice since, as far as I understand it, you can step down in the university rankings as much as you want to take a job but you won't be stepping back up..and I imagine it will be much harder to apply for and get funding, etc. coming from a much lower ranked place.
So do you think it is possible to obtain a better contract or is the academic hiring system so rigid in general that there is no room for manoeuvre here and I would be forced to come in at the bottom rung of the ladder?