When applying to faculty jobs, how much weight is given to your research/teaching statements? Talking with a few folks on admissions committees at Very Good Departments in Big Research Universities, I was told in no uncertain terms that
- your letters get you the interview,
- your talk and individual meetings get you the job,
- nothing else really matters,
where "nothing" includes your research statement, your teaching statement, the content of your publications, or your hairdo. Of course, I am working with a very small sample here. How true is this sentiment? (And if it is true, why keep asking us young folks to write these hackneyed teaching statements that nobody ever reads?) More importantly,
Question: For those who have been on faculty hiring committees, what are the actual criteria you use to invite applicants?
By actual (in bold and italics) I don't mean "what the job posting specifies" or "what the department charter says you're supposed do," but rather "how you actually make these decisions in a meeting right before lunch while preoccupied with a grant proposal due at midnight and the fact that the cafeteria is going to fill up with noisy smelly undergrads if you don't get there soon."