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I applied for a faculty position last year and did a video interview, but got rejected (for some unknown reason because they asked some routine questions). However, they did not hire anyone eventually and have opened the position with a bit difference and description this year.

Do you think that I should apply again given that they reviewed my case last year and did not give me a virtual campus interview (the campus interview, based on what I heard, was conducted virtually due to COVID-19)?

Or, do you think that I should approach the search committee chair and ask if they recommend me to apply again? What I am saying is that it will be a waste of time on both sides if their concern about my application was serious last year.

P.S. One of my friends applied to the same place twice, got an interview twice, and got rejected twice!

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    I know one faculty member who was hired on the third try at the same institution.
    – Bob Brown
    Sep 26 '20 at 17:29
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    Michael Foale was accepted to NASA as an astronaut on his third try after being turned down the first two times he applied.
    – Dan Romik
    Sep 27 '20 at 2:56
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I would suggest that it would be worth re-applying only if something substantial and important has changed. The change could be with you, or it could be with the university.

You say that the job description is not the same as previously. That is a change, but I can't say that it is a sufficient change. Presumably the place has pretty high standards and a lot of applications.

It could also be that the recent emphasis in online education has made you a better fit. Or a possible drop in the number of likely applicants for the new position relative to the previous announcement.

But the change could also be with you. Have you improved your CV since the previous application? Have you gotten an important new advocate to write letters for you?

Maybe both things have changed enough for you to be a better fit now. But if not, it is unlikely to be any more successful in this cycle.

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  • Well, I have published more papers and got a few more proposals accepted. But, I think the main concern was about my PhD institution (just my impression). Otherwise, I am sure I was in their top 1% candidates in terms of publications and fundings, ... This is so pitty that they are such picky about my PhD institution given that I got it 10 years ago and attended a few of the top 5 universities for a postdoc and have a few years of experience as a tenure-track faculty
    – Adam
    Sep 26 '20 at 17:48
  • This seems like a positive change.
    – Buffy
    Sep 26 '20 at 18:40
  • A couple more possibilities for "substantial and important" things that might have changed at the university: the quality, not just the quantity, of the other applicants might be different this time; and the existing faculty members might have spent several more months dealing with the extra workload associated with being short-handed, and therefore might be finding leaving the position vacant a less attractive option. Sep 27 '20 at 14:38
  • The only changes I see are that they have assigned a different committee chair (he himself was a member of the search committee last year, but not the chair) and also they have expanded the expertise.
    – Adam
    Sep 27 '20 at 17:07

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