How many interviews does a typical good liberal arts school do at the Joint Mathematical Meetings every year?

Background: I'm on the math job market for the first time this year. For the most part I applied to postdocs, but I also applied to a handful of very good liberal arts places this year, any of which I would prefer to a postdoc. I assume that with my rather short publication list and teaching history I'm a long shot, but I do have a couple interviews lined up. Really I'm just trying to gauge whether I have a nonzero chance at an offer (assuming not, but it will be good practice for a few years down the road).

  • Not that I have any specific experience, but if you get invited to an interview, I am sure you have a shot. They wouldn't bother spending this kind of time on your application if it would be otherwise.
    – xLeitix
    Jan 13, 2014 at 22:12

2 Answers 2


The Employment Center runs for three and a half days with time increments down to 15/20 minutes. So you could physically expect three interviews an hour for about 30 hours for a physical (and totally absurd) upper bound of roughly 100. But from what I have seen going through this Employment Center three times is 30-40 is more realistic and I have seen schools do as few as 15-20. Often they also do phone/Skype interviews with interesting candidates who did not attend the Joint Meetings. This gives you a rough estimate of how long the list you find yourself on is.

You mentioned that you have a short publication list and teaching history. If they are willing to talk to you they have already decided that you are interesting enough to spend their time with you. So be ready to tell them quickly why you are worth more of their time and why you are interested in their school (have an answer for this one). Also do not forget the thank you e-mails afterwards.

  • I know of one department that does get close to 100. Most of the department comes but they only have one or two interviewing any particular candidate. I agree this is an exception. Dec 11, 2015 at 22:54
  • My university used to do around 20. With Zoom interviews we do a similar number; sometimes even lower. Apr 1 at 2:14

I am on the market this year and attended the JMMs in Baltimore. After not tailoring my application whatsoever to liberal art schools (which I don't advise) since my primary goal is a research post-doc position, I had 5 different interviews (TT AP) and 1 post doc interview (which, I understand there were not many post-doc interviews anyway . . . and none at the employment center).

Anyway, most places, (from what I know), have about 40 interviewees they talk to. The goal is to whittle this down to 2-3 candidates that they can invite to on-site interviews (and possibly more if they have more than 1 opening, i.e. they may invite 6 people for on-site interviews).

At the JMMs, these are speed-date interviews. They want to know if they like you as a person and can foresee you spending your entire life at University X.

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