The data collected using "Applicant Confidential Data Form" will be used by US-based universities to monitor University’s Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Programs as required by the US government.

I have seen that in (some) cases, faculty job applicant seeking academic job in US-based universities are asked to submit this form after they successfully submitted their initial application. The point is that, typically there is no instruction in "call for faculty member note" to fill this form and submit along with application. But the faculty search committee asks after while.

So it raises a question:

Do the faculty search committee sends this form to ALL the applicants or particular applicants who are allegedly suitable for the job. Is receiving this notification from the committee can be considered a positive sign in recruitment process?

3 Answers 3


I've received this form from hundreds of employers that later rejected me. I think schools that use it will send it to every applicant. So it doesn't mean anything except that your application was received.

I believe the reason for it being a separate form, rather than part of the application, is that it's meant to be for statistical purposes only, and should not affect the hiring procedure. The best way to achieve this is to ensure that the hiring committee never sees it. So they send a separate form, to be returned to a separate office within the institution, which holds it confidential.

  • The university EEO (equal opportunity office) wants to protect its ass(ets) in case it is sued. They can protect themselves by showing that the search was run fairly (equal numbers of men and women applied, no ethnic or racial categories were over represented,etc.). Since they should theoretically have no way to tell who filed a postcard or not, it is up to you whether to return it or not.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 22:22

I would not read anything into such a form as this. In many cases, the university may require it, but the department doesn't mention it, or only sends it out afterwards. However, the nature of the form is not one that it should only be given out to "suitable" candidates; it's something that everybody who applies could be asked to fill out. So it is unlikely that this means anything, either positive or negative.


Having received these cards from many of the same institutions at Nate I speak from a lot of the same experience. There is a point I want to amplify from his answer though. In the US it is actually illegal for this information to influence the hiring process officially (there is lots of reason to suspect that unofficial ways of using this information still have an effect). But this means that the information, if collected, must not go to the hiring committee or anywhere near it. Some electronic application systems can handle keeping this information separate, but those that can't have to be supplemented with physical cards. Institutions that still allow paper applications also must be supplemented.

The offices which send out and handle these cards are charged with making sure that the institution as a whole is being a Equal Opportunity Employer and complying whatever Affirmative Action requirements they are under. Once you start considering why paperwork related to legal compliance is the way it is the question gets much larger and won't always have a satisfying answer.

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