I recently submitted applications for tenure track positions to several US universities via their online job systems (https://jobs.xxx.edu/).

Last week I got a feedback from one of the schools that my application would no longer be considered. However, a week later, the status of my application on the portal is still "under review".

This raises a question for me: after the department has decided to reject the application, how soon is the status in the online system updated?

I want to know that because I have not received a feedback from the other schools I applied, and am wondering if it's possible that the department has already decided to reject but the portal was not updated?

  • 3
    Sometimes you just don't get a reply. Ever. Either a bug in the system or the search committee forgets to close the search on the jobs site.
    – mankoff
    Mar 20, 2014 at 19:04
  • 2
    +1 to @mankoff. Also several univs have their HR set up the web forms for tenure track jobs. There ends up being a disconnect between search committee and HR and the latter ends up not updating information on a regular basis (or ever).
    – dearN
    Mar 20, 2014 at 19:53
  • Indeed, I don't think this question has any general answer except "whenever they get around to it". Mar 21, 2014 at 12:24

1 Answer 1


Academic jobs are a nightmare from the HR perspective. While the posting might be on the jobs portal, the files themselves initially go to the hiring department which comes up with a long and then medium list that they then do some preliminary screening before ending up with a short list for on-site interviews. This can take several months.

The search committee then comes up with a ranked list with some candidates "above the line" and some "below the line" that the department votes on. This list -- which may have one, two, or three people that the department thinks are hireable (or in some cases, none, if the search fails). This list then goes to the provost, equal opportunity, and numerous other sundry university committees before getting approved (or not) and sent back down the line. This can take several more months.

So we are now 4-6 (or 6-8) months into the search. The search can have several results:

  1. A single finalist who is contacted. Maybe they dawdle for a couple of weeks in giving a reply. If they decide not to take the job, then the search is failed. The department may or may not be authorized to search again next year and if they are, the search remains open.
  2. Two finalists. The first accepts (or not). If the first doesn't, the second is given a chance. If both decline, then it's a failed search.
  3. No finalists. Failed search and the slot goes back to the provost's office. It may or may not be returned to the department.
  4. The provost hates all of the finalists and either cancels the slot or forces the department to re-run the search.

In other words, there are many reasons why a job posting might still remain open even one or two years after the initial posting. Departments are hesitant to finally close files unless they are absolutely positive that they are never, ever getting that slot back again -- or that the person who accepted the offer really is going to show up on August 1st.

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