I applied for an tenure-track assistant professor job at my Alma mater but got rejected. One of the professors on the searching committee later told me that I am more qualified for the job than the candidates they finally hired. The reason I got rejected was that another professor, whom I had conflicts with when I was doing my PhD, tried very hard to convince the Dean not to hire me.

I feel so defeated and disappointed by how these kind of politics dictate the entire academia, and how little credits are given to people who are actually qualified for the job. Does anyone have similar experience and do you mind sharing some survival tips?

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    I am very sorry that you did not get the job and believed it was for personal reason. However, I am not sure your question really fits this platform. In any case, my survival tip would be: apply to other positions, again and again. You need to be very generous, quite often, in the applications you send, to get a chance of success: applying to only one place, even if it is your alma mater, was risky to start with.
    – Clément
    Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 10:49
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    You just learned in the worst possible way that, in academia, very many people have a political agenda. Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 12:33
  • I am very sorry about the outcome and hope you will soon experience the good side of this. I was in a similar situation in spring, when my institution (outside top 100 in the world) posted an internal assistant professorship. I was not selected for the interview, and the candidate who got the post has been a postdoc 6 years (with no journal publication as a first author in this period). Fast forward a few month, i decided to start applying to other institutions and my first application was successful, resulting in a much better job offer at a university in the top 10. If your institution doesn
    – Diamar161
    Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 9:57

1 Answer 1


There is probably no effective way to fight such things as an applicant. Once employed you can strive to create a better environment for the future. But, at the moment you have no lever to pull to change that institution. Apply elsewhere.

And, even if you did get a job there it would probably be a poor place for you to develop a career, having a more senior "colleague" who hates you for whatever reason.

But faculty in some institutions develop factions, as I've seen, with constant bickering. Some of it (also seen) is anti-Semitism, and such things seem to go away slowly if at all. Students are advised not to get in the middle of such things, but it is harder for a new faculty member not to be affected by it.

Find a better place. Work to make it even better.

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