I finished my Ph.D. two years ago and currently doing a Postdoc. I am now applying for faculty positions at the rank of Assistant professor. With my publications and research record, I believe I would be considered for Assistant professor positions.

I saw a call for a faculty position at the rank of an Associate professor or a Professor in a field closely related to my research. The wording on the application is for a senior professor (i.e., evidence of an established research group with external funding).

I am considering applying. My questions are:

1- Would search committees consider junior researchers for Assistant professor positions, in the case of no suitable senior applicants, instead of the posted more senior positions?

2- Are there any negatives to applying? For example, is it possible that I won't be considered for future positions?

3- I assume the worst thing that could happen is my application not being considered, which I am fine with since it is a long shot. Is my assumption correct?

I would appreciate comments from members with experience in search committees!

1 Answer 1


Before making a formal application, I suggest that you ask them whether they would accept an application for a junior position. Their rules might permit or forbid it. In the US, however, faculty job advertisements need to be honest so that the field is open to all qualified candidates.

But an informal ask would be appropriate. If you let them know of your qualifications as well as your interest it might be possible that they issue another advertisement that would apply to you.

But if they don't get enough potentially qualified applicants for the ad as stated, they might feel the need to do that anyway.

My best guess, though, is that you won't be successful unless, perchance, you have a lot of funding you can bring with you. That, and the ability to provide leadership sounds like their main need. Good luck, though.

Anecdote. I know of one case from long ago where an R1 university wanted to hire one of its postdocs to a permanent position. So, they wrote a nationally published, highly tailored, ad that actually described this person with just about every characteristic he had except his name - very specific requirements. They got (IIRC) four applications out of many that were an arguably better fit than the desired person. He got the job (and prospered), but it surprised everyone involved.

  • 3
    I think HR will screen the application out before the committee even sees it, since it does not meet the posted requirement. Should the department want to repost with looser requirements that would be up to them.
    – Jon Custer
    Aug 31, 2022 at 21:01

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