I recently interviewed on campus for a position and am in waiting period limbo. Two members of the search committee, including the chair, follow me on Twitter and have been liking/retweeting me since my campus visit. Obviously I’m trying to read tea leaves, as any nervous candidate would, but also - what are broader thoughts about this? Seems like a no-no; could it sink a search? Does it count as contact outside of process?
If they are liking and retweeting, presumably they like what you wrote and this by itself will not sink your candidacy.
As a former member of many search committees, I find it very unprofessional of them. You don't mess with people's hopes, especially something as important as a faculty job. They could at least have waited until they offered you the job, or the search was over.
This is not a popular view, but in social media I only see downsides and no upside. Having a public archive of every stupid opinion I've had has no appeal to me. If I were looking for a job, I'd take down all social media.
No, I wouldn't consider these interactions as meaning anything or in some way invalidating the process. Sometimes people do not even care who the person who writes the tweet is, but only retweet for the content.
But I understand your position, and that you are trying to read between the lines and predict the outcome.
Two members of the search committee, including the chair, follow me on Twitter and have been liking/retweeting me since my campus visit
If they followed you before the interview, they need not stop following you. As someone that has been in Recruitment & Selection committees (search committee as referred to here), I'll pause activities on your SM posts till after the process. At best, I'll be hesitant to 'engage'
If not following (you) before (before the interview), definitely I'll only start following and engaging after the process wraps up. Even at that, I'll keep engagement on your posts professionally on academic contents only.
This is from a ethics, integrity, morality standpoint. Sadly, this is not universal.
They should give thought to
- how you'll feel and also position they would put you in
- what other candidates might feel should they know or find out about your candidacy
In some countries, all shortlisted candidates are made known to all shortlisted candidates or are made known on request
- possibility of opening themselves up to 'complaint' or 'dispute' or even 'litigation' from unsuccessful candidates (which might even be yourself)
- (risk of) jeopardising the hiring (recruitment) process
With those said,
Does it count as contact outside of process?
Mere liking and retweeting wouldn't in the true sense.
However, they should tread on the path of caution.