To what extent is attending the Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM) important when applying for teaching jobs in mathematics, including temporary lecturer positions and faculty roles at liberal arts colleges? This question includes at least two subquestions: first, do employers, especially liberal arts colleges, care about interviews at JMM these days? Second, if they do, can candidates request Zoom interviews instead, and would this put them at a disadvantage?

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I am a professor of mathematics at Denison University, a good liberal arts college in Ohio. I've been on around 10 hiring committees. Based on my experiences (detailed below), my impression is that nowadays a candidate would not be harmed (in terms of their chances of getting a great job) by skipping the JMM employment center.

When I was hired in 2014, there was an interview at JMM, followed by an on-campus interview. Back then, I think it would have been a handicap to not attend the JMM.

In 2015, the first hiring committee I served on also had interviews at JMM. We interviewed about 20 people there, then brought three to campus. I learned that the cost of the Employment Center is rather large, and I got a sense of how much it costs for the university to send a delegation for the week to the JMM to do these interviews. Fortunately, Denison has lots of money, but I got the feeling the administration would have been happier if we could have cut costs a bit here.

In 2017, the department hired a visiting assistant professor on a three-year contract and did not use JMM for this. The same thing happened in 2019. The job market keeps getting tighter and tighter, and we get hundreds of applications even for a VAP position, so JMM is not required in order to hire a great person.

In 2019, I had some friends at a strong liberal arts college running a search for a tenure track position and their search did not involve JMM, but rather something like Google video chat interviews. I knew of other good liberal arts colleges in that year who did interview of JMM but also allowed candidates to interview via video chat, and didn't bias against the latter.

In 2020, we all learned how to use Zoom. That fall, we did Zoom interviews as part of hiring in computer science and it went very well.

In 2021 we again hired a VAP and used Zoom to narrow the applicant pool to the "on campus" choices. Meanwhile, friends at an R1 university told me they were doing all interviews remotely.

In the 2022-2023 year, we hired two tenure track professors, and did not go to JMM. We used Zoom to get down to the "on campus" choices.

In 2023, we hired a VAP and again used Zoom to get down to the "on campus" choices.

My sense these days is that there's much less pressure for candidates or universities to do interviews at JMM. Most universities and colleges are happy to do Zoom interviews, as this saves a lot of money and time (e.g., transit time of the hiring committee to the conference). Additionally, many good liberal arts colleges are more aware now of issues of inclusivity and equity and are leery of requiring candidates to be at some specific conference on some specific date, as many great candidates cannot afford such a trip, or cannot spare time from family obligations during the winter break.

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