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I have been applying to dozens of tenure track positions with preferred dates in Nov and Dec, but I still have not heard back from any, which is very worrying. I have been able to gauge the timelines for other disciplines from online Excel sheets/Reddit, and there seem to be large variations in the timelines, but nothing for math. So I'd like to ask about the timeline for hiring/interviewing for math departments (R1), specifically:

  1. Do math departments often do phone interviews? If so, when does this happen after the job deadline/preferred application dates ("full consideration")?

  2. Do you have any specific stats from this year that you could share? I know of two R1 schools that have already finished interviews and started making offers. They both have early deadlines in early Nov.

Thanks!

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    I never heard of R1 math departments conducting phone job interviews. Commented Jan 24 at 19:47
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    @MoisheKohan I know of some that used to. I'm not sure it's really a thing now with the wide adoption of video chat software in academia at this point. Commented Jan 24 at 20:56
  • @CameronWilliams: Interesting. Were these really research oriented math departments? Did they use phone interviews for tenure track or postdoctoral positions? Commented Jan 24 at 21:27
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    @MoisheKohan: Phone interviews (now video calls, mostly) for faculty positions would be an intermediary step between screening of written applications and invitations to speak on campus. Is your experience that there is a different process than written -> phone -> in-person?
    – RLH
    Commented Jan 24 at 23:23
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    Huh, that's odd. In CS, typically short 30 minute zoom calls are usually used to help filter the top 8-15 candidates to the 3-5 to invite to campus interviews. Does that mean in math you get a ton of "unserious" candidates in campus interviews that looked good on paper but are terrible in person? It seems like a waste of flight money tbh.
    – MegaZeroX
    Commented Jan 25 at 13:54

2 Answers 2

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I'm surprised if you've heard nothing from any place you've applied. You should ask to see if your application was received and for any available update. They should, at least, have sent a "thanks for applying" note.

I'm not surprised that you haven't seen anything definite near the end of January about acceptance and rejection. In the US there are defined processes to assure fairness to all candidates. They are usually respected. They involve face to face (usually) meetings of faculty, who may have been off on winter break since late December and are, perhaps, just getting back to the office.

The rules might include a requirement to interview more than one applicant if possible. They certainly include a time for consideration for any offers made. And top R1 candidates might have more than one offer, so any given offer might get rejected, delaying the process.

You won't get any decisions until decisions have been made, offers extended and accepted. You might get something when first offers go out if you are still in the mix, but otherwise it isn't especially likely.

The end of the year and the beginning of the next are both busy and with a break in between. Frustrating.

Some interviews might be by Zoom and such, but unlikely by phone.

And yes, early November deadlines implies that there was time in the previous term to have those decision meetings and send out invitations prior to the end of the year. Not so much for December deadlines.

Patience. Don't give up hope. But ask about any updates.


I doubt that this is special to math in any way. It is just the way universities work in the US. People are very unlikely to meet and make important decisions in late December and early January and that is bookended by intense other activity, ending one term and beginning the next.

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    Would probably be helpful to explain first and second round of selection. Ie at my school it is typical to do first round 30 min zoom with 10-30 candidates. Second round flyouts with 3-6 candidates.
    – Dawn
    Commented Jan 24 at 20:54
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    I don't think most universities send "thanks for applying" responses. I've gotten one of those just a few times. There is just too much stuff to wade through for committees to add that on top. Commented Jan 24 at 20:56
  • @CameronWilliams, it probably depends on how much staff support the department has.
    – Buffy
    Commented Jan 24 at 20:57
  • True true! The only times I've gotten those were pretty obviously cooked up by HR. I have gotten rejection emails months later, but even those were few and far between if I didn't personally follow up. Commented Jan 24 at 20:59
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My experience from being on the (US, Math, TT, PhD granting depts) market last year is that anyone who takes applications before the end of last year has sent out Zoom interview invitations by this point. Maybe you can cling to some hope a week into February for the December deadlines, but I wouldn't count on it.

If you don't have your job locked down for the upcoming year, I'd start putting a lot of time into your industry materials, personally. Or I suppose a postdoc, if that's where you are and willing to take another. I was in exactly your same position last year around this time last year, and it seemed wise not to dither starting an industry job search. Ironically, I did end up getting a mid-tier R2/R1 cusp interview in March and eventually took that job. But the app for that closed in either late Jan or early Feb.

Contrary to some other answers, I've not heard of anywhere in math that deviates from App -> Zoom interviews -> In person interviews -> Decisions. A few places that don't have the deepest pockets seem willing to interview international applicants via Zoom for the final stage, but that's it.

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