Job ads for senior executive positions in university always state Call for Nomination and Application.

Contrary to nomination for awards, the nominator cannot actually nominate the nominee, but just a useless introduction. The nominee should personally apply for the position. By the nomination, just the committee secretary asks the nominee to submit an application. Even without nomination, they normally send the call to many potential candidates to apply if they are interested.

My question is who should nominate who?

  1. Nominator is a friend of nominee. Then, why he does not encourage his friend to apply by direct contacting him instead of the search committee to ask my friend to apply.

  2. Nominator knows nominee from distance. First, why no contacting him directly. Second, why nominating someone qualified when we do not sure if he plans to leave his current job.

In general, I am curious if this nomination system has any effect on the recruitment process? If I think someone that I know is suitable for a position, I will inform him about the vacancy and encourage him to apply. Why should I ask the search committee to ask him to apply.

One may say that people are more interested to apply when they are invited, but we know that this is not a real invitation, as they invite anyone to apply, since the applications are reviewed together. Note that these jobs are not based on "nomination only".


In most cases, the job advertisement has a title of call for nominations and application, but in any case, there is an instruction for nomination along with application. Normally, nominations are accepted via email, while applications should be submitted online.

Dean, University of Virginia Chancellor, University of Missouri System President, Oakland University President, University of Illinois President, Southern Illinois University

  • 1
    I don't think this situation is as universal as you say. Can you link to an example?
    – Bill Barth
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 1:56
  • @BillBarth it was the common procedure for almost all job ads for senior positions in the US university I have ever seen. I simply searched and added a few examples to the question.
    – user13854
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 22:42
  • 2
    Although I have no direct experience, I would imagine it comes from two factors, 1) a holdover from past practices in which executive selections were more democratic, 2) although all nominees might be invited to apply, the names and reputations of the nominators could still carry weight with the search committee.
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 21:58

1 Answer 1


The potential candidates for this kind of high-level positions typically are people that already have a very busy job, and they do not actively search for jobs. It may be that the hiring process is more of the head hunting type rather than the advertisers passively waiting to get many applications and then filtering them. Of course, direct applications are allowed for the sake of openness and for not limiting unnecessarily the pool of candidates, but it may be the case that the ideal candidates would not apply uninvited. The search committee may not be aware of all the qualified people that might be interested of or suitable for the advertised position, so nominations are useful for them in order to bring new potential candidates to their attention. Once they spot a candidate, they may make them an attractive offer that is customized to the candidate. In the case that the nominator knows nominee from a distance, a direct hint by the nominator may not even attract the interest of the nominee to apply, while if the search committee finds the nominee interesting they may actively try to convince the nominee to apply through more elaborate methods than, e.g., a simple email that may not attract the attention of a very busy person.

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