I figure someone on here is involved in hiring in academia, so here we go.

A few years ago I left university work for private industry, and have since decided I hate it. I'm looking at moving back into a university. To that end, I found a job at a local school and applied 1.5 weeks ago. The job is now off the website.

I just found the managing director of the program on LinkedIn, and it's very tempting to follow up with him. In private industry this would be fine, but I'm not sure how this would work for a university. Would it be acceptable, or should I just keep refreshing my application on the university website? What is the appropriate process for following up on a job application in academia ?

  • What kind of job did you apply for? And what part of the world are you in? – Nate Eldredge Jul 17 '14 at 4:37
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    Staff position, US. – ransom Jul 17 '14 at 4:45
  • Ok, thanks for clarifying. I was getting ready to write a detailed answer regarding faculty hiring, which would have been totally irrelevant. – Nate Eldredge Jul 17 '14 at 5:30

Note: I'm assuming this is for a regular staff or research staff (lab tech/manager but not post-doc) position. I'm also going to assume you're in the USA.

We just ran a search for a staff position in my program at my large research university. The union rules for my university specify that we can must first open the search for internal candidates before allowing externals to apply. If there is an internal candidate, they get priority before any externals can be considered.

  • Internal candidate: Someone already with a position in the university staffing pools looking to transfer jobs or someone in the university layoff pool
  • External candidate: Someone who does not have a job with the university and was not laid off from the university in the last 180 (or so, union rules are byzantine) days

Although we had some good external candidates, we essentially could not consider them as we also had good internal candidates. Contacting the lab manager or program head (in my case) about the search via non-HR approved means would not have been productive.

You might as well try (what are they going to do, fire you?) but be prepared to be turned down or have your e-mail ignored as university hiring tends to be done strictly by the books in most American universities.

  • Yep, it's a staff position. I never did much hiring when I worked for a university before, so I couldn't remember all of the rules. I was just worried about contacting on something like linkedin, even just to ask about how the hiring process was going, would reflect badly on me. – ransom Jul 17 '14 at 4:45
  • If it were me, I'd note your enthusiasm but the fact you weren't contacted indicates to me that the position was filled internally. Usually we don't send the Dear John/Dear Jane letters until the new staffer takes up the position, so it can be up to a month for you negative responses to get sent out. – RoboKaren Jul 17 '14 at 4:52
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    And don't use linkedin, just send a regular e-mail to the campus e-mail address of the head of the search or hr rep. – RoboKaren Jul 17 '14 at 4:53
  • It's only been a week since the position was removed from the site. I was hoping I wasn't completely out of the running. – ransom Jul 17 '14 at 5:01

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