I applied for an permanent lecturer position in the UK and received an answer of the type "we regret to inform you...". My question is, should I call the university and ask more details about the selection procedure such as how many candidates were shortlisted, what was my overall ranking among the candidates, etc., or is there a typical number of candidates (e.g. 2-3? 9-10?) that are called for an interview?

I am asking because I guess this would give an idea about my relative qualifications and whether it is worth applying in a "similar" opportunity, or to stop applying for this level and aim lower for the time being, at least until I improve my cv.

  • 1
    Well, was it a top middle or low ranking University? Were they focused on reaching over teaching etc.. It might be that you are applying for top Universities and your C.V. is not strong enough. I know someone who had to apply for a "up and coming" University, in order to build their C.V. after getting rejected from the higher universities.
    – Phorce
    Apr 1, 2015 at 7:38
  • It never hurts to ask Apr 1, 2015 at 7:45
  • A middle-tier university for the computer science domain, as far as I could tell; my point of reference is this theguardian.com/education/ng-interactive/2014/jun/03/…. I could not tell the focus because in the job specification was stating that the duties included both research and teaching. I would guess my CV is adequate because I saw in their site that there are lecturers in the university with more and with less publications than mine.
    – george
    Apr 1, 2015 at 7:45
  • I should say that the title of your question does not really match the body. The title sounds like you are looking for data, the body asks whether it is appropriate to ask the people at the university you applied for.
    – xLeitix
    Apr 1, 2015 at 8:03
  • Ok, I just rephrased the question title, thanks xLeitix
    – george
    Apr 1, 2015 at 8:12

2 Answers 2


You can call and ask, but you are unlikely to get anything useful. You will most likely hear that your CV was very good, but that there were stronger applicants. If the head of the search is really good, they might actually look at your CV again and pick a weaker aspect of it (no matter how strong a applicant is, there is always a weaker aspect of the CV).

If you want to know about your relative qualifications, ask whoever is writing your references. If they do not know about the UK system, find a colleague that does and ask them.

  • @george yes, those people or anyone else who knows your work well and you respect.
    – StrongBad
    Apr 1, 2015 at 8:29
  • When you say "ask whoever is writing your references", you mean the people that I have declared as references in the CV? I am asking because while I have communicated with them prior to including their contact details in the application, I have not asked them to ask a reference letter: no such thing was asked in the job ads and I figured that the university would contact them over phone or email in case they would like to invite me for an interview. This could be another question, but, since you mentioned it, should I also include reference letters with the application?
    – george
    Apr 1, 2015 at 8:33
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    You should not include reference letters with an application unless they explicitly ask you to do so (which would be unusual). Apr 1, 2015 at 9:27
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    You can always a wait a few months and see who was actually hired and what their qualifications were. Apr 1, 2015 at 14:15

No, don't call.

  • At my school, when we're on a hiring committee we have to go through a training course run by HR. HR tells us that we're not allowed to have this kind of conversation with candidates, and that in this situation we should refer the person to HR. I assume that this is to avoid liability.

  • They have probably received quite a large number of applications. They will not remember yours.

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