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Based on my limited experience in academic job search, most advertisements for academic positions (it seems, more often the faculty ones) include phrase, similar to the following:

To guarantee full consideration, applications must be received by DATE.

I am curious about the strictness of that requirement, in other words, what "full consideration" really implies. The requirement seems to be relative, but to what extent? Moreover, I'd love to hear your advice on best strategy, if any, in terms of applying to positions, where the specified date has already passed, but the position advertisement is still active. Just ignore the requirement and apply? Are there any differences in that regard between faculty positions and postdoctoral positions? Is there anything else that I need to know?

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@kimball is partly right in that applications may also be considered later than the deadline, in particular if you know someone in that department who can speak for you.

On the other hand, many departments start building consensus for candidates even before the deadline. For example, many departments have deadlines in mid-December for full files, but members of the department know many of the candidates and start talking about them to their colleagues long before that. (Between the mid-December deadline and early January, nothing much is going to happen anyway.) If an application appears on the date of the deadline out of the blue, it will be considered, but human nature being what it is, it may be difficult for this applicant to supplant a candidate whose file has already made the rounds within the department and has been found to be a good match.

In other words, while there really is no reason not to send an application after the deadline, my recommendation typically is to (i) send the application well before the deadline, and (ii) tell your friends in that department that you applied there so that they can talk to their colleagues about your files before other candidates become lodged in their heads.

  • I appreciate your helpful answer (+1). Now I have clearer understanding of what "full consideration" actually means. Due to various reasons, I'm just starting to apply (both academia and industry/consulting), so, I guess, getting an academic position for the this/upcoming academic year would be something close to miracle, while for the next one I have plenty of time for the full consideration. – Aleksandr Blekh May 14 '15 at 3:24
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    Correct. Nothing is happening any more for the upcoming (September 2015) year. – Wolfgang Bangerth May 14 '15 at 19:53
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What is usually means is that they will start reviewing applications on or after that date. How much of a disadvantage applying later is will depend on things like (i) how much later, (ii) how fast the department goes through the hiring process, and (iii) how difficult it is to find suitable applicants.

It's generally not as bad to apply late for postdoc positions, since hiring is often more flexible for that. (For tenure-track there are meetings to decide who to interview, etc, so if you apply after these meetings, it's harder to be considered.)

One thing you can do, if there is someone you think will be genuinely interested in your specific application, is contact this person to let them know you applied. That way, even if they are already done looking at applications, they may take another look when yours comes in.

  • Excellent advice (and fast reply; +1) - much appreciated! – Aleksandr Blekh May 13 '15 at 5:03

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