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It has been more than 4 months I applied for a tenured-track faculty position in a research university. However, I have not heard back from anyone (e.g. representative of the Chair of the search committee or someone else) regarding my application status. Unfortunately, there is no online status-checker system available. I am even not sure whether my application has been rejected. In such a circumstance, can I place an inquiry to the search chair and ask him to let me know the status of my application?

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    It may matter only slightly, but what country? I suspect that most US departments are long done hiring for this year, though they may have left job postings open for the next academic year. Other countries haven't even finished their spring semester yet (I just learned that Japan's spring semester starts April 1, for example).
    – Bill Barth
    Jul 12, 2015 at 17:05
  • Sorry, forgot to mention, I have applied to an US university. Jul 12, 2015 at 17:07
  • It is often useful to contact the Department Administrator, Secretary, or Assistant to the Department Chair. This is the person who coordinates all (or most) of the administrative work in the department, or supervises people who do if it is a large department. These people typically respond promptly and are knowledgeable about the status of various processes in the department, including filling open positions. Most important, they have great insights into the quirks/ dysfunctions in the department, including people. They know who to approach and how to approach them to get things done. Jul 12, 2015 at 21:32
  • Did you check the academic job wiki? You should be able to figure out whether other candidates have reported progress. Be sure to edit/update it if you can.
    – RoboKaren
    Jul 13, 2015 at 1:17

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It is completely reasonable to ask about the status of a job application at any time, let alone after so much time has passed. Definitely feel free.

Since you have applied for a tenure-track job in the United States, I wanted to mention that my first thought was that it is overwhelmingly likely that the job search has concluded by the end of the academic year. However, you say that you applied for the job "more than four months ago", which I guess means you applied in February or March. That is an unusually late job application: most commonly applications are due sometime in the fall semester -- say, between September and December -- and the hiring process takes place either at the end of the fall semester or the beginning of the spring semester. So if the application deadline was indeed in February or later, this is a somewhat unusual time (although such things certainly do happen occasionally) and it is not as overwhelmingly likely that the process has been completed. Still the chances are not good: most American departments do not do tenure-track hiring over the summer, and once the new year starts there will be a flood of new candidates so they might as well start the process all over again.

For your future use, you might also want to look back carefully at the wording of the job application. Some job applications have a "rolling deadline", and if you apply on certain automated academic job serves the application will be "accepted" in the formal sense for many months (usually; this depends upon the way the account is set up). In most cases there is some text like "Candidates who apply before XX/YY/ZZZZ will receive full consideration." You definitely want to get your application in by that date.

Finally, I hope you know that with the current amount of job applications, many if not most departments make no effort whatsoever to contact candidates negatively. It is also not in their best interest to do so: maybe another job opens up at a weird time or maybe the person who they thought would take the job cannot or does not for some reason. If that happens they can go back and look at the applications that are still there and see if people are still interested and available. Unfortunately the current academic climate is such that this not especially considerate policy has some strategic merit.

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  • In the university homepage, it is clearly written :Application material must be received by March 1, 2015 to receive guaranteed consideration, though the search will remain open until the position is filled. Importantly, I submitted my application prior to this date. Jul 13, 2015 at 1:40

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