My question has to do with the proper etiquette for notifying a personal contact on a faculty search committee that I am applying to. The question is based on the perspective of U.S. institutions.
I am a doctoral student about to go on the job market. Several months ago at a conference, a colleague from my master's program introduced me to his boss, for whom he has worked for around 5 years. The boss, it should be noted, used to work at my current institution. While I am not sure of the circumstances of his departure, it seems he is still friends with some of the professors in my department. Through our conversation, I found out that their department was going to hire several new faculty members sometime in early summer. I went on their university's HR website about 3 weeks ago and saw the posting. I reached out to my colleague to reintroduce me to his boss, so that I could ask the boss questions about the faculty search that he (the boss) may be able to answer, i.e. whether the position was "truly open" or if it was only posted as a formality (having been on the other side of the hiring table in my previous life, I knew that sometimes institutions already have an internal candidate, but they have to post the position as a legal requirement, particularly if it is a public institution). The boss replied to my e-mail and told me that: 1.) the position was truly open, and more importantly, 2.) he is the chair of the search committee. He also asked me whether I had already submitted my application (I have not). I am in the process of replying to his e-mail, and would like advice on how I can maximize my connection without sounding desperate or annoying.
- Is it appropriate for me to tell him that I am putting my packet together and that I will let him know when I submit the application?
- Following (1), is it appropriate for me to ask him to be on the lookout for my application when/after I submit it?
- Is it appropriate for me to ask follow-up questions about the person they are looking for, for example whether there are specific courses they're trying to develop within their department, whether there are research areas they're specifically looking for, etc. so then I can "tailor" my cover letter/teaching statement/research statement to what they need?
- Should I be taking advantage of the fact that the search committee chair is still friendly with several people on my dissertation committee by having them contact him?
- The expected start date is sometime in late fall of this year, but the posting shows a closing date sometime in the summer next year. Can I ask my contact when he expects to start reviewing the applications?