If you need help with online teaching or other challenges in academia arising from the COVID-19 crisis, we have prepared this FAQ to get you started.
73

"I would like to see a formal written offer before we move forward." Any department that's unwilling to do that is sending up huge, brightly colored red flags. With fancy gold tassels. And embroidery that reads "DANGER".


51

Let me offer the perspective of a former department chair who was involved in hiring negotiations from the department side. Here are a few things to keep in mind: Hiring a faculty member is a long-term investment. When a department recruits a new faculty member, typically they expect the person to be around for the next 20-30. When viewed through that prism,...


49

Well, as a department head, I would be slightly annoyed that (i) you applied for a position you knew you couldn't take, and (ii) you didn't mention this earlier. But it is what it is: You have no other option than coming clean, and so being honest should be your first priority. The people you're going to talk to are going to be your future colleagues and ...


34

This situation should not actually arise if you are handling your faculty job search properly. If you accept an offer, you should withdraw all your remaining job applications. Otherwise either you are wasting their time in considering you for a position you won't accept, or you were insincere in accepting the previous offer. If you aren't comfortable ...


34

The big issue in having a private office is available space. Most departments have a limited amount of space available, and what is given to any particular research group is correspondingly restricted. There may not be a private office available to the group, in which case it wouldn't be possible to accommodate such a request. In addition, if there's a more ...


30

I think you tell the chair of the department some version of what you've told us: you're very excited about joining the institution (very important to say that first!), but you don't feel like the the salary is appropriate for the position, and you would find it much easier to accept the offer if the salary were increased. Negotiating over salaries is quite ...


24

Every department is different. Everything I'll write is specific to my (top 5 CS, public, RU/VH) department. And while I know quite a bit about the process of hiring new faculty, I do not know the precise details of any recent startup packages (except for salaries, which are public). My department head manages all startup negotiations directly. Our ...


24

One of the mods here is a professor in a german university, I think he is able to add a better answer or at least confirm or discard mine. Some considerations: As far as I know, many german PhD students, at least in CS, are actually employed full-time, which I assume means 100% TVL-E. In that sense, both 50% and 65% seem somewhat on the low side to me. At ...


22

In the time between asking this question and getting some answers here, I read many comments on the original stories and blog posts dissecting the situation, many of which offered useful answers. I am compiling some of them here for the sake of others. As with most information found on the Internet, YMMV. First, a question I didn't ask but will answer ...


22

This entire answer is US-centric, since I have no clue how other countries work. This is not to say that I know the US system that well - but rather that it's the only system I know at all. Public universities work differently from private universities. Public universities usually have pay scales and these are often public since professors are considered ...


22

I think all your concerns are very reasonable. Honestly, I am not really buying into the "money is no concern in academic job hunts" story. A postdoc is a job. Part of a job is a salary. I never understood why you are allowed to ask about housing, students, packages, whatever, but not what money you are going to make. Q1: how can I inquire about the ...


22

Negotiating the start date is fairly common for US schools. Schools generally want you to start at the beginning of the fall semester, but it is not uncommon to try and start at the beginning of the summer or in January. Sometimes departments have flexibility and sometimes they do not. While there are horror stories of departments rescinding offers, I don't ...


21

In general, departments don't like extended negotiations with candidates for faculty positions. In some cases, candidates use this as a way to extend the time that they have to consider an offer so that they can interview for other positions and obtain other offers. If a candidate ends up not taking the job after an extended negotiation then it may be too ...


20

It varies. In my experience some of the more prestigious postdoctoral fellowships sponsored by universities might have some amount of moving expenses built into the budget, and more typical postdoc positions funded out of grants probably won't. But it might be possible to get a professor to help you out, perhaps out of startup or some other funds that aren't ...


19

Sure there is a possibility. I have seen PhD students have private offices in some places. In others, even Assistant Professors had to share. And my current employer famously had a (short-lived) initiative where they wanted to implement a hot-seat scheme for everybody except top administrators (it did not go over well with faculty). However, in practice you ...


19

I work at an R&D company that has a pretty similar clause in its contract, and in fact most R&D companies will. The core reason is that things change quickly in R&D, so an area that the company has no interest in today may be a big part of their in business in 5-10 years. Moreover, employees like you are likely to be the ones who create new ...


17

This answer applies to Belgium, or perhaps just Flanders. Academics are public servants, so the pay scales are fixed. The only thing that is flexible is where on the scale you start. This is then based on the number of years of relevant experience, which is often counted as the number of years after your masters. They will probably apply some tricks to bump ...


16

Just because you have other offers doesn't mean that you're entitled to a higher salary or startup. A department has to balance how much they think you will be able to bring to the department and how much they want you to come, against how much other recent hires got and how this compares to the rest of the salary structure in the department. It also depends ...


15

There are two fundamentally opposing issues here. One is that You will not get a higher salary unless you negotiate. while at the same time The only way to avoid the messiness of failed negotiations is not to negotiate. You have to be prepared for the possibility that negotiations will not go the way that you want. So, really, the question is if the ...


15

Should a pre-tenure assistant professor actively seek to meet with the chair Yes! You should insist on meeting with your department chair at least once a year, if not once a semester, to discuss strengths and weaknesses in your evolving tenure case. Make no mistake—your tenure case started evolving the moment you signed your offer letter. If you are ...


15

It's important to remember that you're negotiating a package, not a salary. In other words, there is a set of things you're negotiating for, and you can play games in that space to get most of what you need. Limiting yourself to salary negotiation is tricky because salaries are often the most constrained part of the package (especially in public universities ...


14

First and foremost, you need to become aware of your own preferences and requirements. Knowing that "both would be a good fit" is nice, but it isn't enough. You'll need to know what your preferred option is, and how much better the offer from the other institution needs to be to change your mind. As long as you don't have a pretty good idea about this, I am ...


13

Negotiating salary is a very common thing. You should explain that this offer is low in comparison with your current post doc salary or the salary available to you in industry and that you don't feel that you can accept the offer at the current salary. You might also bring up salary survey data to support an argument that the offered salary is low. They ...


13

It is difficult for anyone as an outsider to know with certainty what the department is thinking, but allow me to venture a guess based on my experience in my department. In my department, we have interviewed several faculty candidates whom we would like to work at our department. Reading between the lines of what my department head told my colleagues and I,...


13

I am a fairly fresh tenure-track Assistant Professor in Sweden. Before that I have worked in Switzerland and Austria, and I also know the state of affairs in Germany fairly well. The official teaching/research load is 50-50 which sounds OK. This translates to 3 courses (minimum) per year + bachelor + master student supervision + some administrative tasks. ...


12

To a first approximation, you have two ways of negotiating for a higher salary, namely fairness and leverage from other offers. If your offer is not in line with what other people have received under similar circumstances at the same institution, then you can ask them to address this. If you make a convincing case, they may improve the offer, either out of ...


12

This varies enormously between universities (see Suresh and JeffE's comments, for example). At some schools, having a soft-money position means very little. They are basically just saying you are allowed to use their name to apply for grants, and to pay for things like office space using grant funding (including overhead). In such a case, there may not be ...


12

Although I agree that you should seek some specific information on the expectations of a research vs. teaching environment, I would suggest that this negotiation was doomed for a different reason... I know Linda Babcock (the gender/negotiations researcher who is interviewed in the story) personally, and she said that the story is true. Remember that one key ...


11

I have only been a member of hiring committees at my present institution, a state research university. However I have watched people go on the job market at liberal arts colleges and one of my oldest friends is the department chair at a liberal arts college. I will try to ask him about this when I get the chance. My impression is that the difference ...


11

I must say that I am surprised with the answers here. I am willing to bet a fair amount of money that you will not get a raise from your institution. And I can think of a million reasons. Here are a few big ones. A part of my reasoning stems from my personal experience, where I had multiple offers to top-tier US universities, and also from a slightly lower ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible