Sunday, March 25, 2018
Chronicle of Higher Education, The Professor Is In: The Sham National Search:
We’re in the process of hiring a new faculty member right now and everyone in the department (and everyone in the administration) knows that it’s basically a sham search. There is an inside candidate, and the job ad was written specifically for them. But of course we have the other finalists coming to campus, and everyone in the department is expected to do all the things you would expect — go to the job talks, the teaching demos, and the dinner meetings.
It seems like such a waste of everyone’s time, and I feel bad for the candidates who think they actually have a shot at this job. Is all this really necessary?
What you are describing is a scenario that is unfortunately common enough — and probably the nightmare of every candidate who is on the market now and in the campus-visit stage. I completely empathize with feeling bad for the duped candidates, and resentful at being forced to go through the charade of evaluating future colleagues who don’t stand a chance of actually becoming future colleagues.
In answering your (very reasonable) question — "Is all this really necessary?" — I would suggest you try to think of it as "the least of all possible evils."