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Friday, February 23, 2007

Organizing the Academic Job Market

The Economists have a Job Market Wiki listing interviews and offers in mostly academic economics departments. The wiki is far from complete and likely not entirely accurate but it does allow candidates and departments to see how the competition is doing.

This year the American Economic Association started a signaling process where each candidate can signal interest in up to two departments through a centralized AEA web site. The AEA also organizes a meeting each January whose main purpose is to provide a centralized location for job candidates and departments to have short interviews with each other.

In the computer science job market, departments start off interviewing similar sets of top candidates and until those settle do schools start looking at the next tier of still rather strong applicants. The CS academic hiring season starts in January and often lasts through June or later and this year is shaping up to be no exception.

Structurally the fields of computer science and economics have much in common—culturally diverse fields from the very theoretical to the very applied. But when it comes to the academic job market, economics and most other fields have a structured process that streamlines the search while CS remains quite ad hoc. Computer science needs some central authority to bring some organization to the process but beyond posting paid listings, the ACM and CRA currently do little to facilitate the hiring process.

7 comments:

  1. Physicists have institutionalized "rumor mills" on the web now. See this history for example.

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  2. Very ignorant question: is it common for top 50 CS departments to have a second round of interviews, if none of the first {3-8} candidates say yes?

    I'm on the USA CS job market right now, from Europe, and have learned that many of my top choices are already interviewing candidates -- does this mean I might still get a call from one of those departments in, say, April?

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  3. Computer Science does have a rumor mill, it's just not very active (or well known?)...

    http://wikihost.org/wikis/academe/wiki/computer_science

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  4. Maybe an Economist could do a study of the inefficiencies present by the current CS market. The top 20 schools competing for the same top 10 candidates necessarily leads to wasted resources (time, money) for everybody.

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  5. necessarily leads to wasted resources (time, money) for everybody.

    I disagree. How are the candidates supposed to know which department they want to be in? The interview is a two way process. The department might choose not to hire the candidate and the candidate might choose not to take the offer from the department.

    We all know first or second hand stories about department X, which from the outside looks like a fine choice, but during the interview process it comes out that it is not a nice place to be working in.

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  6. How are the candidates supposed to know which department they want to be in?

    It seems to me that traveling to a school is an inefficient way to answer that question. A rumor mill might be better at eliminating the not-a-nice-place departments.

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  7. It seems to me that traveling to a school is an inefficient way to answer that question. A rumor mill might be better at eliminating then ot-a-nice-place departments.

    There are certainly many places that would be right for one person but not another...I don't think things are ever so black-and-white.

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