Wednesday, May 5, 2010


So here's the question of the day: Based on your experiences this year, what do you expect the average number of applicants to be for (1) specialized positions and (2) open positions?

Anyone else feel extra bad when they get rejected from a place that received less than 200 applications?

I'm going 350/600 [or am I being too influenced by the 588 at Boise State? Side note, Anon 4:53's comment made me smile: "My guess is that at least 100-200 of the applicants must have been ill qualified" because, you know, going against 400-500 applicants isn't intimidating].

For me, the Rice Mellon at 1000+ applicants takes the cake.

-- Second Suitor


Anonymous said...

For the general, I'm betting somewhere between 350 and 500, depending on location and other features of the school. I was shocked to hear how many applicants Boise State got.

For the specialized? So much tougher to say. For some (say, Ethics, Social/Political, M&E), probably around 200-300. For others (Ancient, Early Modern, Applied Ethics, etc), my guess is that the number is far lower - maybe 75 - 125, depending on the AOS and other factors about the school. I have a relatively specialized AOS and I heard from a couple of places that advertised for it that they got in the ballpark of 75 applicants each. (And yes, when I hear they got 75 applicants and probably interviewed 12 of them at the APA and I was not one of those 12, I did feel extra bad.)

Having 1000+ applications for a postdoc is just mind boggling.

Anonymous said...

I served on a search committee this year for a specialized position at a non-prestigious, rural SLAC. We had about 80 applications.

zombie said...

I only remember a handful of PFOs that told me how many applicants there were, but they were all in the 250-350 range. The one that killed me was the fellowship with 250 applicants. It was an especially well-paying fellowship, and one announced in the Spring, so obviously, a lot of us were still on the hunt at that point.

I have no long view on this, since I've been on the market for two years -- and last year was pretty bad too. What was it like in the old days?

zombie said...

The following is posted on Jobs for Philosophers online:

(caps not mine)

Looks like they're planning a web-only listing for Friday.

Applicantus said...

"sufficient enough"
(cough, cough)

for open ones next fall, my bet is 600-800. i mean: boise got almost 600, and there are 1000 people looking for a postdoc in houston. seriously. so many people did not find joobs, and there will only be more of us looking. (for specialized posts, they vary too much to venture a guess.)

verification word - prefil

Anonymous said...

No May JFP. Again.

zombie said...

Holy cow. The new APA online listings are a disaster. 35 listings, 21 of which are for Fulbrights in Tel Aviv, 3 of which are for a single TT job at Salisbury (which was already posted online in the previous edition). Two TT listings.

Not that I was expecting a whole raft of new TT jobs or anything, but the whole thing amounts to a meagre handful of table scraps for a few thousand job seekers. Grim.

Anonymous said...

Looking at it a little more closely, I'm not that surprised that Rice received 1,000 applications. 1) They advertised not one, not two, but THREE post-docs, so that may have made some potential applicants more optimistic about their chances. 2) They invited applications from pretty much everyone in the humanities, as well as proposals employing humanistic approaches from the social sciences, natural sciences, music, and engineering. That's a pretty wide net.

I'm inclined to think the Boise number is actually the more impressive one.

Anonymous said...

Here's a shocker (or not): I heard from a source that there was an AOS Medieval position at a University not to be named (non-Leiterrific), which got only about 30 applicants. The source was on the faculty there, so I think it's pretty reliable.

I mean, it is AOS : Medieval, but given the market this year, you would think that those out there with at least one paper that even remotely touches on Medieval-ish themes or someone with AOC: Medieval via teaching experience would throw in an app just to see.

@ zombie: So, see you in Tel Aviv? I mean, it's the land flowing with milk and honey, what? Enough wandering in the desert.

Anonymous said...

I was on a search committee for a tenure-track community college position in a major metropolitan area that started in January. We advertised in the Chronicle and JFP, and we had nearly 300 applicants within a very short period -- applications were accepted for less than two months. Initial interviews went to 24 people, half of whom it turned out didn't realize the job started in January and mentioned after the interview was over that they could not start at that time. (Brilliant.) Second round interviews were given to 5.

I will point out that for my institution, this is an especially high number. I was told that when I applied for my position just a few years ago, there were closer to 100 applicants. That position was not JFPed, but posted on Chronicle and HigherEdJobs. That was considered an unusually high number ~ job searches at our institution usually top out around 50-80 applicants.

Anonymous said...

A propos Anon. 7:46's comments, I think what we've got is a glut in the market, caused by a bad economy and a pile-up of Ph.D. grads who have "piled up" as it were over the past few years. I know, obvious statement.

But with the new systems of application, which are near to being automated, it is nothing for a Ph.D. student who has $500 to spare, and all the ducks in a row in terms of letters, etc., to randomly hurl out 50-100 applications into space, for any job out there, for which he or she might remotely be qualified, starting October 10.

As 7:46's search committee experience revealed, half of these jacka**es aren't even reading carefully enough to notice job start dates, and thus they are clogging the pipeline for those who COULD start at the time requested. This is, it appears, what many are doing.

Not much to be done about this, of course. Just to note that the job placement 'machine' is becoming clogged with the guts of the many it was built to assist.

Ben said...

FWIW, this is my sense for permanent positions in the UK. My AOS is political/moral philosophy and some of my experience is of applying to Politics departments as a theorist.

Open AOS: up to 250-300.
Moral/Political Philosophy: 60-120.

Much depends on the quality of the department and its location, among other factors (time of the year advertised probably matters too).

George said...

Those number are pretty depressing specially for someone like me that has been looking for a job for 2 years now.