What Every Search Committee Will Tell You
When the phone or video interviews are complete and all the applicants’ materials have been screened, the search committee chair will come into the dean’s or chair’s office and say, “I know we’re supposed to bring only three candidates to campus. But Candidate X lives locally [or perhaps is an internal candidate], and so it won’t cost us that much more to invite in four candidates. So, can we get permission to have four on-campus interviews?” That request is so common and seems so logical to the search committee itself that it seems fair to ask, why not comply with this proposal? After all, doesn’t it make sense to take advantage of the fact that one candidate happens to live nearby and thus you can see as many different applicants as possible? Nevertheless, as logical as that request may be, it’s always a bad idea to comply with this proposal. Here’s why.
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