There is a period of limbo between having an academic interview and being told whether you have been successful and thereby offered the position, or not. This can be a nerve-wracking, uncertain time, not least because there is no defined period in which this could go on; it could be anything from a few days to a couple of months. How, then, do you act during this nebulous interval?
Do not panic
The longer the wait goes on, the more difficult it is to think positively about your chances. Unpleasant thoughts can creep in, such as ‘If they haven’t contacted me by now then I haven’t got it?’ or ‘I must have been so bad they can’t even be bothered to tell me’, and these are caused by uncertainty and the assumption that the hiring decision is the number one priority for your interviewers.
It’s important to remember that, while hiring an academic is absolutely an important decision, your interviewers have other responsibilities which may demand their more immediate attention. It is difficult enough for academics to meet regularly at the best of times, as schedules often conflict or deadlines need to be met. If you are waiting for a long time, this may simply be because your interviewers have not yet found a suitable time to meet up and discuss the interviews since they happened – remember, this must be a unanimous decision from their side.
Do not be afraid to call
If you have had to wait as much as a week after your interview without a word, it is perfectly acceptable to phone the institution or department you interviewed in to follow-up about the current status of the hiring process. It may well be that one academic is on holiday – or it may be that the department needs a kick up the backside and get moving and stop people waiting for them. There is no way to tell, but there is absolutely no harm in checking to see what’s going on. It will not affect the hiring decision one way or the other, but it may serve to give you a bit more peace of mind.
Do not be idle
There is little point in waiting by the phone – it will ring when it rings. There are likely to be plenty of things to distract you from the anxiety of the hiring panel’s final decision, including:
- Continuing your current work; whether you’re a post-doctoral researcher or a current lecturer, you’ll have plenty to be getting on with.
- Researching and applying for other roles; there’s no need to put your eggs all in one basket. While there is similarly no need to apply for everything you see, it is worth your time investigating other roles to see if they match your career and life ambitions.
- Personal projects; anything from working on your own website to cooking up some previously unattempted feasts in the kitchen is valid. Don’t let your mind go too idle otherwise those troublesome thoughts can creep in – but equally make sure you have time to relax, too.
Have you considered sending a thank you note after an academic interview? See how it can help.