Behind the Scenes: How I Read a Faculty Application

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You want to create the best possible application.  Providing you insight into my process of reviewing an application for a faculty position may help improve it.  Fortunately, the competition for most veterinary faculty positions isn’t particularly fierce, so you are rarely competing against many applicants.  Remember, the purpose of an application for a faculty position is to get you an interview. When I read an application, this is my primary consideration: should we offer an interview or not?

Letter of intent.  It needs to be free of obvious flaws like spelling and grammar errors.  I want to make sure the applicant knows the position to which they are applying.  If they indicate they would like a lab for a strong research program, and the position is primarily a clinical one, that suggests a disconnect and they may not be a good fit.  I don’t have high expectations for the letter, it just needs to be not terrible.

Curriculum vitae.  This needs to be organized chronologically so I can see clearly what the applicant has done from undergrad to their current position.  I want to see teaching and research productivity. For a more senior position, I want to see organization participation (e.g. with their specialty college) and journal reviewer responsibilities.  Depending on the position, publications can range from one (new resident applying for a clinical position) to many (applying at an associate professor level in a tenure-track position).  For a clinical specialist, I look for their board certification status.

Letters of recommendation.  As always, I look for evidence of collegiality, humility, and positivity.  Actually, I look for evidence that any of these things is NOT present. It may not mean they don’t get an interview offer, but it will frame the questions I ask during an interview.

Personal contacts.  If I know people at the institution where the applicant currently works, I will call them up and chat.  I am looking for the same information as in letters of recommendation.

As mentioned before, in a faculty application, I mostly look for evidence that the person would NOT be good to work with.  If they seem basically competent and collegial, unless there are many applicants, I will recommend an interview.

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