I got two calls for inquiring our two openings. Since they are senior positions, the process is quite different from the mass rookie market.
The applicants are mainly driven by their unhappiness with current schools, due to the politics, pay, or location. These three factors are not mutually exclusive. Unhappiness often arises from the confluence of all three.
Because outsiders don’t know how nasty our school politics is, they are mainly attracted by the location (by and large, the pay is commensurable). Indeed, southern California never lacks of its fans; their zeal is sometimes purely fantasy.
Despite our location advantage, the hiring process has not gone smoothly. First, for political reasons, none of the two committees are chaired by the experts. This slows down the process. Second, the committee has too many non-expertise members. That means, they may well be influenced by personal agenda or factors other than qualification. That is scary.
Here is the dark side of the process. In theory, we have a formal process to ensure integrity. In practice, however, the selection is ad hoc at best. To have a chance, you must have an inside advocator: the committee only discusses the cases favored by the members. Without an inside advocator, you won’t make the short list, regardless of your qualification.
This is sobering. It keeps me wondering how lucky I was, coming here eight years ago, without knowing any insider.