I've recently left my job as Head of School to become a lecturer in AI and software engineering. After nearly ten years as Head, I have had to go through the process of hiring academic staff several times. Now that I am no longer involved in doing this, I am able to write this post about how to get hired as an academic, from the point of view of the one doing the hiring. Bear in mind that this is what worked for people to get hired by me, and might not work with other managers.
Firstly, I need to say that if you're looking for an academic job, don't bother with the "blanket bombing" approach of just emailing every Head of School / Head of Department that you can find in a simple Google search, asking them for a job. Every time I received one of these emails, I deleted it. This was especially true for new PhD graduates looking for postdoc positions. Firstly, the institution I was at did not have funding for postdocs. Secondly, most of the emails I received were from ecology graduates. Yes, I have published a number of papers in ecology, but anyone who had spent more than 30 seconds investigating my institution and myself would have found out that I'm not an ecologist.
The first part of the hiring process, from the point of view of the applicant, is advertising the position. Places advertise because they have a hole in their staffing, so they need to hire someone to fill that hole. If they don't have a hole, they don't need to hire anyone. If you see a position advertised that interests you, make sure you do two things:
- Read the position description.
- Follow the application process.
- Can you really do what you claim in your application?
- Could I stand working with you?
- Hard work