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Informing committees of job offers

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In our most recent "how can we help you?" thread, a reader writes in: I've just been offered a VAP at Institution X, where a decision is expected of me within about two weeks. However, I recently interviewed for a VAP at Institution Y, where I was told that they'd make a decision in about a month. I strongly prefer the position at Institution Y. How do I diplomatically reach out to Y in a way that might speed up their timetable, but not in a way that seems pushy or likely to tell me to PFO? Maybe I'm wrong, but this seems to me pretty straightforward. Just write a polite email informing the search chair you have a job offer (without mentioning who the offer is from), maybe mention that you are still very interested in their job, and ask them what the time-frame of their search looks like. At that point the ball is in their court. If they are seriously considering you as a candidate but don't want to lose you, then they will make something happen. If not, then not: they'll give you a polite PFO and that's that. I don't see any other real options here. Finally, for what it's worth, I suspect a search committee is less likely to speed up its timetable for a VAP position--simply because VAPs are temporary positions (whereas there is probably much greater incentive to hire the committee's top choice in a TT job). But these are just my thoughts. What are yours, particularly those of you who have served on search committees or engaged in this kind of negotiating as a candidate?

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News source: The Philosophers' Cocoon

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