From the 121st Annual Meeting column of the March 2007 Perspectives
The Job Register by the Numbers
David Darlington, March 2007
The Job Register at the AHA annual meeting is always a bustling place, and the 2007 meeting was no exception. Interviews were conducted officially at tables in the Salon II of the Marriott Marquis Ballroom and in private suites in the Marriott Marquis and Westin hotels, and, unofficially, in various other hotels, and perhaps also in coffee shops, restaurants, and hotel lobbies in the Atlanta area. By the close of the annual meeting, 283 searches were reported to the Job Register staff, with all but 15 of them conducting interviews in Atlanta. 194 of those 268 open searches used official AHA facilities, with the remaining 74 making their own arrangements. Once again, some of the searches conducting interviews in privately-arranged spaces failed to inform their candidates where they were conducting interviews, causing tremendous worry and work for their candidates. The Job Register staff strongly encourage search committees not using official AHA facilities to give their room numbers to the Job Register as soon as they arrive on site, and to be as thorough as possible before the meeting in letting the candidates know exactly how to contact them during the meeting (cell phone, hotel, name of registered guest, day and time when arriving at city, etc.). But not all search committees follow our guidelines.
What were the most popular fields in which search committees were looking for candidates this year? Perhaps not surprisingly, the United States (54 searches) and Europe (52 searches) led the way. No other field had more than 25 open searches, with Latin America (22), Asia (21), and world history (17) rounding out the top five, followed by thematic history (13), African American (11), Middle East (9), ancient (8), Africa (7), Atlantic World (3), and Asian American history (2).
Where do these searches come from? By far, most of the interviewing institutions were from the Southeast (78) and mid-Atlantic (62) states. Great Lakes institutions had 45 searches, followed by the West (36), New England (27), the Southwest (12), the Plains States (10), Rocky Mountain states (8), and foreign institutions (3).
The Job Register from the Inside
People often wonder what the Job Register looks like from the inside. While precise numbers for suites are hard to come by, the sign-in sheets for the interview tables give a good impression of what the atmosphere at the Job Register is like. 137 search committees conducted interviews at the 102 tables in the Marquis Ballroom (some institutions were only there for part of the time, allowing for overlap). These committees conducted approximately 1,510 interviews, or, interviewed about 11 candidates per search. Some schools, especially those at the beginning of a search (or those in a popular field, such as U.S. history), interview large numbers of candidates, bringing back a new candidate every 30 or 45 minutes, in the hopes of finding the top few to bring to campus for their final interview, teaching demonstration, and so on. Other searches start with a short list of final candidates and will only use a Job Register table for a day or two for interviewing candidates and making a final choice.
The other part of the Job Register where numbers are easy to come by is at the c.v. collection booth. 76 (of the 283 total) searches were collecting c.v.'s, which is slightly more than at the 2006 annual meeting in Philadelphia. At least 400 candidates submitted c.v.'s to open searches, usually to multiple open searches, and while we don't know how many got interviews at the annual meeting (because institutions contact promising candidates directly) we do know that the typical candidate received 2.6 "decline to interview" messages.
—David Darlington, associate editor of Perspectives, was co-manager (with Liz Townsend and Carl Ashley) of the Job Register at the 2007 annual meeting of the AHA.