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Why in the world would academics DO THIS???

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Why in the world would academics DO THIS???

Postby Dave Jensen » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:45 pm

I'm baffled about something, and I've never asked anyone about this. Can someone here from the academic side of the fence tell me why this happens. And what value it provides the person putting it into their CV.

I have seen this time and again . . . An academic scientist will write "Positions Offered" as a section of their CV. In that section, they'll show what is sometimes a very long list of position titles and other institutions that have offered them a job. I just had one now in which the list of 12 schools and job titles had "Offered" followed by "Declined." There was one that was "Offered" and "Accepted" and that was the present position.

To people in industry -- can you imagine putting this into your resume or CV? What's the effect of a person who reads that you've already turned down six other jobs? Do you think they are going to get excited and rush to be #7? NO. It's a giant turn-off. I advised my client, a non-profit research institution, that extending an offer to that person would be a bonehead move (not the words I used) and the offer went elsewhere. And was accepted I might add.

I'd love to know what is so different in the culture at the University that allows people to show these as stripes on their sleeve instead of what they really are -- signs of disloyalty to their employer.

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Re: Why in the world would academics DO THIS???

Postby Gene H » Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:16 pm

I think it just a show off and nothing else.
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Re: Why in the world would academics DO THIS???

Postby PG » Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:02 am

Is it frequent that people get actual offers and turns them down in academia?

In industry I believe that it is very unusual. Personally I have not declined any offer for a new position. I once declined a counter offer ie I told the Company I was working for that I was leaving and they offered me an increase in salary to stay which I declined. Importantly this is very different from letting for example a recruiter know that I am not interested in a position that they are looking to recruit for but at that point it is far from being an offer.

When hiring I think that it has happened once that I remember that a candidate got an offer and declined it and we are hiring a lot of people. Sometimes either the candidate or the Company will say no thank you after the first meeting but that is still not an actual offer for a position.
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Re: Why in the world would academics DO THIS???

Postby Dick Woodward » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:15 am

First, I wonder if these are real offers or just approaches about a position. I cannot believe that someone would receive and reject enough formal offers to make up a section of their CV. People (possibly excepting egomaniacs - see below) generally decide something is not a fit long before a formal offer is made. My conclusion is therefore a) that these people are actually listing contacts about a position (if I listed every contact from a recruiter over my career, my resume would be 47 pages long), b) they are total egomaniacs or c) all of the above.

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Re: Why in the world would academics DO THIS???

Postby Dave Jensen » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:18 pm

I've seen it so often that I am convinced it says that in order to advance in certain academic institutions, you need to have been offered and turned down numbers of other jobs before you can be recognized as department head material, etc.

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Re: Why in the world would academics DO THIS???

Postby Rich Lemert » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:39 pm

I expect this practice is an outgrowth of the way some schools pride themselves on having the "top scientists in the field" on their faculty. Sometimes what they do is offer someone a "joint" appointment that, in practice, means the recipient comes to town once a year and gives a couple of lectures in his "home" department. In other cases they try to "raid" someone who's making a name for themselves at another institution.

The professors that are listing these "offers" are probably thinking that this demonstrates how great they are. "I'm so great that all these schools want me on their faculty, but I'm also so important that I can turn them all down."

Frankly, I'm not surprised to hear of this practice. A lot of high-level academics are used to being the masters of their personal kingdoms and don't realize there might be an issue with how they do things. And many of them are not going to be inclined to listen to any advice because "I'm the greatest xxx expert in the world; what could you possibly have to teach me?"
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Re: Why in the world would academics DO THIS???

Postby Susan H. » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:42 pm

Hi Dave, I'm surprised that you are surprised. I have seen this many times on CVs, e.g. on homepages of professors in Germany. Personally I don't like it, but it seems to show what you are worth, and to be a competitive advantage. One of the many unappealing traits of e.g. chemists (I am a chemist myself) that completely set me off at the beginning but that I have learned to accept in the meantime.
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