RateMyProfessor.com is an invaluable tool used by many college students when registering for classes. In just a few clicks, one can receive information on the helpfulness, clarity, easiness and even “hotness” of a professor. Unfortunately for academics looking to hire a colleague, things aren’t quite as easy. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, this is made even more difficult when one considers that the number of Ph.D. graduates continues to grow, but the number of jobs available remains unchanged. So how can academics make sure that the candidate in front of them is the best fit for the job? Michael G. Pratt explores this problem in his essay “Assessing Candidate Quality: Lessons From Ethnography (and Accountants)” from Journal of Management Inquiry.
From the introduction:
There have been numerous repudiations of what is referred to as an “audit culture” in our profession by our peers (Walsh, 2011, p. 217; see also Baum, 2012; Macdonald & Kam, 2011), and I confess that my initial motivation for this “Provocations and Provocateurs” entry was to spend the entire article on the numerous ways we get it wrong when it comes to making critical judgments about assessing the quality of scholars and scholarship at critical junctures (e.g., hiring, annual reviews, promotion, tenure). However, a few things quickly became apparent. First, we already know a lot about what is wrong with such assessments—and have known them for some time. I will add a bit to what has been said, but on the whole, I do not think I have much new to add. Second, the topic is enormous, so I picked hiring as an example of the issues we face writ large. Third, there is much more written about problems than solutions and I was raised to not complain unless I had some idea about how to make things better. So I decided to ask myself what, if anything, I could add about addressing shortcomings regarding how we assess people—especially during hiring. The net result of these ponderings, dear reader, is in your hands (or on your screen) right now.
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