Bin the sour grapes and check the spec

May 30, 2013

István Aranyosi has left us in little doubt about his prowess as a budding researcher, and I certainly hope that he fulfils his promise (“No one should be hired on the basis of whether their face fits”, Opinion, 23 May). As one who has had the pleasure and ­respons­ibility of hiring several academics, I found it interesting that no mention of his other attributes was made in two pages of self-promotion.

I for one am glad that the recruitment panels that I have served upon have given due consideration to the many other aspects recorded on potential academic colleagues’ CVs before making offers. “REFability” is of course important, but the current world of higher education (for most of us, at least) requires a much broader “package” from the chosen few.

Before his next application, Aranyosi might wish to familiarise himself with the person specification for the role and spend a little time considering and demonstrating how his experiences and expertise might fit the essential criteria: teaching, administration, outreach and the ability (and willingness) to contribute to a department in many ways. This might just swing things in his favour.

Most of the ivory towers have gone, and many of us now inhabit a rather different world from the one that Aranyosi imagines should be proud to have him. He should ­realise though that to blame his failure to secure a position so far on “gossip, caprice and favouritism” sounds like sour grapes.

I wish him the best of luck in his job search.

Steve Allin
Nottingham Trent University

 

While I am doubtful about involving managers in things such as academic appointments, they do have useful roles to play. For example, they can make sure that equal standards are applied to selection processes.

I suspect that István Aranyosi’s account of being turned down for posts for which he is well suited delves too deeply into matters. Left to themselves, people tend to appoint people like themselves to posts, if not their friends. Unfortunately there is evidence that those with foreign-sounding names – even if they are in fact as British as the next person, as it were – suffer at least subconscious discrimination. The answer is to anonymise applications.

Keith Flett
London

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Daniel Mitchell illustration (15 December 2016)

Mark Readman offers a guide to help selfish academics ensure that everyone at a conference knows they are very special indeed

David Parkins Christmas illustration (22 December 2016)

A Dickensian tale, set in today’s university

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard

Jefferson with paint over face

Buildings and statues dedicated to people whose views clash with modern values can cause difficulties, but is tearing down history the answer?