Lose face, use voices

June 6, 2013

I too have witnessed perverse university appointment decisions (“No one should be hired on the basis of whether their face fits”, Opinion, 23 May). At one institution in south-east England, there were two candidates for a teaching English as a foreign language post, one clearly more knowledgeable about not just the English language but also a wide range of background topics ancillary to the subject: she missed out to a younger, less ­experienced candidate.

Two changes might make the process more transparent. First, conduct interviews by telephone so that the “face” confers no advantage (sorry, Lévinas). Second, have interview panels provide feedback, perhaps on ­candidates’ ­publications for research positions. At least this would prove that they actually read the CVs and other material candidates send in.

Hillary J. Shaw
Senior lecturer in food economics and health
Department of food and supply chain management
Harper Adams University

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