Have Any Questions for Hiring Managers?

December 20th, 2012

Linda Wang, a reporter for C&EN, wrote ChemBark with the following:

I’m exploring an employment feature, which will be a “frank conversation with hiring managers.” I was wondering if you would be willing to post something on your blog for me soliciting questions from job seekers? This is my query:

Got a question for a hiring manager, but afraid to ask? C&EN is exploring an employment article that seeks to answer these burning questions. Please send your questions to Linda Wang, C&EN senior editor, at l_wang@acs.org. Questions will be anonymous.

Of course, while it’s fine to e-mail Linda directly, why not drop your questions in the comments for all of us to discuss and enjoy?

One thing that I have always wondered is how much your education can hurt you on the job market. How often do managers toss out applications from people with Ph.D.s because the business wants to pay around the median M.S. level and doesn’t want to spend resources hiring someone who will just keep looking for a better position? My sense is that a lot of Ph.D.s are willing to be “underemployed” but end up getting chucked right off the bat.

The same thing goes for academic jobs. How many people with Stanford/MIT Ph.D.s get rejected right off the bat for academic jobs at small colleges in rural areas because the school does not want to waste resources interviewing a highly educated, coast-dwelling candidate that will probably get other offers? What is the most effective way for a candidate to communicate to the hiring committee that he/she is serious about looking for a job at these schools?

5 Responses to “Have Any Questions for Hiring Managers?”

  1. Rich Says:

    Toss most in the garbage. Has nothing to do with money. I find that most Ph.D.s are not as qualified as they believe they are.

  2. Chemjobber Says:

    You could probably address it up front in your cover letter.

    “I know that I may not have the typical profile of your applicant pool; however, …”

  3. Concrete Dovetail Says:

    It can definitely hurt you. I once was told during an interview at a military research institute something like “We are glad that top candidates are interested, but we typically don’t hire the best.” This was the strangest interview I ever had. I did not even apply for the job; they contacted me. I also can say that I know of a former grad student who was forced out during the first year now has a tenure-track position (the person did not transfer to a different school), while others who did very well were not considered for any kind of academic position. Don’t want to come off as a whiner but there is something strange going on out there. I have also found that there is a sense of distrust of Ph.D. holders by non-doctorates. They tend to think people with a Ph.D. will not respect lab technicians.

  4. PhD Wife Says:

    I’ve always wondered if it’s true that you shouldn’t wear a wedding band if you’re a woman because they”ll assume that you want to start a family soon. I’ve also heard that wearing a watch signifies some sort of time responsibility/management.

  5. Paul Says:

    Linda Wang’s story is out in C&EN:


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