Ibrahim v. Secunda on Appropriate Lateral Etiquette
Who has the better approach to the lateral hiring “market”?
[A]s long as you do not have concerns about people knowing your looking, you might as well go forward with all the approaches: get known, file a FAR, and target letters/emails to appointment committees. Although I think letters are by far the least effective method (no one wants to be added to a long stack of paper), you just never know.
And that, my friends, sums up the lateral market in general: you just never know – sometimes you try to put yourself “out there” without actually being “out there,” and other times you do nothing proactive and are “out there” anyway.
or Darian Ibrahaim:
To lateral candidates, do not write directly to schools you’re interested in, and do not go through the AALS process. You do not want to appear anxious to escape your current situation, even if you are. The best way to get the word out that you’re open to a move is to let your well-respected friends at other schools know that. These folks will inevitably be contacted by appointments committees looking for people who might be moveable. Also, the standard advice about going to conferences, publicizing your papers all holds true. If you’re doing good work, getting yourself out there, and are at a school from which one would reasonably assume you are extractable, you’ll get calls.
My view: Darian is correct on the tactics. And he’s equally right about the appropriate move for entry-level faculty: “write directly to schools you’re interested in.” This is a real change. When I was on the entry market in 2003, I had no sense that it was appropriate to write to schools directly, though I lacked a mentor so I could have missed many tricks. Now, writing directly to committees is apparently almost necessary (though not sufficient).
[Update: An earlier version of this post credited David Zaring for Darian Ibrahim's post. I have no idea how I made that mistake. Sorry guys!]