Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hiring Mike Malone (internal candidates only)

The requirement to advertise certain positions can lead to funny situations when there is already an incumbent. Santa Clara University made this clear when it recently posted an ad for the adjunct teaching position held by my friend Mike Malone:

Basic Qualifications
The successful applicant will have at least 25 books on topics ranging from the history of Silicon Valley to the biography of microprocessing to interviews with entrepreneurs to the history of human and mechanical memory; will have been published by presses such as Harper/Collins, Doubleday, Random House, St. Martin’s, and SUNY Press; will also have e-books on topics such as home life in the US, home life in the UK, and water conservation; will have worked as both a journalist for a print newspaper and for magazines; will have hosted television and radio productions for PBS, cable television, and ABC; will have worked in electronic media such as being editor of Forbes ASAP or a weekly columnist for ABC.com; will have founded or co-founded at least two start-ups; will have professional connections to Oxford University in the UK as well as to numerous media (print, electronic, and television) in the SF Bay Area and beyond. 

That ad quickly attracted some unwanted attention and was taken down...see e.g.
The Ad People Noticed in Inside Higher Ed, or A Job Description Written for Exactly One Person: A case of a not-so-open search in The Atlantic, by Rebecca Rosen, who writes

"It didn't take long before Internet-sleuth extraordinaire (and frequent Atlantic contributor) Yoni Appelbaum figured out who would get the job: Michael S. Malone, whose qualification not only miraculously mirrored the job description, but who actually already holds the position.
Private universities (such as SCU) are not required by law to post job openings, though other contracts and internal policies may require it. In this case, it seems that SCU's staff policy manual may be the responsible document. It reads, "Notice of a vacant position will be posted for at least five working days before an employment offer may be made to any candidate," though there are certain exemptions possible. In a statement, SCU chalked the posting up to the needs of an internal HR system. "This spring we migrated to a new online job posting and applicant tracking system so that jobs can be posted on the system—including this one with an internal candidate."
"About all that I can add," [Mike Malone] wrote to [Rosen] in an email, "is that I'm obviously not doing this for the money, but as my way of giving back to the great professors who taught me when I was at Santa Clara forty years ago. I've had a lot of success turning undergraduate English majors into professional writers, so I stick with it—and will as long as the English department wants me."

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