Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The formal procedure

Let's say that you want to apply for a faculty position in an IIT. Here are the formal steps that one ought to go through when making application for an entry level Assistant Professor. They are more or less similar across all institutes with some slight variability.
P.S: These are the normal official guidelines that I have understood by reading through the websites of several IITs, talking to my friends who work there, and from my own applications.

First, your background:
  1. An ideal applicant should have an excellent academic record throughout undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
  2. It is expected that you've published your research work in good venues. The number and quality of publications is a subjective matter and there are no official guidelines. The selection committee will ask for reprints of your publications (and probably read through them) and then take a decision.
  3. You should have a PhD or about to finish one.
  4. To get a 'regular' Assistant professor's position, you must have three years of postdoctoral experience. If you do not have this experience, you are given a contractual position until your three year experience criterion is met. Your position will later be converted to a 'regular' one subject to internal reviews and probably another round of interviews.

The application procedure:
  1. Complete and submit the application form (usually online, in some IITs you send it by post) along with the required documents.
  2. Once an application is submitted, it goes through an internal screening by the concerned department.
  3. The department then expects you to visit them for a day or two. During this visit you meet most of the faculty of your sub-discipline and give a research seminar. It's one of the most important steps, both for you as well as for the department. They will try to judge whether you are a suitable fit for them and you should also try to ascertain whether or not you would like to work at that place.
  4. After your visit, the department makes a recommendation at the institute level (usually to the Dean and the Director).
  5. Recommendation letters may be asked from your referees either before step 2 or step 4 depending on the policies of the institute.
  6. When there are enough candidates, a selection committee is formed that comprises of Dean, HOD, Director and several scientists/professors from other institutes. They will interview the candidate and based on the recommendations from the concerned department, they will take the final decision.
Please note that steps 1,2,3 are not necessarily chronological. In many cases, candidates just visit their department first and then apply later. Step 3 or 6 can also be undertaken on Skype - although they will ask you to visit the institute at least once.
There can be a time gap of several months between each of these steps. The entire process can take between 3-12 months. It really depends on when does the institute wants to organise a selection committee meeting. In some IITs it happens once a year, while in some IITs it may happen twice.

These are the official steps and how things are supposed to work most of the time. However, as in many cases, theory and practice are not always the same. I will write more about that in a later post.


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  2. Hi! I liked your post for the information on faculty selection process at IITs. Can you share some info on the age criteria of 35 and whether pre PhD experience is counted?

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