Before the New Year, we published Part I of this series, an effort to make Interfolio’s role in the job application process more transparent. That post explained how we track application deliveries and the steps we’re taking to prevent spam filters from causing delivery issues.

If you represent an institution that has experienced spam issues with Interfolio email deliveries, please contact Max, our Customer Support Manager, directly:

Today’s post addresses the evolution of a fragmented job market and why we, like many of you, are discontented with the status quo. The way the job market functions is inefficient and hard on candidates. We want to be part of the solution.

When we opened our doors in 1999, paper was the medium of the academic job market. Most institutions required hard copies of dossiers, a requirement that was laborious but relatively straightforward. As technology became increasingly consumer-friendly, university HR departments embraced applicant tracking portals and services. Universities that did not have their own, school-specific online application systems began accepting applications via email.

With these technological advances, the application process actually became more fragmented. The job market no longer demanded that you send reams of paper around the country, but it did demand that candidates and their letter writers deliver confidential documents and letters to myriad idiosyncratic online systems and administrative email accounts.

Interfolio began fulfilling email and web applications because job seekers, looking for the closest thing to a one-stop dossier shop, requested those services.

While we labor tirelessly to fulfill applications by web, email, and (yes, still) paper, we firmly believe that candidates and committees would be better served by a standardized platform and process for submitting academic job materials. There are ways to make life on the job market easier, and one of them is to adopt a common application platform—no more poorly designed university HR portals—that takes the cost of hiring off the candidate. Bonus points for eradicating the use of paper, an unnecessary waste of natural resources given the technology we have available.

For all of these reasons, we built ByCommittee, a platform that manages online dossier submission and review. ByCommittee is subscription-based: institutions pay for the service, and then departments can tailor it to meet their search needs. With a ByCommittee application, candidates upload their documents and search committees view them. That’s it: standardized, streamlined, and free for academic job seekers, the people who need it most.

Our goal is to make ByCommittee the standard application system for the job market. We hope that you, the candidate, will never again have to pay to apply for an academic job.

In the meantime, as Interfolio works for change, we will continue to ensure delivery of your applications by all four methods, including email. Perhaps just as importantly, our Customer Support team will continue to advocate for you throughout the job market process.

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