Wednesday, 3 August 2005

Meat: me in Washington

For the political scientists in the audience: which of the following theories about the APSA “meat market” is true?

  1. Schools use the meat market primarily as a way to whittle down the applicant pool.
  2. Schools use the meat market primarily as a substitute for telephone interviews.
  3. Some combination of the above.

These theories suggest radically different strategies for job-seekers, so it would be nice to know which one is valid (if any).

Related question: I have never met anyone who got a job—or an offer, or even an on-campus interview—in political science after interviewing at the meat market. Do such people actually exist?


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.

I didn’t find the meat market useful at all. Also, it was depressing.


I did not participate in the meat market. I know of one person that got an interview at a liberal arts college from the meat market; I can’t remember if it was at the same school that offered the final job.

I can’t imagine why a school would NOT consider an applicant that looks good on paper just because they weren’t at the APSA market.

My suspicion was always that I would only shoot myself in the foot if I did a 20 min interview at APSA (it takes at least 40 minutes to learn to love me?), and if they’ll give me an equal chance on paper or over the phone, why risk it? :)

Come to think of it, I’ve never experienced the mythical “telephone interview” either. I think that is also a trait of the liberal arts college.

But, I am firmly convinced that the job market is so unpredictable that anything is possible.


Oh, phone interviews aren’t myths… just mostly used by the BA departments (which include a lot of regional state universities and colleges, not just the liberal arts colleges… two very different beasts).


Every single job I’ve ever gotten came through a phone interview. I think I offend people in person; who knows?

I’ve done the APSA meat market about three times, and nothing ever came of it. Last year, I blew it off entirely, and had a wonderful time. This year, I will probably subject myself to it, but that’s just because I’m thinking this might be my last go around entirely, and so why not make it as painful as possible.


See you there! I’ll be the sweaty guy in the suit.

And amen on the “last go around” thing. Of course, that’s what I said last year (and, but for the grace of KGM, I probably would have followed through).


I wonder if it’s like the MLA, which I hear is a nightmare. I’m heading to San Antonio for the mass comm convention next week, and I choice to bypass their version of the “meat market,” although it’s limited to 100 prospects. I’ve been told by semi-knowledgeable professors that no one hires at the convention, but they definitely remember your name when your vita shows up on their desk later in the year.

I’ve still got a year before I’m done with the ph.d., so it’s mostly wishful thinking at this point. :-)


I sort of got an offer via the meat market. I was doing the meat market at the APSA in DC (‘99?, ‘00?) and set up a meeting with a school looking for someone to run their survey research center. I was invited to campus and offered the job (which I turned down for a myriad of reasons…none of which have anything negative to do with this particular school).

However, I had contact with the person who “intervierwed” me at the APSA prior to meeting in DC. Therefore, it wasn’t a pure “cold”meet for the first time at the conference meat market sort of thing.

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