The job market involves common difficulties for both hiring committees and job candidates. Sometimes, search committees shoot too high, leaving the department with few options when those candidates fall through. Other times, departments bypass candidates they thought were out of reach, and they learn, too late, that the candidate would have preferred their offer to the one they accepted.
In parallel, candidates struggle because they have limited tools to credibly signal interest in jobs, a fact that makes both sides of the market worse off. It's particularly difficult for job candidates to signal useful information because they don't know what their option set will be; their interest in any particular job is contingent on available alternatives.
We've made a tool that helps solve these issues for both search committees and job candidates. The tool (EconMatch.com) takes preference-rankings from employers and candidates, after the AEA interviews (by midnight January 8), and then uses them to recommend each employer the top five “gettable” candidates using an adaption of the traditional matching algorithm. These recommendations represent an employer’s best (most preferred) attainable candidates. Moreover, the process allows candidates to credibly signal interest to their favorite, attainable employers.
Some candidates might worry that employers will learn they were not the candidates’ top choice. We preserve candidates’ privacy by limiting the recommended list to five names and blurring out one in five recommendations. Therefore, the hiring committee cannot infer that the candidate was not interested in the position if a candidate is not recommended. So participation helps you when recommended and doesn't reveal your preferences when you aren't.
We're rolling out a fully functional beta version of the tool this Fall, and we have gotten encouraging responses from several departments as well as a few interested economic associations. If you’re a candidate or search chair this year, we would value your feedback as you participate in the match. We’ve learned a lot just from questions and concerns people have posed. Feel free to post here or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're anything like me, you might find our five-minute video for candidates (https://youtu.be/YKkQzdIUX7k
) and for employers (https://youtu.be/w8qGv0g6VAY
) clarifying how to use the tool and why it's useful.
Thank you very much, and I look forward to learning from your suggestions. We hope to help you have a better job market.