I think that the expression of a geographic restriction can hurt a candidate in unexpected ways. Announcing unwillingness to relocate to a region (e.g., Deep South, Northeast, the West) can rub me the wrong way even when my school is not in the targeted region. Among the other, perhaps more obvious questions that such an expression invites, I find it careless for a candidate to eliminate a region (as opposed to a state). Is Duke in the Deep South? Is Temple in the Northeast? Is UNLV in the West?Well said. I second the emotion. Geographic weenies -- that is after all the technical term for people who express crass regional prejudices of this sort -- hurt their own professional interests. Or, for that matter, and in this respect I disagree with Mr. Main, even a single state. You may well hate cold places. Or places that barbecue pigs instead of cows. But keep it off your form. No one can make you accept an interview, much less a job.
Announcing a preference for a region or a state doesn't communicate a comparably negative message. On the contrary, all this says is that a candidate has family responsibilities -- intragenerational, intergenerational, or both.
All this is a bit late for this year's recruiting season. Still, it bears noting that Satan has a better attitude than a goodly number of candidates in every AALS faculty appointments register:
The mind is its own place, and in itselfAmen, brother.
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.