And then there is this. I have been complaining about relying on other schools' demand for a candidate as a means of influencing whether my school--or any school--should be interested in that candidate. Although I use my school as an example, I do not think it is atypical. The only difference between my school and many others is that it is saddled with someone who is outspoken. So here, depending on the day and who is doing the talking, one heavily promoted candidate, who had no part in this, was cited as having between 22 and 28 interviews (yes, we are pretty reckless). A Harvard reference said the candidate had 28 callbacks for interviews within three days of the conference. (As you know, Harvard faculty are evidently above the truth – they create truths.) But, I do not know if that was where the rumor started. Even a student on the appointments committee proudly told me that the Dean had said the candidate had over 20 callbacks.
When I approached a committee member about the issue of whether it is good policy to regard what is good for other schools as indicative of what is good for us, the answer was that it is human nature, and the colleague began a story about experiments with male (or was it female?) fish being attracted to fish of the opposite sex when they see other fish are attracted. I noted that whether we do actually think or not, unlike fish, we can engage in some reasoning. Please do not misunderstand. I have nothing against fish. I mean, not that there is anything wrong with being a fish.
Here too, you know where this is going. The 28 callbacks eventually shrunk to “more like 10,” thanks to the honesty of the candidate. The problem is this: If 28 was relevant (to me it never was), is it relevant that it is now 10 and, of course, stay tuned. Who knows what it will be tomorrow. If it goes to zero do we scratch the candidate off the list entirely even though it is exactly the same person?
My advice. Don't go down this path in the first place.