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A Message from the Academic Council on Exploding Job Offers

To the Academic Community:

We appreciate each of the departments that committed to following the Job Market Guidelines put forth by the AMA in an effort to maintain some consistency in the job market schedule without in-person interviews at the Summer AMA conference.

As the job market is progressing, concerns have been brought forth regarding the use of “exploding offers,” including an expectation that job candidates will cancel scheduled visits that remain. While there is not an exact length of time that makes an offer an exploding offer, the original AMA job market guidelines recommended that job offers provided a minimum of two weeks of decision time.

While the AMA cannot mandate that departments follow these guidelines, we feel strongly that it is for the good of the field to avoid the use of exploding offers. Such offers can be harmful and result in suboptimal outcomes for both job candidates and hiring departments.

  • Exploding offers can cause the job candidate emotional, reputational, and financial distress if they need to cancel visits that were committed. Often candidates initially pay for fly-outs out of pocket and risk not getting reimbursed if they cancel. Moreover, job candidates who are just beginning their career worry about burning bridges and straining relationships. While there is always some uncertainty with a job offer, the job candidates deciding under an exploding offer face additional uncertainty about whether the forced (exploding offer) job was indeed the best fit both professionally and personally.
  • Schools that force exploding offers may experience negative judgments about the institution. The hiring institution may be perceived as not aligning with community norms (e.g., not living up to being a team player working in the best interests of rookies seeking jobs).
  • Exploding offers can hurt both the candidate and the hiring institution as it may increase the risk of having a poor fit between the candidate and the hiring institution and increase the long-term costs and efforts. If a candidate accepts a job offer under duress, they may have a less favorable attitude toward the department and be more likely to move in the future, incurring greater recruiting costs both in time and money.      

In an email to the AMA Academic Council Executive Committee, a senior scholar in our field stated: “Campus Visits used to be a major highlight of people’s early careers, despite the obvious butterflies accompanying hectic traveling, meeting new colleagues, and having to present one’s research. Exploding offers are robbing candidates of the ability to fully participate in this one special time of their professional lives, and are adding a layer of game-playing….” We concur with this sentiment.

We, as the AMA Academic Council, raise this issue out of the concern that this trend of what appears to be increasingly short-fused exploding job offers will negatively impact the field. In the coming months, we will be soliciting more input through surveys to both DocSIG members and department chairs to better assess the extent to which exploding offers are occurring and the impact they are having on the candidates and the field more generally.

Please reach out to any member of the Academic Council with any questions or concerns.