I've complained at various points about the amount of work that goes into each application. One of the most surprisingly labor-intensive parts of the process for me was endless list of on-line applications. I just had fantod-inducing flashbacks of this as I stared in paralyzed confusion at the 11-page on-line submissions process for a journal I'm sending a paper to.
The thing about on-line applications is, they mean that even when you have your application package complete, an application still isn't a simple matter of stuffing an envelope and getting it in the mail. No, the first thing you need to do is create an account on the application web-site. And--this is one of the really puzzling parts--even though the overwhelming majority of schools use the same shitty, off-the-shelf human resources web-site, you need to create a new account for each school you're applying to.
When you have your user name, the next thing is to answer pages and pages of questions. I mean, there's the stuff you'd expect--name, school, department's address, your e-mail, that sort of thing. But this shitty, off-the-shelf human resouces web-site is pretty clearly what schools use for applications for any and all jobs at the university, which means most of the questions you have to answer are pretty fucking stupid in the context of an application for an academic position.
Here's a couple of examples. Almost all the schools have questions about whether you have any relatives working at the university. Okay, so they're worried about nepotism. Fine, but you know what? I don't think anyone's going to get hired as the new assisstant professor of philosophy because his uncle works for the groundskeeping crew.
The questions about your criminal record are even better. Do you have a criminal record? If so, what's it for? A little light drunk-driving would be fine, they seem to imply. But if you got caught with your pants down in a broom closet with a Sunday-school kid, that's another story.
Next-time: You thought uploading attachements was easy. . . .