Alas, poor readers, the romance with Wooing School has ended. It actually reminds me of my last boyfriend--back before I came out. A lot of angst and wondering, followed by a brisk breakup, and then a curious sort of calm. My main feeling walking away is "wasn't meant to be."
I am surprised, really, both that I didn't get the offer and that I am not more upset about it. But it would have been a very big job and a very big change. The gf is probably a little more disappointed than I am.
Ah, well. Nothing you can do.
I am awfully curious to find out who they DID pick, and what their issues were with me. I will certainly learn the former, but I hope I can find out (at least informally) why they didn't choose me.
My good friend has recently chaired a search committee, and he has gotten some of these questioning calls. He doesn't much like them, but tries to identify the concerns as best he can. He understands that "X was a better fit" is just not helpful to the candidate, and usually it isn't very honest. (Though, occasionally, I think fit is the issue, and it can be a good idea.)
I have heard candidates "not selected" because of their colloquium (disorganized, unclear, or weak research), the references (reference notes, however obliquely, that you are not a good citizen), or some stray comments they made during the visit. Others just didn't have the teaching experience we wanted, or their research just didn't look fundable. I think most of these are things that can be shared with the candidate. That kind of feedback is helpful.
So, what do you think? Is it ever appropriate to call and ask about the committee's concerns? Suggestions for change?