Hey! This is a pop quiz! Guess what I accidentally found out today?
a) My department is interviewing people with fewer first author papers than I have now. Fewer, in fact, than I had when I applied for jobs before and didn't get any interviews.
In one case where the candidate is very likely to be interviewed, the candidate has not published a single first author paper in several (>5) years, but has a couple of recent reviews in High Impact Journals and works for the very famous ex-spouse of someone in the department.
b) The candidates' packages are each reviewed by no more than 4 faculty, but usually only 2 or 3 faculty, to determine whether they are worth interviewing.
You might get reviewed by two faculty, and get turned down because one of those hated everyone. Meanwhile someone else might get reviewed by two totally different people. Or maybe you could be the lucky one and get reviewed by the softie who wants to interview as many people as possible. But only if you pick a department where you know there's a softie who works on something related to what you do, or if you have a friend who will snatch your application out of the pile and insist on being the one to review it.
But I'm not saying this happens. Nope. I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't say it's a lot like the way NIH reviews grants, either, or how fucked up that is.
c) The administrative assistant gets the first run at the stack of applications, which means you could get cut by a non-scientist before a scientist ever sees your application.
You might have thought that was more common in places that have applications filtered by HR, like companies and places with staff. You'd be wrong.
This must be why buzzwords matter so much, eh?
d) There are no standout candidates on the list that everyone can even agree is worth interviewing, but they're going to interview some of the ones they have already looked at and deemed mediocre, rather than going back to the original pile of packages to see if the admin threw any good applications in the trash.
(I'll refrain from mentioning that this admin has a proven history of throwing out the best candidates for staff positions, since there's no chance that would be an issue here!)
e) all of the above
f) none of the above, I'm just making crazy shit up, nobody in their right mind would do it this way
g) why I am really glad I am not applying to this department, or anywhere else right now