I just looked at the Philosophy Job Market Wiki, wondering about current interview practices. I divided departments into three groups: those doing eastern division APA interviews, those doing phone interviews, and those just bringing top candidates to campus. The numbers are as follows (as best I can tell):
APA interviews: 113
Phone interviews: 16
Only campus interviews: 32
As a defender of the idea that short interviews provide nothing more than “vivid noise” (Gil Harman’s nice phrase), I think these numbers are revealing. If we go back 25-30 years or so, I’d be shocked to see as many departments going straight to on-campus interviews. But I have no data with which to compare, so my attitude here is largely impressionistic.
If I’m right, though, perhaps the significance of Fundamental Attribution Error and the studies surrounding it are affecting interview practices in philosophy departments. To my mind, that would be a very good thing, both in terms of the quality of the hiring process itself and also in terms of the financial burden placed on graduate students to go to APA’s to interview. Lifting that financial burden will require a much larger percentage of departments bypassing APA interviews, and here’s hoping they see the light!