Others have had the same idea.
Nate Jensen did a slightly more thorough investigation of poli sci CVs and search committee opinions. His takeaway:
Most schools had their long short lists of about a dozen candidates mostly with pubs. Many other candidates with pubs were left off the long short lists. I stress that this was the story from broad range of institutions (R1, liberal arts colleges, etc).
The advice I got on how to make it to the short list varied. Some committee members stressed fit with the department, other stressed the quality of the publication (top journal, solo authored if possible), others stressed grad program reputations, letters of rec, etc.
What is my take away point? I really don’t know. I had the feeling that the magic formula for getting an interview was a decent publication. I think that was probably the case when I was on the market as an ABD (2001). Not so much anymore.
Tom Pepinsky blogged his thoughts as well. My favorite comment:
it is bad news when a recommendation letter summarizes the dissertation’s argument or contribution better than that applicant’s own cover letter does. I see this frequently, and it is hard to fix because the applicant never sees the letter! A cover letter is (ideally) vetted multiple times by multiple letter writers, so perhaps one useful exercise would be for the letter writer to summarize for the applicant what s/he believes the applicant’s main argument and contribution to be.
What’s interesting is that the economics job market seems to have a completely different equilibrium. Publications, especially those in second or third tier outlets, are actively discouraged. They seem to take very seriously the idea that everything you give after your best piece of work lowers the average quality of your application. Quantity gets little value. Am I incorrect?
Not sure what drives the different equilibrium. More homogenous idea of what “good economics” is that “good politics”? Supply and demand curves cross at a lower “price” in economics, because politics graduates more students than jobs?