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What's the Best Way to Hire an Economist?

Two European economists have told me of their experiences interviewing for senior, tenured positions in the U.K. In both cases they, and the other two finalists, visited the campus at the same time, had rotating interviews with the hiring committee, and were even taken out to dinner together. My experience in the U.S. is just the opposite-we try to keep the identities of finalists for jobs hidden from their “competitors.”
Why is there a totally different culture within the same occupation? Which approach is better at achieving a university’s goal of hiring the best person? Which makes the participants feel better about the process? Which side of the Atlantic has it right? Bottom line to me is the importance of the role of culture, even within a very narrowly defined market.