reflecting puzzlement more than misery (if I had time, I'd adapt Hiram's "baffled" graphic), but I figure the wise folks here might be able to help me out:
I just received an email at my university address from what appears to be a head-hunting (excuse me, consulting) firm, asking my input in a search for a new chair for a department in my field, at a school far across the country. This is a new experience for me, and I'm wondering why the heck they contacted me. They're certainly not trying to recruit me; I'm in no way qualified to be a tenured professor at an R1, let alone a chair.
To start with, I just don't have the publications. I have done a lot of conference presentations, and a bit of service in a national disciplinary organization, so that might explain my name somehow turning up (though there's no suggestion in the attached job ad that they're looking for a chair in the particular subfield the disciplinary organization addresses). Anyone who even superficially examined the bios on my department's website should be able to tell I'm pretty low on the totem pole, and probably not all that well-connected nationally. So,
Q. How should I respond to this? Should I just ignore it, on the basis that the question is way above my pay grade (though I don't particularly want to tell a recruiter that), and/or that anyone who identified me as a person to whom to ask this question must be seriously incompetent? Might there be something else going on (e.g. someone from my department, or someone I know from some other professional context, has already applied, and they're looking for information about hir?) Does this happen often to those of you in more senior positions? If so, how do you/do you respond?