The day I learned about the position I emailed a couple of colleagues/friends who know a bit about the school in questions. When my colleague emailed me back there was a comment in her email that should have been a red flag but which I didn't pay much attention to until yesterday when I was re-reading the email to K. She said that our mutual friend who has worked there before said that they usually hire informally, and that "someone must have made them post that ad."
I just emailed both friends regarding my suspicion and my colleague says we cannot know whether that's the question, but that there must have been some review of their hiring practices and a request for more transparency. I suppose that transparency in hiring is always good, though the formal process to formalize an "internal hire" is annoying for those applying from outside because we cannot know if there is an insider waiting to be hired. I'm wondering now if there's a "rumor mill" for my area.
I'm still planning to apply for the position, which was advertised very late and for which they're starting to review applications a mere nine days after the ad was posted (but maybe such a tight time frame is not unusual for late postings). If I send an application, it will be on Monday, though, the day they're starting to review it.
The result of these thoughts and conversations is that now I'm much less stressed out about it, which is great! The pressure is off (in my head) and I can see this as an opportunity to start a conversation with my department chair. I hope it's going to be a productive one and the beginning of more conversations about my future. Wish me luck with that, OK?!