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I applied to a postdoctoral position some time ago. In early September, I had a skype interview with the Prof., and I was told I had made it to the short list and that I may be invited to give a seminar as part of my application. Time passed and I didn't hear from the Prof. So, in early October, I emailed again just to check if I was still under consideration. I was told that yes, but there were some issues with scheduling. Now, its halfway through November and I have not heard back. I understand all Profs are busier than I can imagine, and, maybe, I should just be patient. I am really excited by the prospect of the job, and this is my first round applying to a postdoc position. So, I am wondering if this is the norm, if this happens sometimes. or if this never happens [and I should forget about the job :(]. Thanks

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  • Are you facing any other deadlines? (If so, tell them.)
    – Thomas
    Nov 15, 2018 at 1:26
  • Some people are slow. Issues do arise. While it may not be best to give up, you should certainly follow up on any other options you have. After a month, you it is pretty reasonable to ask again, of course. Patience is good, but action on other fronts is better.
    – Buffy
    Nov 15, 2018 at 1:32
  • Getting hired as a postdoc can take much longer. Sometimes it takes a year. In the mean time, find some other jobs to apply for. Nov 15, 2018 at 4:02
  • Thanks @Thomas. My one deadline is my graduation (in 2 months).
    – cadij
    Nov 15, 2018 at 7:28
  • @Buffy, I have other leads, but this one is my preferred option. I will be jobless in 2 months, and I would like to have a job by then. Thanks
    – cadij
    Nov 15, 2018 at 7:31

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So, I am wondering if this is the norm, if this happens sometimes. or if this never happens [and I should forget about the job

Yes, this happens. I have been in the exact same situation myself: application, shortlisted, interview, informal acceptation by the PI, but then the formal confirmation was postponed several times over a couple of months. This doesn't depend only on the PI, sometimes the administrative process gets stuck somewhere. I wouldn't say that it's the norm but it's not uncommon.

As long as the PI answers your emails and confirms that it's in progress, It's likely that you are going to get the job. It would be unwise to take it for granted though. Keep applying for other positions, and don't close other doors as long as it's not confirmed. From time to time, email the PI; in particular you should ask when the contract is supposed to start, and try to politely tell the PI that you cannot wait forever; if you have other job offers waiting for an answer, you can mention it, it might speed things up.

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  • Thanks for sharing @Erwan. It makes me feel less anxious to hear someone with a similar experience, get a positive outcome.
    – cadij
    Nov 17, 2018 at 2:04

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