For the first time in my life, I received a research grant that allows me to hire postdocs. The hiring procedure is very flexible, and I have complete control over the process, without any involvement from my university or the grant agency.

My question is - how much time is it customary to give to potential postdocs to decide if they accept my offer?

I am especially interested in feedback from pure mathematics.

  • If you allow less than a week, you will seem unreasonable. Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 1:37

1 Answer 1


Supposing this question is not hypothetical, and you are at one of these U.S. departments (assuming you need respect the agreement), you do not have too much choice in the matter. The departments at that page have agreed not to require responses to postdoctoral job offers before Monday, February 3, 2020.

Otherwise you could place it before January 24th (the deadline for decisions on the NSF postdoc), in hopes of snagging someone who might get a more attractive offer later, or afterwards, to avoid having someone else renege on your offer.

This all depends on where you are located, and what the status is of your potential candidates (the agreement above applies only to candidates within two years of their Ph. D.).

  • 1
    Thanks. I am actually located in Europe, so am not bound by any of these. But I am mostly wondering how much time I should give the candidates. Would 10-14 days be a normal range of time to decide?
    – the L
    Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 17:26
  • The decision seems totally up to what your aimed outcomes are. If you are in Europe, you probably have more (stronger?) non-U.S. applicants. At this stage, in some European schools shortlists are beginning to be made, with interviews taking/having already taken place. If you have particular applicants which you are targeting, then you might use whatever information you know about the applicant. The application cycle for postdocs this year may well go into March, so if you cut the deadline early you might pick out reasonably well qualified candidates but miss the others who expect more chances.
    – asd
    Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 17:37

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