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Context: I am planning to apply to a US lab.

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    Two suggestions to improve the question (you can edit): Firstly, explain exactly what your question is. Maybe it's what's in the title, but put it in the question body as well. Secondly, tell us what part of the world you're in, because the answer to the second question in your title varies. – Flyto Jan 11 at 15:31
  • You need to discuss this with your advisor. I think this is more of a complaint than a question, so I will vote to close. – Anonymous Physicist Jan 12 at 7:24
  • The details were meant to explain why I was asking such questions. If you read the context, it'd be very clear that discussing it with my advisor is not an option, and that's why I have to ask these questions here. Anyway, the details have been removed to avoid unnecessary confusion. Thanks for the suggestions. – Jessie P Jan 12 at 16:25
  • I think the question is far too broad. In some fields, letters of recommendation are basically the only criterion. In others, the existing answers are correct that they may not count at all. – cag51 Jan 12 at 20:00
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Many universities have mandatory requirements for letters of recommendation (LoR) for a postdoc position, and that's the main reason they ask you to submit LoR. There were some PI who interviewed me told me this and also told me that they wouldn't even care what my referees would write about me. They were willing to hire me immediately after they have three letters of recommendation. If you have solid credentials as a researcher, I think your LoR would not matter much. However, a terrible remark on a LoR would also significantly influence the hiring decision.

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    Anecdotally, a good university in Europe where I applied requested three references for a letter of recommendation as part of the application. I got the job -- and learned later from my references that they weren't even contacted. – lighthouse keeper Jan 12 at 10:46
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This question is too broad to answer. Many PIs will not hire a postdoc without strong letters of reference. On the other hand some PIs will not care. Although I suspect in this case you would have to be an obviously very strong researcher. (Even though personally I find it hard to believe that references wouldn't be asked for. Even if you're a star researcher maybe you once assaulted a fellow student and tried to burn the lab down? That's something one would typically find out from Letters of reference.)

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