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I applied for postdoc positions and I received a few interview offers. I thought not many institution have interview process for postdoc positions and they give offer only based on application material. Do I have false information?

  • How much is "not many" and how many do you have interviews with? Is the first number really smaller than the second number? – rghthndsd Jan 24 '14 at 0:08
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    I know someone who was employed as a post-doc like this: E-mail forwarded by PhD supervisor: Is anyone hungry for a post-doc in [location]? Candidate's reply: Yes, I am. Response from future post-doc host: Great, when can you start?. – gerrit Jan 24 '14 at 9:46
  • My impression is that a postdoc in the US (and maybe Canada?) is quite a different thing from a postdoc in Europe (and probably many other countries). This difference is reflected in a lot of the answers below, and so it might help to focus the question on your particular country of interest (which looks, from the question, like it is probably the US). – Tara B Jan 26 '14 at 23:20
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Assuming that you're a mathematician (seeing as how your question migrated from math.SE), I believe that you get interview if you applied for:

  • European institutions
  • tenure-track level positions at liberal arts colleges
  • lower-level research universities who want to gauge the applicant's interest (was the applicant applying to this position as a safety, or is he/she genuinely interested?)
  • (only sometimes true) positions where research and teaching are equally valued, or where teaching is valued more highly
  • (only sometimes true) if a particular researcher is hiring postdocs out of his/her own grant
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    why only European institutions? is US different? – biotech Dec 28 '15 at 11:15
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I personally would never employ anyone (even grad students) without an interview, and at least in Germany and and my field (CS), I'd say that most professors do interviews for post-docs since this is really a trust-relationship. On the other hand, the German system differs a bit from the US-sytem (our post-doc positions can often be compared to an assistand professor in the US).

3

Honestly, I think it depends on the situation. Being on the market myself (math) and also applying for postdocs, I was under the impression that there would not be many interviews. However, I did get two post-doc interviews, so far.

My take is that this depends on the situation. Many times if they are departmental postdocs, there wouldn't be an interview (or so I gathered). However, if you are applying for a postdoc that is tied to a specific PI, then there would be an interview.

Finally, the climate may be changing in such a way where departments are conducting more interviews now.

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I'm in the social sciences and most department postdocs search committees seem to interview before their final selection. I had a few Skype/phone interviews for positions I was shortlisted for.

There are other postdoc fellowships, like national competitions by grant making foundations, which make decisions without interviews though. One I was a finalist for, only asked for a full 10 page proposal and a budget narrative for the final round.

Like the other person said, I think this should really depend on the field, country, and type of postdoc.

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I guess it depends on the search committee in math major. I know one case that one institute sends out offer without interview this year but it interviewed the applicants last year.

  • are you sure if there is any search committee for postdoc? – Espanta Jan 26 '14 at 7:14
  • At least for the two places I contacted the answer is yes. They will figure out the shortlist and then vote for the final offer. – Memo94 Jan 26 '14 at 7:56
  • Good to know. Maybe it is the case in particular area. Because in major cases, postdoc is a position by the project's PI. – Espanta Jan 26 '14 at 8:52
  • Edited. I am in math major. For other departments the cases could be different. – Memo94 Jan 26 '14 at 9:24

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