A few days after two rigorous interviews for a postdoctoral position at a highly reputable UK university, I received an email from HR, along the lines of:

Could you please send us your passport details, so we can confirm you for the role?

I wasn't quite sure what the email implied. While I was cautiously optimistic, I was not certain whether it is just bureaucracy, or if it indeed suggests that I have secured the role. After immediately sending the requested documents and not hearing anything else from the HR person, I contacted the interviewer, who mentioned that the email implies that I will be receiving a formal offer soon. I started celebrating for securing said position and sent an email in response to the interviewers, to thank them, and to express looking forward to work with them. A few days have now passed (4 to be specific), and I have yet to receive a formal offer; although, one of the interviewers who was CC'ed in the email that I had sent days earlier, just congratulated me in response this morning, and also expressed looking forward to work with me.

I wrote the HR person this morning, asking whether they could confirm that they have received the passport details that I had sent them days earlier, and if they need any other documents - I have yet to receive a response (albeit the email was sent this morning). I have started to get somewhat nervous and wondered if this delay by the HR is normal?

Additional info: I am a UK national, so while I could have appreciated delays due to visa requirements etc, this does not apply to me.

  • Did you send your UK passport details, or are you a foreign national? Dec 13, 2021 at 19:48
  • @AzorAhai-him- I am a British citizen and sent UK passport details. I could have understood delays if I was a forgeign national, but I am not.
    – Carl
    Dec 13, 2021 at 20:56
  • 1
    Re. delays: A lot of university admin is short-staffed at the moment, as people need to use up their leave entitlement by the end of the year.
    – avid
    Dec 14, 2021 at 6:39

2 Answers 2


Hiring in universities can be very slow at times, and I had about a month between my informal postdoc offer and my formal offer.

In general, if the professor/interview panel has decided you are the candidate they want to hire, that can only really change if HR finds something wrong with the application (e.g. you don't obviously meet the requirements and the panel didn't explain why you are still their choice), if you won't be able to obtain legal permission to work, or if the funding for the position falls through.

The best thing to do is to keep in touch with the PI who is hiring you. They can advise you on where in the process things are (e.g. if it is with department chairs for review/approval, forwarded to finance for approval, forwarded to HR for action, etc.), and if it becomes a long time after the informal offer they can also try to chase HR to get them to make the offer.


Relatively, yes. Absolutely, no. Don't turn down other opportunities until it is formalized. The formal offer might not be possible until they confirm some details such as they have requested.

Action within a day or so might not be possible. Relax.

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